Six Flags Great America is a 304-acre (123 ha) amusement park located in Gurnee, Illinois, within the northern Chicago metropolitan area. The amusement park originally opened as Marriott's Great America on May 29, 1976, as one of two theme parks built by the Marriott Corporation. Six Flags acquired the amusement park in 1984 after the theme park division was an earnings disappointment for Marriott. The sale gave Six Flags rights to the Looney Tunes intellectual properties.
In 1972, the Marriott Corporation bought rural land near the Tri-State Tollway and had officially announced the theme park to the public the following year, in 1973. The new park would be built near identical to its sister park in Santa Clara, California, now named California's Great America. Designed by architect Randall Duell, the park was designed in a "Duell loop," in where the park was laid out in a full circuit circularly, as employees worked out of sight, in the middle of the park. Opening attractions and areas within the park were designed to be based around areas around North America, such as Orleans Place, a neighborhood located in the French Quarter during the 1850s and Hometown Square, a 20th century American town. This has since expanded to twelve themed areas, such as the Wild West themed area Southwest Territory, three kids areas, with the County Fair subsection, Kidzopolis and two DC Comics themed areas, one being DC Universe.
Featuring 15 roller coasters, the park ranks fourth-most roller coasters in the world, tied with Cedar Point. Additionally, the park features an adjacent 20-acre (81,000 m2) water park called Hurricane Harbor Chicago, which features 25 water slides and attractions and opened on May 28, 2005. Since 2017, over 3 million guests visited Six Flags Great America, ranking it among the top 20 amusement parks in North America for attendance. Running from April until November, the park features multiple annual events such as the Halloween events Fright Fest and Kids Boo Fest, and formerly hosted the Christmas event Holiday in the Park, which had extended the park's operating season until January.
The park has achieved multiple milestones, records, and awards. American Eagle was one of the first record breakers for the park, becoming the tallest, fastest and longest racing wooden coaster in the world, a record that the ride still maintains. Batman: The Ride, the park's inverted roller coaster, was the first of its kind, and was awarded the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) Landmark award in 2005. Whizzer also won the same award in 2012 for the park's maintenance of the attraction. Shows at the park have also received critical acclaim, with recognition from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), winning "Best Overall Production" awards.