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, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting
operation. They are more elaborate than city parks and playgrounds,
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 fairs, pleasure gardens and
large picnic areas, which were created for people's recreation.
World's fairs and other types of international expositions also
influenced the emergence of the amusement park industry. 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 and the popular
Disneyland theme park in
1.2 Trolley parks and pleasure resorts
1.3 Modern amusement parks
1.4 The Golden Age
1.5 Depression and post-
World War II
World War II decline
2 Amusement and theme parks today
3 Other types of amusement park
3.1 Educational theme parks
3.2 Family-owned theme parks
3.3 Regional parks
4 Admission prices and admission policies
5 Rides and attractions
5.1 Flat rides
5.2 Roller coasters
5.3 Train rides
5.4 Water rides
5.5 Dark rides
5.6 Ferris wheels
5.7 Transport rides
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 of the
Middle Ages - one of
the earliest was the Bartholomew
Fair 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 shows, acrobatics,
conjuring and juggling, take part in competitions and walk through
Frederick Savage's 'Sea-On-Land' carousel, where the riders would
pitch up and down as if they were on the sea, was the first amusement
ride installed in
Dreamland Margate in 1880
A wave of innovation in the 1860s and 1870s created mechanical rides,
such as the steam-powered carousel (built by Thomas Bradshaw, at the
Aylsham Fair), and its derivatives, notably from Frederick Savage of
King's Lynn, 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
The second influence was the pleasure garden. An example of this is
the world's oldest amusement park, Bakken ("The Hill"), opened in
mainland Europe in 1583. It is located north of
Vauxhall Gardens, founded in 1661 as one of the first pleasure gardens
Another early garden was the Vauxhall Gardens, 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 displays
were put on at Marylebone Gardens, and Cremorne Gardens offered music,
dancing and animal acrobatics displays.
Prater in Vienna, 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
The concept of a fixed park for amusement was further developed with
the beginning of the world's fairs. The first World fair began in 1851
with the construction of the landmark Crystal Palace 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.
The original Ferris Wheel, World's Columbian Exposition, 1893
American cities and business also saw the world's fair as a way of
demonstrating economic and industrial success. The World's
Columbian Exposition of 1893 in
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. Rides from
this fair captured the imagination of the visitors and of amusement
parks around the world, such as the first steel Ferris wheel, which
was found in many other amusement areas, such as the
Prater by 1896.
Also, the experience of the enclosed ideal city with wonder, rides,
culture and progress (electricity), was based on the creation of an
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 and shows.
Trolley parks and pleasure resorts
Main article: Trolley park
Many modern amusement parks evolved from earlier pleasure resorts that
had become popular with the public for day-trips or weekend holidays,
for example, seaside areas such as Blackpool,
United Kingdom and Coney
Island, 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 in
Connecticut, first established as a picturesque picnic park in 1846,
and Riverside Park in Massachusetts, founded in the 1870s along the
The trick was getting the public to the seaside or resort location.
Coney Island in 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 was installed in the
1870s, the first roller coaster, the "Switchback Railway", in 1884.
Blackpool Beach in 1895
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 to
Blackpool from Poulton on the
Preston and Wyre Joint Railway
Preston and Wyre Joint Railway 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.
Photochrom of the Promenade c. 1898
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 character. It was the forerunner of the
Blackpool Illuminations. 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
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 parks as destinations of
these lines. Trolley parks such as Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Park, or
Reading's 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.
Steel Pier circa the 1910s
Steel Pier circa the 2010s
Some of these parks were developed in resort locations, such as
bathing resorts at the seaside in
New Jersey and New York. A premiere
New Jersey was Atlantic City, 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 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. Somers installed two others in Asbury
New Jersey and Coney Island, New York.
Another early park was the
Eldorado Amusement Park
Eldorado Amusement Park that opened in 1891
on the banks of the Hudson River, overlooking New York City. It
consisted of 25 acres.
Modern amusement parks
Dreamland tower and lagoon in 1907
The first permanent enclosed entertainment area, regulated by a single
company, was founded in
Coney Island in 1895:
Sea Lion Park
Sea Lion Park at Coney
Island 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
Sea Lion Park
Sea Lion Park was joined by Steeplechase Park, 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 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
(1903) and Dreamland (1904).
Coney Island was a huge success and by
year 1910 attendance on days could reach a million people. Fueled
by the efforts of
Frederick Ingersoll who borrowed the name, other
"Luna Parks" were quickly erected worldwide and opened to rave
The first amusement park in England was opened in 1896 - the Blackpool
Pleasure Beach by W. G. Bean. In 1904, Sir Hiram Maxim'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 railway), water chutes and a toboganning 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
Luna Park also burned to the ground. Most of Ingersoll's Luna
Parks were similarly destroyed, usually by arson, before his death in
The Golden Age
Shoot-the-chute ride at Dreamland,
Coney Island c. 1905
During the Gilded Age, 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, and
Shoot-the-Chutes. These amusement parks were often based on nationally
known parks or world's fairs: they had names like Coney Island, White
City, Luna Park, 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 coasters
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.
Scenic Railway at Margate, 1930s
Dreamland Margate opened in 1880 with Frederick Savage's
carousel the first amusement ride installed. In 1920 the Scenic
Railway 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
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 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
World War II decline
Main entrance to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown,
Great Depression of the 1930s and
World War II
World War II 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
By the 1950s, factors such as urban decay, crime, and even
desegregation 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 suburban housing and
development. In 1964, Steeplechase Park, once the king of all
amusement parks, closed down for good. The traditional amusement parks
which survived, for example, Kennywood, in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania,
and Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio, did so in spite of the odds.
Amusement and theme parks today
Stunt Fall at Parque Warner Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Dark Forest entrance at
Alton Towers theme park, Alton, England
The amusement park industry's offerings range from large, worldwide
type theme parks such as Walt Disney World,
SeaWorld Orlando and
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood to smaller and medium-sized theme parks
such as the
Six Flags parks and Cedar
Fair 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
Examples of amusement parks in shopping malls exist in West Edmonton
Mall, Alberta, Canada; Pier 39, San Francisco; 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.
As of 2008, the Walt Disney Company accounted for around half of the
total industry's revenue in the US as a result of more than 50 million
visitors of its U.S.-based attractions each year.
In 2015, theme parks in the
United States had a revenue of US$8
billion and theme parks in China had a revenue of US$4.6 billion, with
China expected to overtake the
United States by 2020.
Other types of amusement park
Educational theme parks
The historical theme park
Puy du Fou
Puy du Fou in
France won the 2014 Applause
Award from the IAAPA
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, it opened in 1982 as the second park in
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World Resort. There are also Holy Land USA and the
Holy Land Experience, which are theme parks built to inspire
Dinosaur World entertains families with dinosaurs in
natural settings, while the
Busch Gardens 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 much celebrated theme park in
Vendée, France. It is centered around European, French and local
history. It received several international prizes.
Family-owned theme parks
Narrow gauge mining train going through Calico Ghost Town
Some theme parks did evolve from more traditional amusement park
enterprises, such as Knott's Berry Farm. In the 1920s, Walter Knott
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. In 1968, the Knott family
fenced the farm, charged admission for the first time, and Knott's
Berry Farm officially became an amusement park. Because of its long
Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm currently claims to be "America's First
Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm is now owned by Cedar Fair
Lake Compounce in Bristol,
Connecticut 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 in 1935 and included
Santa's Candy Castle 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 in 1984) opened in 1946
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana 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 near Branson, Missouri. 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. The park is still owned and operated
by the Herschends and the family has several other parks including
Celebration City and Wild Adventures.
The first regional amusement park, as well as the first Six Flags
Six Flags over Texas was officially opened in 1961 in 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 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 park, Six Flags
Over Georgia, opened, and in 1971,
Six Flags Over Mid-America (now Six
Flags St. Louis) opened near St. Louis, Missouri. Also in 1971 was the
opening of the
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World resort complex in Florida, with the
Magic Kingdom (1971),
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios (1989)
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom (1998).
Admission prices and admission policies
Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom's in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
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
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). 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 but four
tickets to ride a 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.
Melbourne Luna Park
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 now-famous "E-ticket", which was used on the
biggest and most elaborate rides, like Space Mountain. Smaller tickets
could be traded up for use on larger rides (i.e., two or three
A-tickets would equal a single B-ticket). Disneyland, as well as the
Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, abandoned this practice in 1982.
The advantages of pay-as-you-go include the following:
guests pay for only what they choose to experience, allowing them to
visit the park for a short periods of time (whereas guests who get day
passes in "Pay-one-price" are generally compelled to spend hours to
make the most of the cost)
attraction costs can be changed easily to encourage use or capitalize
best suited to parks located in areas with high pedestrian traffic and
surrounded by competing points-of-interest (i.e. shopping arcade or
theatre not operated by the park) and/or natural attractions, that
make it hard to charge an admission fee. For instance, Centreville
Amusement Park was one of the numerous attractions on the Toronto
Islands alongside beaches and boating clubs, and its pay-as-you-go
fare scheme was suited its guests who usually spent only 1–2 hours
at the park. For amusement parks inside shopping centers such as the
West Edmonton Mall's Galaxyland, where amusement attractions exist
alongside stores, pedestrian traffic consists of both shoppers and
park guests, so it may not be practical to segregate the park premises
and charge an admission fee.
The disadvantages of pay-as-you-go include the following:
guests may get tired of spending money almost continuously
guests may not spend as much on food or souvenirs
results in high volumes of low-spending guests, and the resultant low
profit margins are only sufficient for mature amusement parks that are
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
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 Skycoasters or go-kart tracks, or games of skill where
prizes are won.
When Angus Wynne, founder of
Six Flags Over Texas, first visited
Disneyland in 1959, 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.
The advantages of pay-one-price include
lower costs for the park operators, since ticket-takers are not needed
at each attraction.
guests need not worry about spending money continuously on
attractions, so they may spend more money on food and souvenirs.
more predictable price to offer guests since upfront cost is known.
better suited to amusement parks located in the suburbs or rural
areas, with the park often as the only attraction there, which allows
for a more captive audience to charge higher admission fees.
the higher profit margins, in turn, allow the park to add new
The disadvantages of pay-one-price include:
price may be unattractive for guests who just visit the park to be
with their families or use only few attractions.
guests are generally compelled to spend hours in order to make the
most of the cost of a day pass, pricing is geared towards guests
making a full day excursion rather than a short visit.
Rides and attractions
Minimum height requirement sign
Mechanized thrill machines are a defining feature of amusement parks.
Early rides include the carousel, which originally developed from
cavalry training methods first used in the Middle Ages. 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. 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,
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 rides 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
Rameses Revenge at Chessington World of Adventures, Greater London, is
a Huss Top Spin ride and was the first of its kind to feature a water
Flat rides 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 rides which most amusement parks have,
including the enterprise, tilt-a-whirl, gravitron, 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 specialise in creating flat
rides among other amusement attractions.
Main article: Roller coaster
Roller coasters, such as Behemoth at Canada's Wonderland, have fast
and steep drops from high altitudes
Amusement parks often feature multiple roller coasters of primarily
timber 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 loops) which turn the riders upside
down. Over the years there have been many roller coaster manufactures
with a variety of types of roller coasters.
Popular manufactures today include:
Bolliger & Mabillard
Great Coasters International
Rocky Mountain Construction
Main article: Train ride
3 ft (914 mm) gauge
Six Flags & Texas Railroad in
operation in 2007
Amusement park railroads 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 trolleys, 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 in Pennsylvania, were referred to as
trolley parks. The earliest park trains that only operated on lines
within the park's boundaries, such as the one on the Zephyr Railroad
in Dorney Park, were mostly custom-built. Also, amusement park
railroads tend to be narrow gauge, meaning the space between their
rails is smaller than that of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in
(1,435 mm) standard gauge railroads. Some specific narrow gauges
that are common on amusement park railroads are 3 ft
(914 mm) gauge, 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge,
2 ft (610 mm), and 15 in (381 mm) gauge.
Past and present manufacturers include:
Allan Herschell Company
Brookville Equipment Corporation
Crown Metal Products
Doppelmayr Garaventa Group
Hurlbut Amusement Co.
Miniature Train Co. (MTC)
National Amusement Devices Co. (NAD)
Tampa Metal Products
Train Rides Unlimited
Main article: Water ride
Amusement parks with water resources generally feature a few water
rides, such as the log flume, bumper boats, 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
Main article: Dark ride
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.
Main article: Ferris wheel
Ferris wheels are the most common type of amusement ride at state
fairs in the US.
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
chairlifts, monorails, aerial trams, and escalators.
Ocean Park Hong Kong
Ocean Park Hong Kong is well known for its 1.5-kilometre (0.9 mi)
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.
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Amusement Park Industry: A History of Technology and Thrills. Boston:
Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-9821-8.
^ "Lake Compounce: North America's Oldest Continuously Operating
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