Shooting Gallery

All about everything else at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA
Post Reply
User avatar
Tidal Wave
Posts: 510
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Milwaukee

Shooting Gallery

Post by redfishpaw » Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:47 pm

Anybody remember the shooting galleries. I can think of two offhand at Gurnee. Pirates Alley in Orleans place, next to rue le dodge. Pirates Alley is longer a shooting gallery, its just an arcade now. The other was in Yukon Territory, just past the bridge (from Yankee harber). I cant think of the name offhand and I believe that the building has been removed long ago since that area is now the entrance to the kiddie area. I believe that there were just the two shooting galleries and I am not sure what the status with them in SC.

User avatar
Tidal Wave
Posts: 209
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:07 pm
Location: Carpentersville, IL

Re: Shooting Gallery

Post by BrianPlencner » Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:16 pm


Over in the Whack-a-Mole thread, ... .php?t=111

I posted the following

BrianPlencner wrote:The Gurnee Park (and I'm guessing Santa Clara) had 2 Shooting Galleries. One was called Pirates Alley, in Orleans Place, and the other was the Northwest Shooting Gallery, in Yukon Territory.

The way they worked was that the guns actually shot a "flash" of light directed at the target. That is the reason why the signs were posted about no flash photography. As a side note, it was quite funny to "take a flash picture" with a camera in front of the Shooting Gallery....everything in it went off at once, and it made this really funny sound!

In later years, Pirates Alley was removed, and the one in Yukon Territory was moved to the Southwest Territory. Last year, the one in Southwest Territory was removed as well.
You are correct in that Pirates Alley is no longer a shooting gallery (I say above it was removed), but you are correct that the building is still there, and now is just an arcade.

As far as the Northwest shooting gallery that was in Yukon, it was moved when they expanded the kids area. This was in 1996, when they built the SW Territory section. The Northwest shooting gallery was placed just to the left of Viper's Entrance. Near the end of last season, the shooting gallery was removed, and for this year, a pizza place is now in the building.
Mr. Brian Plencner
SFGAm Employee: 1988-1992

User avatar
Tidal Wave
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:23 pm
Location: Chicago, IL USA

Shooting Galleries

Post by RLAiello » Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:48 am

I used to work in Cash Control at SFGAm and we used to have to collect all the coins from the arcades at the end of the night. Arcades were never a problem, but shooting galleries were always a nightmare. If not only because they were eternally creepy (especially Northwest), it was also because they were a pain to empty the money. Everyone dreaded those routes. I guess shooting galleries are just something whose time has passed us by. Seems sad though... they were fun to play at.
Rick Aiello
SFGAm Employee 1988-1999

Buzzy Bee
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:59 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Post by zingme » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:54 pm


I remember the Northwest shooting gallery worked exactly as you described. It shot a beam of "light" to the targets, which is the reason they have the "No Flash Photography" sign posted.

However, I believe Pirates Alley worked a little different. It seemed to me that the Pirates Alley guns actually shot a concentrated blast of air to register with the targets. The guns definitely made a different noise - much like pressurized "poof" of air.

It was for this reason that I preferred Northwest - the guns were always much more accurate!

User avatar
Buzzy Bee
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 4:41 pm

Northwest Shooting Gallery

Post by Conman » Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:04 pm

Santa Clara only had one shooting gallery, Northwest Shooting Gallery in Yukon Territory. There was a machine gun game in the Games Gallery, but it wasn't the same as Northwest. Wheras the guns in the Games Gallery shot BBs, Northwest used light to activate targets that made birds fly, pans move and a piano player play the Maple Leaf Rag.

Norhtwest was one of my first jobs at Great America in 1977, handing out quarters. I had some great times there. A few of the veterans would trick the guests by super-glueing a quarter to the cement and then pretending they had dropped the quarter while making change. The poor guest would reach over and be very surprised when they couldn't pick it up. It was quite lonely out there in the Yukon territory and we had to do a lot not to get bored.

I also remember that flash photography was a big problem at Northwest. Since the targets were light sensitive, any flash would disable the whole shooting gallery and we would have to reset the entire system and wait for the air compressor to charge up.

I would be curious if the park in Gurnee had a similar theme to Santa Clara. The piano player played the "Maple Leaf Rag". I still can't get that song out of my head!
David Conmy
Games/ER/Staffing 1977 to 1984
Santa Clara, CA

User avatar
Tech Services 1
Willard's Whizzer
Posts: 114
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Post by Tech Services 1 » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:02 pm

I loved playing at those galleries when I visited the park in the '70s. Spent lots of quarters at Northwest! Remember the cow skull on the ground? It would rock back and forth and make a weird groaning sound when you shot it. :D

Technical Services technician
Gurnee park '81 - '86

Eegads, has it been that long?

User avatar
Gulf Coaster
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:24 pm
Location: Chicago

Post by da1gloc » Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:03 am

However, I believe Pirates Alley worked a little different. It seemed to me that the Pirates Alley guns actually shot a concentrated blast of air to register with the targets. The guns definitely made a different noise - much like pressurized "poof" of air.
The Pirates Alley shooting range did use the light activation. I know this because I always played there. When I was younger, before I worked there, I thought It was kewl as hell to shoot light guns.
I would be curious if the park in Gurnee had a similar theme to Santa Clara. The piano player played the "Maple Leaf Rag". I still can't get that song out of my head!
There was a piano player in the Pirates Alley gallery. I can vaguely remember what song he played. LOL You had to shoot him in the ass to get him to play.
G. Nagle

SFGA games employee from 88 thru 91


User avatar
Yankee Clipper
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:14 pm
Location: Cudahy, WI

Post by GreatAmerica4ever » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:41 pm

I was just thinking about adding this topic, and I see that there already was a forum of the shooting galleries.

I agree with those statements above about the galleries being a little creepy! The piano man was almost scary...I wonder if some of the mechanical things moved after the park was closed for the evening.

Buzzy Bee
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:55 pm

Re: Shooting Gallery

Post by JRobb » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:51 pm

Ahh the shooting gallery. In my humble opinion, the Greatest aspect of SCMGA was the incredible detail and artistry in all of the themed areas...and the greatest themed area was The Yukon Territory...Why? Three of the Greatest memories: crashing into the lagoon in a fiberglass log, all of the trees on hot days and...THE SHOOTING GALLERY. Agreed: the piano guy was a bit creepy but then again you'd often have to stand down while guests took him out!! After a brief wait you could put one on the piano guy who would dutifully bend to his keys and play his tune. I also fondly remember the wall mounted fry pans and a dubious skunk who would throw you the tail when you hit him!! If memory serves 25 cents bought ten shots. Later it was one token for 10 "rounds". Funny, all of the most awesome rides were in every other themed area, but there was something sylvan and magical about The Yukon Territory. A couple years ago I discovered a tri fold brochure for SCMGA 1981 season (in grandmas closet) that featured a picture of a regular "Yukon Jack" wielding a chain saw; turning logs into Totem Poles. Admittedly obscure but does anyone remember the wood chips flying all over? Would also love to hear any Gurnee YT stories.

Post Reply