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An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its structures and attractions around a central theme, often featuring multiple areas with different themes. Unlike temporary and mobile funfairs and
carnivals Carnival is a Western Christianity, Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgy, liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide ( ...
, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting operation. They are more elaborate than city parks and
playground A playground, playpark, or play area is a place designed to provide an environment for child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human being between the stages of childbirth, birth and puberty, or between the Development of the hu ...

playground
s, usually providing attractions that cater to a variety of age groups. While amusement parks often contain themed areas, theme parks place a heavier focus with more intricately-designed themes that revolve around a particular subject or group of subjects. Amusement parks evolved from European
fair A fair (archaic: faire or fayre) is a gathering of people for a variety of entertainment or commercial activities. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary with scheduled times lasting from an afternoon to several weeks. Typ ...

fair
s,
pleasure garden Image:Rotunda at Ranleigh T Bowles 1754.jpg, 285px, An 18th century print showing the exterior of the Rotunda (architecture), Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens and part of the grounds A pleasure garden today, insofar as the term is still used, usually me ...
s, and large
picnic areas
picnic areas
, which were created for people's
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is time spent away from business, Employment, work, job hunting, Housekeeping, domestic chores, and education, as wel ...

recreation
.
World's fair A world's fair is a large international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations. These exhibitions vary in character and are held in different parts of the world at a specific site for a period of time, ranging usually from ...
s and other types of international expositions also influenced the emergence of the amusement park industry.
Lake Compounce Lake Compounce is an amusement park located in Bristol, Connecticut, Bristol and Southington, Connecticut. Opened in 1846, it is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States. It spans , which includes a beach and a water p ...

Lake Compounce
opened in 1846 and is considered the oldest, continuously-operating amusement park in North America. The first theme parks emerged in the mid-twentieth century with the opening of Santa Claus Land in 1946,
Santa's Workshop Santa's Workshop is the Legend, legendary workshop where Santa Claus and his Christmas elf, elves are said to make the toys and presents given out at Christmas. The exact "location" of Santa's workshop varies depending upon local culture. There are ...
in 1949, and
Disneyland The Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for e ...

Disneyland
in 1955.


History


Origins

The amusement park evolved from three earlier traditions: traveling or periodic fairs, pleasure gardens, and exhibitions such as world fairs. The oldest influence was the periodic
fair A fair (archaic: faire or fayre) is a gathering of people for a variety of entertainment or commercial activities. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary with scheduled times lasting from an afternoon to several weeks. Typ ...

fair
of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
- one of the earliest was the
Bartholomew Fair The Bartholomew Fair was one of London's pre-eminent summer s. A charter for the fair was granted to by to fund the Priory of St Bartholomew; and from 1133 to 1855 it took place each year on 24 August within the precincts of the Priory at , ou ...
in England from 1133. By the 18th and 19th centuries, they had evolved into places of entertainment for the masses, where the public could view
freak show and its popular ongoing freak show in August 2008. A freak show is an exhibition of biological rarities, referred to in popular culture as "freaks of nature". Typical features would be physically unusual Human#Anatomy and physiology, humans, suc ...
s,
acrobatics Acrobatics (from Ancient Greek ἀκροβατέω, ''akrobateo'', "walk on tiptoe, strut") is the performance of human feats of balance (ability), balance, agility, and motor coordination. Acrobatic skills are used in performing arts, sports, s ...

acrobatics
,
conjuring Evocation is the act of calling upon or summoning a spirit, demon, deity or other supernatural agents, in the Western mystery tradition. Comparable practices exist in many religions and Magic (paranormal), magical traditions and may employ the u ...
and
juggling Juggling is a physical skill, performed by a juggler, involving the manipulation of objects for recreation, entertainment, art or sport. The most recognizable form of juggling is toss juggling Image:Circus-juggling.jpg, 300px, Juggling pair p ...
, take part in competitions and walk through
menagerie menagerie during the reign of Louis XIV , house = Bourbon , father = Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Fran ...

menagerie
s. A wave of innovation in the 1860s and 1870s created mechanical rides, such as the steam-powered
carousel A carousel (American English: from French ''carrousel'' and Italian ''carosello''), roundabout (British English), or merry-go-round, is a type of amusement ride consisting of a rotation, rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "se ...

carousel
(built by Thomas Bradshaw, at the Aylsham Fair), and its derivatives, notably from Frederick Savage of
King's Lynn King's Lynn, known until 1537 as Bishop's Lynn and colloquially as Lynn, is a port The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Trieste.html"_;"title="Barcola_near_Trieste">Barcola_near_Trieste,_a_small_local_port A_port_is_a_ Barcola_near_T ...
, Norfolk whose fairground machinery was exported all over the world; his "galloping horses" innovation is seen in carousels today. This inaugurated the era of the modern funfair ride, as the working classes were increasingly able to spend their surplus wages on entertainment. The second influence was the
pleasure garden Image:Rotunda at Ranleigh T Bowles 1754.jpg, 285px, An 18th century print showing the exterior of the Rotunda (architecture), Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens and part of the grounds A pleasure garden today, insofar as the term is still used, usually me ...
. An example of this is the world's oldest amusement park,
Bakken
Bakken
("The Hill"), which opened in
mainland Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly rega ...

mainland Europe
in 1583. It is located north of
Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of 1 January 2021, the city had a population of 799,033 (638,117 in Copenhagen Municipality, 103,677 in Frederiksberg Municipality, 42,670 in Tårnby Municipal ...

Copenhagen
in Klampenborg,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe. It is the most populous and politically central Constituent state, constituent of the Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, a constitutio ...

Denmark
. Another early garden was the
Vauxhall Gardens Vauxhall Gardens is a public park in Kennington, London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames. From 1785 to 1859, the site was a pleasure garden and one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London from the mid-17th ...
, founded in 1661 in London. By the late 18th century, the site had an admission fee for its many attractions. It regularly drew enormous crowds, with its paths often noted for romantic assignations; tightrope walkers, hot air balloon ascents, concerts and fireworks providing amusement. Although the gardens were originally designed for the elites, they soon became places of great social diversity. Public
firework Fireworks are a class of low explosive An explosive (or explosive material) is a reactive substance that contains a great amount of potential energy that can produce an explosion An explosion is a rapid expansion in volume associat ...

firework
displays were put on at
Marylebone GardensImage:Marylebone Gardens.gif, 280px, "''A view of the Orchestra with the Band of Music, the Grand Walk &c in Marybone Gardens''", engraving from a drawing by J. Donowell, 1761 Marylebone Gardens or Marybone Gardens was a London pleasure garden sited ...

Marylebone Gardens
, and Cremorne Gardens offered music, dancing, and animal acrobatics displays.
Prater The Prater () is a large public park in Leopoldstadt Leopoldstadt (; bar, Leopoidstod, "Leopold-Town") is the 2nd municipal District of Vienna (german: 2. Bezirk) in Austria. There are 103,233 inhabitants (as of 2016-01-01) over . It is si ...
in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label= ) is the , largest city, and one of of . Vienna is Austria's , with about 2 million inhabitants (2.6 million within the , nearly one third of the country's population), and its , , and centre. It ...

Vienna
,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
, began as a royal hunting ground which was opened in 1766 for public enjoyment. There followed coffee-houses and cafés, which led to the beginnings of the Wurstelprater as an amusement park. The concept of a fixed park for amusement was further developed with the beginning of the
world's fair A world's fair is a large international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations. These exhibitions vary in character and are held in different parts of the world at a specific site for a period of time, ranging usually from ...
s. The first World fair began in 1851 with the construction of the landmark
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace may refer to: Places Canada * Crystal Palace Complex (Dieppe), a former amusement park now a shopping complex in Dieppe, New Brunswick * Crystal Palace Barracks, London, Ontario * Crystal Palace (Montreal), an exhibition building * Cr ...
in London, England. The purpose of the exposition was to celebrate the industrial achievement of the nations of the world and it was designed to educate and entertain the visitors. American cities and businesses also saw the world's fair as a way of demonstrating economic and industrial success. The
World's Columbian Exposition The World's Columbian Exposition (the official shortened name for the World's Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair) was a world's fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columb ...
of 1893 in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
, Illinois was an early precursor to the modern amusement park. The fair was an enclosed site, that merged entertainment, engineering and education to entertain the masses. It set out to bedazzle the visitors, and successfully did so with a blaze of lights from the "White City." To make sure that the fair was a financial success, the planners included a dedicated amusement concessions area called the
Midway Plaisance The Midway Plaisance, known locally as the Midway, is a Chicago public park on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordin ...
. Rides from this fair captured the imagination of the visitors and of amusement parks around the world, such as the first steel
Ferris wheel A Ferris wheel (or big wheel in the United Kingdom, also called giant wheels or observation wheels) is an amusement ride Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoymen ...

Ferris wheel
, which was found in many other amusement areas, such as the
Prater The Prater () is a large public park in Leopoldstadt Leopoldstadt (; bar, Leopoidstod, "Leopold-Town") is the 2nd municipal District of Vienna (german: 2. Bezirk) in Austria. There are 103,233 inhabitants (as of 2016-01-01) over . It is si ...
by 1896. Also, the experience of the enclosed ideal city with wonder, rides, culture and progress (electricity), was based on the creation of an illusory place. The " midway" introduced at the Columbian Exposition would become a standard part of most amusement parks, fairs, carnivals, and circuses. The midway contained not only the rides, but other concessions and entertainments such as shooting galleries, penny arcades,
games of chance A game of chance is a game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390 to 1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City) '', 1560, Pieter Bruegel the Elder File:Paul Cézanne, ...
, and shows.


Trolley parks and pleasure resorts

Many modern amusement parks evolved from earlier pleasure
resort A resort (North American English North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety (linguistics), variety of the English language as spoken in the United States and Canada. Because of their related histories and cultures, ...

resort
s that had become popular with the public for day-trips or weekend holidays, for example, seaside areas such as
Blackpool Blackpool is a large town and seaside resort A seaside resort is a resort town, town, village, or hotel that serves as a Resort, vacation resort and is located on a coast. Sometimes the concept includes an aspect of official accreditation ba ...

Blackpool
,
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and
Coney Island Coney Island is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually un ...
,
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
. In the United States, some amusement parks grew from picnic groves established along rivers and lakes that provided bathing and water sports, such as
Lake Compounce Lake Compounce is an amusement park located in Bristol, Connecticut, Bristol and Southington, Connecticut. Opened in 1846, it is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States. It spans , which includes a beach and a water p ...

Lake Compounce
in
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
, first established as a picturesque picnic park in 1846, and Riverside Park in
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * T ...

Massachusetts
, founded in the 1870s along the
Connecticut River The Connecticut River is the longest river in the region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with , , and discharges at . Its watershed encompasses , covering parts of five U.S. s ...

Connecticut River
. The trick was getting the public to the seaside or resort location. For
Coney Island Coney Island is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually un ...
in
Brooklyn Brooklyn () is a borough A borough is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar te ...

Brooklyn
, New York, on the Atlantic Ocean, a horse-drawn streetcar line brought pleasure seekers to the beach beginning in 1829. In 1875, a million passengers rode the Coney Island Railroad, and in 1876 two million visited Coney Island. Hotels and amusements were built to accommodate both the upper classes and the working class at the beach. The first
carousel A carousel (American English: from French ''carrousel'' and Italian ''carosello''), roundabout (British English), or merry-go-round, is a type of amusement ride consisting of a rotation, rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "se ...

carousel
was installed in the 1870s, the first
roller coaster A roller coaster, or rollercoaster, is a type of list of amusement rides, amusement ride that employs a form of elevated Rail tracks, railroad track designed with tight turns, steep Grade (slope), slopes, and sometimes Roller coaster inversion, i ...

roller coaster
, the "
Switchback Railway The original Switchback Railway was the first roller coaster at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York City, and one of the earliest designed for amusement in the United States. The 1885 patent states the invention relates to the gravity double track ...
", in 1884. In England,
Blackpool Blackpool is a large town and seaside resort A seaside resort is a resort town, town, village, or hotel that serves as a Resort, vacation resort and is located on a coast. Sometimes the concept includes an aspect of official accreditation ba ...

Blackpool
was a popular beachside location beginning in the 1700s. It rose to prominence as a seaside resort with the completion in 1846 of a
branch line A branch line is a secondary railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is a man-made device tha ...
to Blackpool from Poulton on the main
Preston and Wyre Joint Railway The Preston and Wyre Railway was promoted to open up agricultural land in the Fylde The Fylde () is a coastal plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands al ...
line. A sudden influx of visitors, arriving by rail, provided the motivation for entrepreneurs to build accommodation and create new attractions, leading to more visitors and a rapid cycle of growth throughout the 1850s and 1860s. In 1879, large parts of the promenade at Blackpool were wired. The lighting and its accompanying pageants reinforced Blackpool's status as the North of England's most prominent holiday resort, and its specifically
working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via waged or salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation of workers by collar color ...
character. It was the forerunner of the present-day
Blackpool Illuminations Blackpool Illuminations is an annual lights festival, founded in 1879 and first switched on 18 September that year, held each autumn in the British seaside resort of Blackpool on the The Fylde, Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Also known locally as The ...
. By the 1890s, the town had a population of 35,000, and could accommodate 250,000 holidaymakers. The number of annual visitors, many staying for a week, was estimated at three million. In the final decade of the 19th century, electric trolley lines were developed in many large American cities. Companies that established the trolley lines also developed
trolley park Trolley may refer to: Vehicles and components * Tram A tram (also known as a streetcar or trolley in North America) is a train that runs on tramway track on public urban streets; some include segments of segregated Right-of-way (transpor ...
s as destinations of these lines. Trolley parks such as
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

Atlanta
'
Ponce de Leon Park
or Reading'sbr>Carsonia Park
were initially popular natural leisure spots before local streetcar companies purchased the sites, expanding them from picnic groves to include regular entertainments, mechanical amusements, dance halls, sports fields, boat rides, restaurants and other resort facilities. Some of these parks were developed in
resort A resort (North American English North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety (linguistics), variety of the English language as spoken in the United States and Canada. Because of their related histories and cultures, ...

resort
locations, such as bathing resorts at the seaside in
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
and
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
. A premiere example in New Jersey was
Atlantic City Atlantic City, often known by its initials A.C., is a coastal Resort town, resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, known for its casinos, Boardwalk (entertainment district), boardwalk, and beache ...
, a famous vacation resort. Entrepreneurs erected amusement parks on piers that extended from the boardwalk out over the ocean. The first of several was the Ocean Pier in 1891, followed later by the
Steel Pier The Steel Pier is a 1,000-foot-long () amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A t ...
in 1898, both of which boasted rides and attractions typical of that time, such as Midway-style games and electric trolley rides. The boardwalk also had the first Roundabout installed in 1892 by William Somers, a wooden predecessor to the
Ferris Wheel A Ferris wheel (or big wheel in the United Kingdom, also called giant wheels or observation wheels) is an amusement ride Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoymen ...

Ferris Wheel
. Somers installed two others in
Asbury Park Asbury Park is a beachfront city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London ...
, New Jersey and
Coney Island Coney Island is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually un ...
, New York. Another early park was the
Eldorado Amusement ParkEldorado Amusement Park was a 25-acre (10.12 ha) amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purpose ...
that opened in 1891 on the banks of the
Hudson River The Hudson River is a river that flows from north to south primarily through eastern New York (state), New York in the United States. It originates in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York and flows southward through the Hudson Valley ...

Hudson River
, overlooking
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
. It consisted of 25 acres.


Modern amusement parks

The first permanent enclosed entertainment area, regulated by a single company, was founded in Coney Island in 1895:
Sea Lion Park Sea Lion Park was a amusement park started in 1895 on Coney Island by Paul Boyton. He fenced the property and charged admission, the park becoming the first enclosed and permanent amusement park in North America. Up until the establishment of this ...
at
Coney Island Coney Island is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually un ...
in Brooklyn. This park was one of the first to charge admission to get into the park in addition to sell tickets for rides within the park. In 1897, Sea Lion Park was joined by
Steeplechase Park Steeplechase Park was a amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is ...
, the first of three major amusement parks that would open in the Coney Island area. George Tilyou designed the park to provide thrills and entertainment. The combination of the nearby population center of
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
and the ease of access to the area made Coney Island the embodiment of the American amusement park. Coney Island also featured
Luna Park Luna Park is a name shared by dozens of currently operating and defunct amusement parks. They are named after, and partly based on, the first Luna Park (Coney Island, 1903), Luna Park, which opened in 1903 during the heyday of large Coney Islan ...
(1903) and Dreamland (1904). Coney Island was a huge success and by the year 1910 attendance on days could reach a million people. Fueled by the efforts of
Frederick Ingersoll Frederick Ingersoll (1876 – October 23, 1927) was an American inventor, designer, builder and entrepreneur who created the world's first chain of amusement parks (known collectively as "Luna Parks" regardless of their actual name) and whose manufa ...
who borrowed the name, other "
Luna Park Luna Park is a name shared by dozens of currently operating and defunct amusement parks. They are named after, and partly based on, the first Luna Park (Coney Island, 1903), Luna Park, which opened in 1903 during the heyday of large Coney Islan ...

Luna Park
s" were quickly erected worldwide and opened to rave reviews. The first amusement park in England was opened in 1896 - the
Blackpool Pleasure Beach Blackpool Pleasure Beach is an amusement park situated on Blackpool's South Shore, in the county of Lancashire Lancashire ( ; abbreviated Lancs.) is a ceremonial county and geographical area in North West England. The ceremonial county ...

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
by W. G. Bean. In 1904, Sir
Hiram Maxim Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (5 February 1840 – 24 November 1916) was an American inventor best known as the creator of the first automatic machine gun A machine gun is an auto-firing, rifling, rifled long gun, long-barrel action (firearms ...
's Captive Flying Machine was introduced; he had designed an early aircraft powered by steam engines that had been unsuccessful and instead opened up a pleasure ride of flying carriages that revolved around a central pylon. Other rides included the 'Grotto' (a fantasy ride), 'River Caves' (a
scenic railwayScenic railroad (American English) or Scenic railway (British English) may refer to: *Heritage railways operating leisurely train tours of sights such as mountain scenery, historic areas, and foliage tours *Scenic gravity railroad, early terminolo ...
), water chutes and a tower. Fire was a constant threat in those days, as much of the construction within the amusement parks of the era was wooden. In 1911, Dreamland was the first Coney Island amusement park to completely burn down; in 1944, Luna Park also burned to the ground. Most of Ingersoll's Luna Parks were similarly destroyed, usually by
arson {, The remains of Kyoto Animation , often abbreviated , is a Japanese animation studio An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such companies conceive of products to produce, own the physical equipment for produ ...
, before his death in 1927.


The Golden Age

During the
Gilded Age In United States history The history of the United States started with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. Numerous indigenous cultures formed, and many disappeared in the 1500s. The arrival of Christopher C ...
, many Americans began working fewer hours and had more disposable income. With new-found money and time to spend on leisure activities, Americans sought new venues for entertainment. Amusement parks, set up outside major cities and in rural areas, emerged to meet this new economic opportunity. These parks served as source of fantasy and escape from real life. By the early 1900s, hundreds of amusement parks were operating in the United States and Canada. Trolley parks stood outside many cities. Parks like Atlanta's Ponce de Leon and Idora Park, near Youngstown, OH, took passengers to traditionally popular picnic grounds, which by the late 1890s also often included rides like the Giant Swing,
Carousel A carousel (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. C ...

Carousel
, and
Shoot-the-Chutes at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio Sandusky is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio Ohio is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territories of the United States ...
. These amusement parks were often based on nationally known parks or world's fairs: they had names like
Coney Island Coney Island is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually un ...
,
White CityWhite City may refer to: Places Australia * White City, Perth, an amusement park on the Perth foreshore * White City railway station, a former railway station * White City Stadium (Sydney), a tennis centre in Sydney * White City FC, a football club ...
,
Luna Park Luna Park is a name shared by dozens of currently operating and defunct amusement parks. They are named after, and partly based on, the first Luna Park (Coney Island, 1903), Luna Park, which opened in 1903 during the heyday of large Coney Islan ...
, or Dreamland. The American Gilded Age was, in fact, amusement parks' Golden Age that reigned until the late 1920s. The Golden Age of amusement parks also included the advent of the kiddie park. Founded in 1925, the original Kiddie Park is located in San Antonio, Texas and is still in operation today. The kiddie parks became popular all over America after World War II. This era saw the development of the new innovations in
roller coaster A roller coaster, or rollercoaster, is a type of list of amusement rides, amusement ride that employs a form of elevated Rail tracks, railroad track designed with tight turns, steep Grade (slope), slopes, and sometimes Roller coaster inversion, i ...

roller coaster
s that included extreme drops and speeds to thrill the riders. By the end of the First World War, people seemed to want an even more exciting entertainment, a need met by roller coasters. Although the development of the automobile provided people with more options for satisfying their entertainment needs, the amusement parks after the war continued to be successful, while urban amusement parks saw declining attendance. The 1920s is more properly known as the Golden Age of roller coasters, being the decade of frenetic building for these rides. In England,
Dreamland Margate Dreamland Margate is an amusement park and entertainment centre based on a traditional English seaside Travelling funfair, funfair located at Margate, Kent, England. The site of the park was first used for List of amusement rides, amusement rid ...
opened in 1880 with Frederick Savage's
carousel A carousel (American English: from French ''carrousel'' and Italian ''carosello''), roundabout (British English), or merry-go-round, is a type of amusement ride consisting of a rotation, rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "se ...

carousel
the first amusement ride installed. In 1920 the
Scenic RailwayScenic railroad (American English) or Scenic railway (British English) may refer to: *Heritage railways operating leisurely train tours of sights such as mountain scenery, historic areas, and foliage tours *Scenic gravity railroad, early terminolo ...
rollercoaster A roller coaster, or rollercoaster, is a type of amusement ride Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoyment. Types of rides *Flat rides are usually considered to ...

rollercoaster
opened to the public with great success, carrying half a million passengers in its first year. The park also installed other rides common to the time including a smaller roller coaster, the Joy Wheel, Miniature Railway, The Whip and the River Caves. A ballroom was constructed on the site of the Skating Rink in 1920 and in 1923 a Variety Cinema was built on the site. Between 1920 and 1935 over £500,000 was invested in the site, constantly adding new rides and facilities and culminating in the construction of the Dreamland Cinema complex in 1934 which stands to this day. Meanwhile, the
Blackpool Pleasure Beach Blackpool Pleasure Beach is an amusement park situated on Blackpool's South Shore, in the county of Lancashire Lancashire ( ; abbreviated Lancs.) is a ceremonial county and geographical area in North West England. The ceremonial county ...

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
was also being developed. Frequent large-scale investments were responsible for the construction of many new rides, including the Virginia Reel, Whip, Noah's Ark,
Big Dipper The Big Dipper (American English, US, Canadian English, Canada) or the Plough (British English, UK, Hiberno-English, Ireland) is a large asterism (astronomy), asterism consisting of seven bright stars of the constellation Ursa Major; six of them ...
and Dodgems. In the 1920s the "Casino Building" was built, which remains to this day. In 1923, land was reclaimed from the sea front. It was at this period that the park moved to its 44-acre (180,000 m2) current location above what became Watson Road, which was built under the Pleasure Beach in 1932. During this time Joseph Emberton, an architect famous for his work in the amusement trade was brought in to redesign the architectural style of the Pleasure Beach rides, working on the "Grand National" roller coaster, "Noah's Ark" and the Casino building to name a few.


Depression and post-World War II decline

The
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
of the 1930s and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
during the 1940s saw the decline of the amusement park industry. War caused the affluent urban population to move to the suburbs, television became a source of entertainment, and families went to amusement parks less often. By the 1950s, factors such as
urban decay Urban decay (also known as urban rot, urban death and urban blight) is the sociological process by which a previously functioning city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Londo ...
,
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

crime
, and even
desegregation Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups, usually referring to races. Desegregation is typically measured by the index of dissimilarity, allowing researchers to determine whether desegregation efforts are having impact o ...
in the ghettos led to changing patterns in how people chose to spend their free time. Many of the older, traditional amusement parks closed or burned to the ground. Many would be taken out by the wrecking ball to make way for
suburb A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...
an housing and
development Development or developing may refer to: Arts *Development hell, when a project is stuck in development *Filmmaking#Development, Filmmaking, development phase, including finance and budgeting *Development (music), the process thematic material i ...
. In 1964,
Steeplechase Park Steeplechase Park was a amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is ...
, once the king of all amusement parks, closed down for good. The traditional amusement parks which survived, for example,
Kennywood Kennywood is an amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of ...

Kennywood
, in
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania West Mifflin is a borough A borough is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar te ...
, and
Cedar Point Cedar Point is a amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a typ ...

Cedar Point
, in
Sandusky, Ohio Sandusky is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Erie County, Ohio, Erie County. Situated in northern Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie, Sandusky is located roughly midway between Toledo, Ohio, Toledo ( west) and Cleveland ( ea ...
, did so in spite of the odds.


Amusement and theme parks today

The amusement park industry's offerings range from immersive theme parks such as the
Walt Disney World Resort The Walt Disney World Resort, also called Walt Disney World or Disney World, is an entertainment resort complex in Bay Lake, Florida, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States, near the cities of Orlando ...
and
Universal Orlando Resort Universal Orlando Resort, commonly known as Universal Orlando or simply "Universal," formerly Universal Studios Escape, is an American theme park File:Mountain at Canada's Wonderland.jpg, Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusem ...
to thrilling coaster parks such as the
Six Flags Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, more commonly known as Six Flags or as Six Flags Theme Parks, is an American amusement park corporation, headquartered in Arlington, Texas Arlington is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, located in Tarran ...
parks and
Cedar Fair Cedar Fair, L.P., formally Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, is a publicly traded master limited partnership In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a countr ...
parks. Countless smaller ventures exist across the United States and around the world. Simpler theme parks directly aimed at smaller children have also emerged, such as
Legoland Legoland (, trademark in uppercase as LEGOLAND) is a chain of family theme parks focusing on the construction toy system Lego. They are not fully owned by The Lego Group itself; rather, they are owned and operated by the United Kingdom, British ...

Legoland
. Examples of amusement parks in shopping malls exist in
West Edmonton Mall West Edmonton Mall (WEM) is a shopping mall located in Edmonton, Alberta. It is the second most visited mall in Canada, after the Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto, followed by Metropolis at Metrotown, Metrotown Mall in Burnaby, and the 23rd larges ...

West Edmonton Mall
,
Pier 39 Pier 39 is a shopping center A shopping center (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the U ...

Pier 39
and
Mall of America The Mall of America (abbreviated MOA) is a shopping mall located in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of the Minneapolis – Saint Paul, Twin Cities in Minnesota, United States. It lies southeast of the junction of Interstate 494 and Minnesota Stat ...

Mall of America
. Family fun parks starting as miniature golf courses have begun to grow to include batting cages, go-karts, bumper cars, bumper boats and water slides. Some of these parks have grown to include even roller coasters, and traditional amusement parks now also have these competition areas in addition to their thrill rides. In 2015, theme parks in the United States had a revenue of and theme parks in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
had a revenue of , with China expected to overtake the United States by 2020.


Other types of amusement park


Educational theme parks

Some parks use rides and attractions for educational purposes. Disney was the first to successfully open a large-scale theme park built around education. Named EPCOT Center (now simply
Epcot Epcot (stylized as EPCOT) is a theme park An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases ...

Epcot
), it opened in 1982 as the second park in the Walt Disney World Resort. There are also
Holy Land USA Holy Land USA is an theme park in Waterbury, Connecticut Waterbury (nicknamed "The Brass City") is a city in the U.S. state of Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2 ...
and the
Holy Land Experience The Holy Land Experience (HLE) is registered as a Christian-based theme park in Orlando, Florida and registered non-profit corporation. HLE conducts weekly church services and bible studies for the general public. HLE’s theme park recreates the ar ...
, which are theme parks built to inspire Christian piety. Dinosaur World entertains families with
dinosaur Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic Geological period, period, between 243 and 233.23 annum, million years ago, although the exact origin and timing of the evolution ...

dinosaur
s in natural settings, while the
SeaWorld SeaWorld is an American theme park chain with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. It is a proprietor of marine mammal parks, oceanariums, animal theme parks, and rehabilitation centers owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (one park will be ow ...

SeaWorld
and
Busch Gardens Busch Gardens is the name of two amusement parks in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North Amer ...
parks also offer educational experiences, with each of the parks housing several thousand animals, fish and other sea life in dozens of attractions and exhibits focusing on animal education. Created in 1977, the
Puy du Fou Puy du Fou () is a historical theme park File:Mountain at Canada's Wonderland.jpg, Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for e ...

Puy du Fou
is a much celebrated theme park in
Vendée Vendée () is a Departments of France, department in the Pays de la Loire Regions of France, region in Western France, on the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic coast. In 2016, it had a population of 670,597. Its Prefectures in France, prefecture is La Roch ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
. It is centered around European, French and local history. It received several international prizes.


Family-owned theme parks

Some theme parks did evolve from more traditional amusement park enterprises, such as
Knott's Berry Farm Knott's Berry Farm is a theme park File:Mountain at Canada's Wonderland.jpg, Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for enter ...
. In the 1920s,
Walter Knott Walter Marvin Knott (December 11, 1889 – December 3, 1981) was an American farmer who created the Knott's Berry Farm amusement park in California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million resid ...
and his family sold berries from a roadside stand, which grew to include a restaurant serving fried chicken dinners. Within a few years, lines outside the restaurant were often several hours long. To entertain the waiting crowds, Walter Knott built a Ghost Town in 1940, using buildings relocated from real old west towns such as the Calico, California ghost town and
Prescott, Arizona Prescott ( ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routled ...

Prescott, Arizona
. In 1968, the Knott family fenced the farm, charged admission for the first time, and Knott's Berry Farm officially became a theme park. Because of its long history,
Knott's Berry Farm Knott's Berry Farm is a theme park File:Mountain at Canada's Wonderland.jpg, Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for enter ...
currently claims to be "America's First Theme Park." Knott's Berry Farm is now owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.
Lake Compounce Lake Compounce is an amusement park located in Bristol, Connecticut, Bristol and Southington, Connecticut. Opened in 1846, it is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States. It spans , which includes a beach and a water p ...

Lake Compounce
in
Bristol, Connecticut Bristol is a suburban city located in Hartford County, Connecticut Hartford County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary' ...
may be the true oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States, open since 1846. Santa Claus Town, which opened in
Santa Claus, Indiana Santa Claus is a town in Spencer County, Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. stat ...
in 1935 and included
Santa's Candy Castle Santa's Candy Castle, located in Santa Claus, Indiana Santa Claus is a town in Spencer County, Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
and other Santa Claus-themed attractions, is considered the first themed attraction in the United States: a precursor to the modern day theme park. Santa Claus Land (renamed
Holiday World Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (known as Santa Claus Land prior to 1984) is a combination amusement park, theme park and water park located near Interstate 64 and U.S. 231 in Santa Claus, Indiana, Santa Claus, Indiana, United States. The theme ...
in 1984) opened in 1946 in
Santa Claus, Indiana Santa Claus is a town in Spencer County, Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. stat ...
and many people will argue that it was the first true Theme Park despite Knott's history. In the 1950s the Herschend family took over operation of the tourist attraction,
Marvel Cave Marvel Cave is a National Natural Landmark located just west of Branson, Missouri, on top of Roark Mountain in Stone County, Missouri, Stone County. The cave was known by the Osage Indians in the early 16th century, after a tribe member fell throu ...
near
Branson, Missouri Branson is a city in Taney and Stone A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rock ...
. Over the next decade they modernized the cave, which led to large numbers of people waiting to take the tour. The Herschend family opened a recreation of the old mining town that once existed atop Marvel Cave. The small village eventually became the theme park,
Silver Dollar City Silver Dollar City is a amusement park in Stone County, Missouri, near the cities of Branson, Missouri, Branson and Branson West, Missouri, Branson West. The park is located off of Missouri Route 76 on the Indian Point peninsula of Table Rock La ...
. The park is still owned and operated by the Herschends and the family has several other parks including
Dollywood Dollywood is an amusement park jointly owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment. It is located in the Knoxville-Smoky Mountains metroplex in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Hosting nearly 3 million guests in a typical sea ...
,
Celebration City Celebration City was a theme park located in Branson, Missouri, United States. It was themed after United States, America in the 20th century, with areas based on U.S. Route 66, Route 66, Small-town America in the 1900s, and a beachside boardwalk ...
and
Wild Adventures Wild Adventures is a Animal theme park, zoological theme park in Clyattville, Georgia, Clyattville, Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia, which is located south of Valdosta, Georgia, United States. It is owned by Herschend Family Entertainment. The park ...

Wild Adventures
.


Regional parks

The first regional amusement park, as well as the first
Six Flags Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, more commonly known as Six Flags or as Six Flags Theme Parks, is an American amusement park corporation, headquartered in Arlington, Texas Arlington is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, located in Tarran ...
park,
Six Flags Over Texas "Six flags over Texas" is the slogan A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a clan, political slogan, political, Advertising slogan, commercial, religious, and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose, with the ...
was officially opened in 1961 in
Arlington, Texas Arlington is a city in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its with the . Due to ...

Arlington, Texas
. The first Six Flags amusement park was the vision of Angus Wynne, Jr. and helped create the modern, competitive amusement park industry. In the late 1950s, Wynne visited
Disneyland The Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for e ...

Disneyland
and was inspired to create an affordable, closer, and larger amusement park that would be filled with fantasy. He followed in the steps of Disney and had subdivisions within the park that reflected different lands. The subdivisions included the Old South and other sections that referenced Wynne's background. By 1968, the second
Six Flags Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, more commonly known as Six Flags or as Six Flags Theme Parks, is an American amusement park corporation, headquartered in Arlington, Texas Arlington is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, located in Tarran ...
park,
Six Flags Over Georgia Six Flags Over Georgia is a amusement park, theme park located west of Atlanta, Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., in unincorporated Cobb County. Opened in 1967, it is the second park in the Six Flags chain, after the original opening in 1961 in Te ...
, opened, and in 1971, Six Flags Over Mid-America (now ) opened near
St. Louis St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...

St. Louis
, Missouri. Also in 1971 was the opening of the
Walt Disney World The Walt Disney World Resort, also called Walt Disney World or Disney World, is an entertainment resort complex in Bay Lake, Florida, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States, near the cities of Orlando ...
resort complex in
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
, with the
Magic Kingdom Magic Kingdom Park is a amusement park, theme park at the Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando, Florida. Owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, ...
(1971),
Epcot Epcot (stylized as EPCOT) is a theme park An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases ...

Epcot
(1982),
Disney's Hollywood Studios Disney's Hollywood Studios is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Parks, Experiences and Products division. Based on a concept by ...
(1989) and
Disney's Animal Kingdom Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park is a zoological theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort The Walt Disney World Resort, also called Walt Disney World or Disney World, is an entertainment resort complex in Bay Lake, Florida, Bay Lake ...
(1998).


Admission prices and admission policies

Amusement parks collect much of their revenue from admission fees paid by guests attending the park. Other revenue sources include parking fees, food and beverage sales and souvenirs. Practically all amusement parks operate using one of two admission principles:


Pay-as-you-go

In amusement parks using the pay-as-you-go scheme, a guest enters the park at little or no charge. The guest must then purchase rides individually, either at the attraction's entrance or by purchasing ride tickets (or a similar exchange method, like a
token Token may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Token, a game piece or counter, used in some games * The Tokens The Tokens were an American male doo-wop Doo-wop (also spelled doowop and doo wop) is a genre of rhythm and blues R ...
). The cost of the attraction is often based on its complexity or popularity. For example, a guest might pay one ticket to ride a
carousel A carousel (American English: from French ''carrousel'' and Italian ''carosello''), roundabout (British English), or merry-go-round, is a type of amusement ride consisting of a rotation, rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "se ...

carousel
but four tickets to ride a
roller coaster A roller coaster, or rollercoaster, is a type of list of amusement rides, amusement ride that employs a form of elevated Rail tracks, railroad track designed with tight turns, steep Grade (slope), slopes, and sometimes Roller coaster inversion, i ...

roller coaster
. The park may allow guests to purchase a pass providing unlimited admissions to all attractions within the park for a specified duration of time. A wristband or pass is then shown at the attraction entrance to gain admission.
Disneyland The Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for e ...

Disneyland
opened in 1955 using the pay-as-you-go format. Initially, guests paid the ride admission fees at the attractions. Within a short time, the problems of handling such large amounts of coins led to the development of a ticket system that, while now out of use, is still part of the amusement-park lexicon. In this new format, guests purchased ticket books that contained a number of tickets, labeled "A," "B" and "C." Rides and attractions using an "A-ticket" were generally simple, with "B-tickets" and "C-tickets" used for the larger, more popular rides. Later, the "D-ticket" was added, then finally the " E-ticket", which was used on the biggest and most elaborate rides, like
Space Mountain Space Mountain is a space-themed indoor roller coaster attraction located at five of the six Disneyland Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened ...
. Smaller tickets could be traded up for use on larger rides, so that for example two or three A-tickets would equal a single B-ticket. Disneyland, as well as the
Magic Kingdom Magic Kingdom Park is a amusement park, theme park at the Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando, Florida. Owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, ...
at Walt Disney World, abandoned this practice in 1982.


Pay-one-price

An amusement park using the pay-one-price scheme will charge guests a single admission fee. The guest is then entitled to use most of the attractions (usually including flagship roller coasters) in the park as often as they wish during their visit. A daily admission pass (daypass) is the most basic fare on sale, also sold are season tickets which offer holders admission for the entire operating year (plus special privileges for the newest attractions), and express passes which gives holders priority in bypassing lineup queues for popular attractions. Pay-one-price format parks also have attractions that are not included in the admission charge; these are called "up-charge attractions" and can include
Skycoaster 200px, A typical Skycoaster's entire structure, including the lifting towers and the main arch Skycoaster is an amusement park ride produced and managed by Skycoaster Company, LLC.. On the Skycoaster, riders in groups of 1 to 3 are harnessed in s ...
s or go-kart tracks, or games of skill where prizes are won. When Angus Wynne, founder of
Six Flags Over Texas "Six flags over Texas" is the slogan A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a clan, political slogan, political, Advertising slogan, commercial, religious, and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose, with the ...
, first visited
Disneyland The Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for ...
upon its opening in 1955, he noted that park's pay-as-you-go format as a reason to make his park pay-one-price. He thought that a family would be more likely to visit his park if they knew, up front, how much it would cost to attend.


Rides and attractions

''See
List of amusement rides Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoyment. Types of rides *Flat rides are usually considered to be those that move their passengers in a plane generally parallel t ...
'' Mechanized thrill machines are a defining feature of amusement parks. Early rides include the
carousel A carousel (American English: from French ''carrousel'' and Italian ''carosello''), roundabout (British English), or merry-go-round, is a type of amusement ride consisting of a rotation, rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "se ...

carousel
, which originally developed from cavalry training methods first used in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
. By the 19th century, carousels were common in parks around the world. Another such ride which shaped the future of the amusement park was the
roller coaster A roller coaster, or rollercoaster, is a type of list of amusement rides, amusement ride that employs a form of elevated Rail tracks, railroad track designed with tight turns, steep Grade (slope), slopes, and sometimes Roller coaster inversion, i ...

roller coaster
. The origins of roller coasters can be traced back to 17th-century Russia, where gravity-driven attractions, which at first only consisted of individual sleds or carts riding freely down chutes on top of specially constructed snow slopes with piles of sand at the bottom for braking, were used as winter leisure activities. These crude and temporarily built curiosities, known as ''
Russian Mountains Russian Mountains were a predecessor to the roller coaster. The earliest roller coasters were descended from Russian winter sled rides held on specially constructed hills of ice, sometimes up to tall.Roller Coasters A Thrill Seeker's Guide to th ...
'', were the beginning of the search for even more thrilling amusement park rides. The Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a particularly fertile testing ground for
amusement ride Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoyment. Types of rides *Flat rides are usually considered to be those that move their passengers in a plane generally parallel t ...

amusement ride
s and included some that the public had never seen before, such as the world's first Ferris wheel, one of the most recognized products of the fair. In the present day, many rides of various types are set around a specific theme. Parks contains a mixture of attractions which can be divided into several categories.


Flat rides

Flat ride Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoyment. Types of rides *Flat rides are usually considered to be those that move their passengers in a plane generally parallel t ...
s are usually considered to be those that move their passengers in a plane generally parallel to the ground. There is a core set of
flat ride Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoyment. Types of rides *Flat rides are usually considered to be those that move their passengers in a plane generally parallel t ...
s which most amusement parks have, including the
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,
Tilt-A-Whirl Tilt-A-Whirl is a flat ride similar to the Waltzer in Europe, designed for commercial use at amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals, in which it is commonly found. The rides are manufactured by Larson International of Plainview, Texas. Description ...
,
Gravitron The Gravitron (also known as the Starship, Starship 2000, Starship 3000, Starship 4000, Starship Area 51, Starship Gravitron, Starship Exodus, Alien Abduction, Alien Invasion, Twister, Devil's Hole, Area 51, Flight To Mars, and Enterprise) is an ...
, chairswing, swinging inverter ship, twister, and top spin. However, there is constant innovation, with new variations on ways to spin and throw passengers around appearing in an effort to keep attracting customers. Manufactures such as Huss and
Zamperla Antonio Zamperla S.p.A. is an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** ...
specialise in creating flat rides among other amusement attractions.


Roller coasters

Amusement parks often feature multiple roller coasters of primarily
timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, sup ...
or steel construction. Fundamentally, a roller coaster ride is one in which a specialized railroad system with steep drops and sharp curves, passengers sit and are restrained in cars, usually with two or more cars joined to form a train. Some roller coasters feature one or more inversions (such as
vertical loop The generic roller coaster vertical loop, where a section of track causes the riders to complete a 360 degree turn, is the most basic of roller coaster inversions. At the top of the loop, riders are completely inverted. History The vertical l ...
s) which turn the riders upside down. Over the years there have been many roller coaster manufacturers with a variety of types of roller coasters. Manufacturers today include: *
Bolliger & Mabillard Bolliger & Mabillard, officially Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers, Inc. and often abbreviated B&M, is a roller coaster design consultancy based in Monthey, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1988 by Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabill ...
*
Gerstlauer Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH is a German manufacturer of stationary and transportable amusement rides and roller coasters, located in Münsterhausen, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin ...
*
Great Coasters International Great Coasters International, Inc. (GCI or GCII) is a Sunbury, Pennsylvania-based roller coaster manufacturer which has created several award-winning rides since its formation in 1994. Starting in 2006 with Thunderbird (PowerPark), Thunderbird at P ...
*
Intamin Intamin Amusement Rides is a design and manufacturing company in Schaan, Liechtenstein. It is best known for creating Amusement ride, thrill rides and roller coasters worldwide. The Intamin brand name is a syllabic abbreviation for "international a ...
*
Mack Rides Mack Rides GmbH & Co KG, also known simply as Mack Rides, is a Germany, German company that designs and constructs amusement rides, based in Waldkirch, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is one of the world's oldest amusement industry suppliers, and b ...
*
Premier Rides Image:Mr. Freeze, Six Flags St. Louis.jpg, ''Mr. Freeze'', a Premier Rides roller coaster. Premier Rides is an amusement ride manufacturer based in the United States. The company was the first to use linear induction motor, Linear Induction Motors ...
*
Rocky Mountain Construction Rocky Mountain Construction, often abbreviated as RMC, is a manufacturing and construction company based in Hayden, Idaho, United States. The company is best known for its I-Box track and Topper Track for wooden roller coasters. History In 2001 ...
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Vekoma Vekoma Rides Manufacturing is a Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer t ...

Vekoma
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Zamperla Antonio Zamperla S.p.A. is an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** ...


Railways

Amusement park railways have had a long and varied history in American amusement parks as well as overseas. Some of the earliest park trains were not really trains; they were , which brought park patrons to the parks on regular rail lines from the cities to the end of the rail lines where the parks were located. As such, some older parks, such as
Kennywood Kennywood is an amusement park Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of ...

Kennywood
in
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
, were referred to as
trolley park Trolley may refer to: Vehicles and components * Tram A tram (also known as a streetcar or trolley in North America) is a train that runs on tramway track on public urban streets; some include segments of segregated Right-of-way (transpor ...
s. The earliest park trains that only operated on lines within the park's boundaries, such as the one on the ridable miniature Zephyr Railroad in Dorney Park, were mostly custom-built. A few parks trains (such as the
Disneyland Railroad The Disneyland Railroad (DRR), formerly known as the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, is a 3-foot () narrow-gauge heritage railroad and attraction in the Disneyland theme park of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, in the United ...
, Walt Disney World Railroad, and Dollywood Express) operate using locomotives that had working careers on common carrier railways. Amusement park railways tend to be
narrow gauge A narrow-gauge railway (narrow-gauge railroad in the US) is a railway with a track gauge In rail transport Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle ...

narrow gauge
, meaning the space between their rails is smaller than that of railroads. Some specific narrow gauges that are common on amusement park railroads are gauge, gauge, gauge, and gauge. Past and present manufacturers include: *
Allan Herschell Company The Allan Herschell Company specialized in the creation of amusement rides, particularly carousels and roller coasters. The company manufactured portable machines which could be used by traveling carnival operators. It was started in 1915 in the t ...
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Brookville Equipment Corporation Brookville Equipment Corporation, based in Brookville, Pennsylvania, Brookville, Pennsylvania, United States, manufactures railroad locomotives for industrial and light capacity switching needs. The company also builds and restores streetcars. The ...
*Cagney Brothers *
Chance Rides Chance Rides Manufacturing is a roller coaster and amusement ride manufacturer. The company was formed on May 16, 2002, when the former Chance Industries Inc. emerged from bankruptcy. The main office and manufacturing facility are located in Wichi ...
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Crown Metal Products Crown Metal Products was a manufacturer of steam locomotives based in Wyano, Pennsylvania founded by Ken Williams in 1946. The company initially sold pot cleaners and then electric fence wires and other products. In 1959, the company began to tran ...
*Custom Fabricators *Custom Locomotives *
Doppelmayr Garaventa Group Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group is an international manufacturer of ropeways and people movers for ski areas, urban transport, amusement parks, and material handling systems. As of 2019, the group have produced over 15,000 installations in 96 countries ...
* Hurlbut Amusement Co. *Katiland Trains *Miniature Train Co. (MTC) *National Amusement Devices Co. (NAD) *Ottaway *Sandley *
Severn Lamb Severn Lamb, sometimes known as Severn-Lamb, are manufacturers of various forms of transport systems and equipment, principally aimed at the leisure market. They are based at Alcester in the England, English county of Warwickshire, but sell their ...
*Tampa Metal Products *Train Rides Unlimited *Western Train Co.


Water rides

Amusement parks with water resources generally feature a few water rides, such as the
log flume 220px, A sawmill with log flume, Cascade Range, USA A log flume is a flume specifically constructed to transport lumber and logging, logs down mountainous terrain to a sawmill by using flowing water. These watertight wikt:trough, trough-like chan ...
, bumper boats,
rapids Rapids are sections of a river where the river bed has a relatively steep gradient In vector calculus, the gradient of a scalar-valued function, scalar-valued differentiable function of Function of several variables, several variables is the ...

rapids
and rowing boats. Such rides are usually gentler and shorter than roller coasters and many are suitable for all ages. Water rides are especially popular on hot days.


Dark rides

Overlapping with both train rides and water rides, dark rides are enclosed attractions in which patrons travel in guided vehicles along a predetermined path, through an array of illuminated scenes which may include lighting effects, animation, music and recorded dialogue, and other special effects.


Ferris wheels

Ferris wheels are the most common type of
amusement ride Amusement rides, sometimes called carnival rides, are mechanical devices or structures that move people to create enjoyment. Types of rides *Flat rides are usually considered to be those that move their passengers in a plane generally parallel t ...

amusement ride
at
state fair A state fair is an annual competitive and recreational gathering of a U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continen ...
s and county fairs in the US.


Transport rides

Transport rides are used to take large numbers of guests from one area to another, as an alternative to walking, especially for parks that are large or separated into distant areas. Transport rides include
chairlift An elevated passenger ropeway, or chairlift, is a type of aerial lift, which consists of a continuously circulating steel Steel is an alloy of iron with typically a few tenths of a percent of carbon to improve its strength of materials, ...

chairlift
s,
monorail A monorail is a railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles inclu ...

monorail
s,
aerial tram Aerial may refer to: Music * ''Aerial'' (album), by Kate Bush * ''Aerials'' (song), from the album ''Toxicity'' by System of a Down Bands * Aerial (Canadian band) * Aerial (Scottish band) * Aerial (Swedish band) Performance art * Aerial sil ...
s, and escalators.
Ocean Park Hong Kong Ocean Park Hong Kong, commonly known as Ocean Park, is a marine mammal park dolphin.html" ;"title="Marineland of Florida, United States — dolphin">Marineland of Florida, United States — dolphin show, 1964. --> A marine mammal park (al ...

Ocean Park Hong Kong
is well known for its cable car connecting the Lowland and Headland areas of the park, and for having the world's second longest outdoor escalator in the Headland. Both transportation links provide scenic views of the park's hilly surroundings and, while originally intended for practicality rather than thrills or enjoyment, have become significant park attractions in their own right.


See also

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Miniature park A miniature park is a display of miniature buildings and model (physical), models, usually as a recreational and tourist attraction open to the public. A miniature park may contain a model of a single city or town, often called a miniature city ...


References


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Amusement park Children's entertainment