Water Safari to unveil new park mascot on Sunday: ‘Safari Sam’

Safari Sam

A new moose mascot named ‘Safari Sam’ will make his Adirondacks debut on Sunday, July 29 at Enchanted Forest Water Safari beginning with a special unveiling event and press conference at 11 a.m.

Safari Sam first came to life in 2011 as part of a contest to create a new mascot.

According to the park’s Vice President and Director of Marketing Katie Wojdyla, the water park has been looking for a new mascot for several years, but it was not until 2011 that Nick, a Water Safari summer intern, came up with the idea for the contest.

The park received numerous entries, many of which included other Adirondack favorites such as bears, otters, and a variety of birds.

Fan feedback from the Enchanted Forest Water Safari Facebook page helped the park select The Thayer Family of Boonville as the winners with their concept of the safari-themed moose named Safari Sam.

Shannon Thayer, with the help of her three children Hannah, Lauryn, and Ely came up with the idea of Safari Sam after seeing the request for entries on the park’s Facebook page and brainstorming together about what animal could best represent the water park as well as the Adirondacks.

The original Safari Sam conceptual drawing of the Thayer family

“When I asked the kids what they think of when we go camping, they said ‘bears!’ But we thought that was too scary, so my daughter said how about a moose? That’s Adirondack-y, and we just went from there,” Shannon said.

After officially naming him Safari Sam, her other daughter had the idea to give him an inner tube for safety, and her son came up with the idea to have Sam carrying a whistle and binoculars.

“[I have been] going to Enchanted Forest for, gosh, over 35 years, and I think of Paul Bunyan. Water Safari didn’t exist way back when I was little. In recent visits we didn’t notice anything to represent the safari part, so we thought, ‘Let’s go with that,” Thayer said.

The Thayer family, who will be in attendance Sunday, received a grand prize package which included season passes and tickets to Enchanted Forest Water Safari, a two night stay at Old Forge Camping Resort, a reserved parking spot, lounge chairs, a locker and early entrance into the park, a Family Fun Deal from Calypso’s Cove and a $50 Splash Cash gift card that can be used at the park.

Enchanted Forest worked with Foster Martin Agency of New Hartford, to bring Safari Sam to life.

The digital image of Safari Sam will appear throughout the park and in upcoming marketing and promotional materials.

Working with Scollon Productions, Inc. of South Carolina, a life-size mascot has also been created to allow guests to interact with Safari Sam.

“It was an amazing process,” Wojdyla said, “starting with the Thayer’s original drawing and seeing the evolution of the character. I am sure he will bring smiles and memories to families who visit the park for years to come.”

Enchanted Forest Water Safari will also be holding special character appearance events during the summer.

Safari Sam will join Spiderman on Friday, August 3 and Scooby Doo on Friday, August 10.

Prior to each character appearance, guests will also have the opportunity to meet Safari Sam during an exclusive character breakfast on the mornings of their appearances.

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