An Amusement Park

by Larissa Katiukha

An amusement parkis a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. Atheme parkis 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 mobilefunfairs and carnivals, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting operation. They are more elaborate than city parks andplaygrounds, 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 gardensand largepicnic areas, which were created for people'srecreation.World's fairsand other types of international expositions also influenced the emergence of the amusement park industry.The first theme parks emerged in the mid-twentieth century with the opening ofSanta Claus Landin 1946 and the popular Disneyland theme park in 1955.

The first permanentenclosed entertainment area, regulated by a single company, was founded in Coney Island in 1895:Sea Lion Park at Coney Islandin 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.

Rides and attractions

Mechanized thrill machines are a defining feature of amusement parks. Early rides include thecarousel, (which originally developed from cavalry training methods first used in theMiddle 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 asRussian 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 foramusement ridesand 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 contain a mixture of attractions which can be divided into several categories.

Flat rides

Flat ridesare usually considered to be those that move their passengers in a plane generally parallel to the ground.

There is a core set offlat rideswhich most amusement parks have, including theenterprise,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.

Roller coasters

Roller coasters, such as Behemoth at Canada's Wonderland, have fast and steep dropsfrom 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 asvertical 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.

Train rides

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 weretrolleys, 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 astrolley parks.

The earliest park trains that only operated on lines within the park's boundaries, such as the one on theZephyr Railroad in Dorney Park, were mostly custom-built.) Also, amusement park railroads tend to benarrow gauge, meaning the space between their rails is smaller than that of 4 ft 81⁄2 in(1,435 mm) standard gaugerailroads.

Water rides

Amusement parks with water resources generally feature a few water rides, such as the log flume, bumper boats,rapidsand 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 ofamusement ride at state fairsin 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 includechairlifts,monorails,aerial trams, and escalators.


  1. What is an amusement park?
  2. What is a theme park?
  3. How are amusement parks different from other parks?
  4. When did the first amusement parks appear? What influenced their emergence?
  5. Where was the first enclosed entertainment area founded?
  6. What rides or mechanized thrill machines shaped the amusement park?
  7. How did Russian Mountains look like?
  8. What did the Columbian Exposition feature?
  9. What are flat rides?
  10. What does a roller-coaster look like?
  11. What is the difference between amusement park railroads and standard railroads?
  12. What are different kinds of water rides?
  13. What do dark rides feature?
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