Amusement park
Overview
 

Amusement and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment
Entertainment
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...

 attractions and rides and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people. An amusement park is more elaborate than a simple city park or playground
Playground
A playground or play area is a place with a specific design for children be able to play there. It may be indoors but is typically outdoors...

, usually providing attractions meant to cater to children, teenagers, and adults.

Amusement parks evolved in Europe from fairs and pleasure gardens
Pleasure gardens
A pleasure garden is usually a garden that is open to the public for recreation. They differ from other public gardens in that they serve as venues for entertainment, variously featuring concert halls or bandstands, rides, zoos, and menageries.-History:...

 which were created for people's recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

.
Encyclopedia

Amusement and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment
Entertainment
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...

 attractions and rides and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people. An amusement park is more elaborate than a simple city park or playground
Playground
A playground or play area is a place with a specific design for children be able to play there. It may be indoors but is typically outdoors...

, usually providing attractions meant to cater to children, teenagers, and adults.

Amusement parks evolved in Europe from fairs and pleasure gardens
Pleasure gardens
A pleasure garden is usually a garden that is open to the public for recreation. They differ from other public gardens in that they serve as venues for entertainment, variously featuring concert halls or bandstands, rides, zoos, and menageries.-History:...

 which were created for people's recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

. The oldest amusement park in the world (opened 1583) is Bakken
Dyrehavsbakken
Dyrehavsbakken , commonly referred to as Bakken , is the world's oldest operating amusement park. It is located near Klampenborg but belongs under Lyngby-Taarbæk Kommune, Denmark about 10 km north of Copenhagen...

, at Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. In the United States, world's fairs and expositions were another influence on development of the amusement park industry.

Most amusement parks have a fixed location, as compared to traveling funfairs and carnivals. These temporary types of amusement parks are usually present for a few days or weeks per year, such as funfairs in the United Kingdom, and carnivals (temporarily set up in a vacant lot or parking lot
Parking lot
A parking lot , also known as car lot, is a cleared area that is intended for parking vehicles. Usually, the term refers to a dedicated area that has been provided with a durable or semi-durable surface....

s) and fairs (temporarily operated in a fair ground
Fair Ground
Fair Ground is a Canadian Rock band.Fair Ground was formed by Canadian guitarists Pete Lesperance and Mike Turner, of the bands Harem Scarem and Our Lady Peace, respectively...

) in the United States. The temporary nature of these fairs helps to convey the feeling that people are in a different place or time.

In common language, theme park is often used as a synonym for the term 'amusement park'. A 'theme park' is actually a distinct style of amusement park, for a theme park has landscaping, buildings, and attractions that are based on one or more specific or central themes. A plurality of themes are not required to be considered a 'Theme' park. Despite the long history of amusement parks, where many parks have traditionally incorporated themes into the evolving design and operation of the park, qualifying a park as a theme park, the first park built with the original intension of promoting a specific (or exclusive set of) theme(s), Santa Claus Land
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is a family owned and operated combination theme park and water park, located near Interstate 64 and U.S. 231 in Santa Claus, Indiana, USA. The theme park is divided into four sections that celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July with...

 (currently known as Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is a family owned and operated combination theme park and water park, located near Interstate 64 and U.S. 231 in Santa Claus, Indiana, USA. The theme park is divided into four sections that celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July with...

) located in Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus is a town in Carter, Clay and Harrison townships, Spencer County in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Indiana, between Interstate 64 and the Ohio River. The population was 2,041 at the 2000 census.Santa Claus was established in 1854...

, did not open until 1946. Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California
Anaheim, California
Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was about 365,463, making it the most populated city in Orange County, the 10th most-populated city in California, and ranked 54th in the United States...

, built around the concept of encapsulating multiple theme parks into a single amusement park is often mistakenly noted as the first themed amusement park.

Fairs and pleasure gardens

Periodic fairs, such as the Bartholomew Fair
Bartholomew Fair
Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedy is a comedy in five acts by Ben Jonson, the last written of his four great comedies. It was first staged on October 31, 1614 at the Hope Theatre by the Lady Elizabeth's Men...

 which began in England in 1543, are a parent for the modern amusement park. Beginning in the Elizabethan period the fair had evolved into a center of amusement with entertainment, food, games, and carnival-like freak-show attractions. The seasonal celebration was a natural place for development of amusement attractions. Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest, or Wiesn, is a 16–18 day beer festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world's largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The...

 is not only a beer festival but also provided amusement park features beginning in 1810, when the first event was held in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. In the United States, the county and state fair
State fair
A state fair is a competitive and recreational gathering of a U.S. state's population. It is a larger version of a county fair, often including only exhibits or competitors that have won in their categories at the more-local county fairs....

s also played a part in the history of amusement parks. These were annual events that were usually held for a short time, a week or two, to celebrate a good harvest. These fairs featured livestock exhibits, baking and cooking competitions.

Amusement parks also grew out of the pleasure gardens that became especially popular at the beginning of the Industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 as an area where one could escape from the grim urban environment. The oldest intact still-surviving amusement park in the world (opened 1583) is Bakken
Dyrehavsbakken
Dyrehavsbakken , commonly referred to as Bakken , is the world's oldest operating amusement park. It is located near Klampenborg but belongs under Lyngby-Taarbæk Kommune, Denmark about 10 km north of Copenhagen...

 ("The Hill") at Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. The most well known of the parks in London, was Vauxhall Gardens
Vauxhall Gardens
Vauxhall Gardens was a pleasure garden, one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London, England from the mid 17th century to the mid 19th century. Originally known as New Spring Gardens, the site was believed to have opened before the Restoration of 1660 with the first mention being...

 founded in 1661 and closed in 1859. Another long-standing park is Prater
Prater
The Wiener Prater is a large public park in Vienna's 2nd district . The amusement park, often simply called "Prater", stands in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the .-Name:...

 in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, which opened in 1766. This park was conceived as a place where the common person could enjoy a respite in a pastoral setting and participate in the musical culture of the city. Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens is a famous amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg....

 is another example of a European park, dating from 1843, which still exists. These parks consisted of booths, entertainment, fireworks displays and some “rides” such as introduction to the modern railroad. The parks grew to accommodate the expectations of their customers—who were increasingly familiar with the mechanical wonders of industrialization. Rides became a required part of the pleasure garden and by 1896 there were 65 such pleasure parks in London.

Another type of fair is the exposition or world’s fair. World's fairs 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 (of which Britain just so happened to be the leader). America cities and business saw the world’s fair as a way of demonstrating economic and industrial success. People particularly point to the World's Columbian Exposition
World's Columbian Exposition
The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Chicago bested New York City; Washington, D.C.; and St...

 of 1893 in Chicago, Illinois as an early precursor to the modern amusement park. This 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 imagination of the visitors and of amusement parks around the world, such as the first steel Ferris wheel
Ferris wheel
A Ferris wheel is a nonbuilding structure consisting of a rotating upright wheel with passenger cars attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, the cars are kept upright, usually by gravity.Some of the largest and most modern Ferris wheels have cars mounted on...

, which was found in many other amusement areas, such as the Prater
Prater
The Wiener Prater is a large public park in Vienna's 2nd district . The amusement park, often simply called "Prater", stands in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the .-Name:...

 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. Certainly the precursor of the amusement park experience to come.

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
Carnival game
A carnival game is a game of chance or skill that can be seen at a traveling carnival, charity fund raiser, amusement park, or on a state and county fair midway....

, penny arcades, games of chance and shows.

Trolley parks, Atlantic City, and Coney Island

In the final decade of the 19th century, the electric trolley lines were developed in most of the larger American cities. Companies that established the trolley lines were directly responsible for establishing amusement parks -- trolley park
Trolley park
In the United States, trolley parks, which started in the 19th century, were picnic and recreation areas along or at the ends of streetcar lines in most of the larger cities. These were precursors to amusement parks. These trolley parks were created by the streetcar companies to give people a...

s -- as destinations of these lines. Trolley parks like Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Park, or Reading's
Reading, Pennsylvania
Reading is a city in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA, and seat of Berks County. Reading is the principal city of the Greater Reading Area and had a population of 88,082 as of the 2010 census, making it the fifth most populated city in the state after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Erie,...

 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, boats rides, restaurants and other resort facilities. Various sources report the existence of between 1500 and 2000 amusement parks in the United States by 1919.

Some of these parks were developed in resort
Resort
A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for holidays or vacations. Resorts are places, towns or sometimes commercial establishment operated by a single company....

 locations, such as bathing resorts at the seaside in New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 and New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. A premiere example in New Jersey was Atlantic City, a then famed bathing resort. Enterprisers erected amusement parks on piers that extended from the boardwalk out over the ocean. The first of several was Ocean Pier in 1891, followed later by Steel Pier
Steel Pier
Steel Pier is a amusement pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey, located opposite The Boardwalk from Trump Taj Mahal.The pier was owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts until 2011, when it was sold to the Catanoso Family under the "Steel Pier Associates, LLC" name. The Catanosos previously leased the...

 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
Ferris Wheel
The original Ferris Wheel, sometimes also referred to as the Chicago Wheel, was the centerpiece of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois....

. Somers installed two others in Asbury Park and Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

.

Other such parks were found along rivers and lakes that provided bathing and water sports such as Riverside Park
Six Flags New England
Six Flags New England , formerly Riverside Amusement Park, is a Six Flags theme park, named for the New England region, in which it is located. Located off of Massachusetts State Route 159, Six Flags New England is located less than from the major City of Springfield, Massachusetts, in the nearby...

 in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, which was founded along the Connecticut River
Connecticut River
The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

 in the 1840s, and Lake Compounce
Lake Compounce
Lake Compounce is an amusement park located in Bristol, Connecticut, United States and a part of the neighboring town of Southington, Connecticut; the lake itself lies completely in Southington. It is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America, having operated every year...

 in Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, first established as a bathing beach in 1846.

Another such location was Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

 in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York, where 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 reached Coney Island. Hotels and amusements were built to accommodate both the upper-classes and the working-class. The first carousel
Carousel
A carousel , or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders...

 was installed in the 1870s, the first roller coaster
Roller coaster
The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first coasters on January 20, 1885...

, the "Switchback Railway
Switchback railway
The original Switchback Railway at Coney Island was the first roller coaster designed as an amusement ride in America. It was designed by LaMarcus Adna Thompson in 1881 and constructed in 1884. It appears Thompson based his design, at least in part, on the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway which was a...

", in 1884. It was not until 1895 that the first permanent amusement park in North America opened: Sea Lion Park
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 park, amusement areas around the country consisted...

 at Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

 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
Steeplechase Park was an amusement park in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York from 1897 to 1964. It was one of the leading attractions of its day and one of the most influential amusement parks of all time.-Beginnings:...

, the first of three major amusement parks that would open in the Coney Island area. George Tilyou designed the park to provide thrills and sweep away the restraints of the Victorian crowds. The combination of the nearby population center of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and the ease of access to the area made Coney Island the embodiment of the American amusement park. Often, it is Steeplechase Park that comes to mind when one generically thinks of the heyday of Coney Island, but there was also Luna Park
Luna Park, Coney Island
Luna Park was an amusement park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City from 1903 to 1944. A second Luna Park was opened on the former site of the nearby Astroland amusement park...

 (opened in 1903), and Dreamland
Dreamland (amusement park)
Dreamland was an ambitious amusement park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City from 1904 to 1911. It contained primarily freak shows.- History :Created by a Tammany Hall-connected businessman William H...

 (opened in 1904). Coney Island was a huge success and by year 1910 attendance on a Sunday could reach a million people. Fueled by the efforts of Frederick Ingersoll
Frederick Ingersoll
Frederick Ingersoll was an inventor, designer, and builder who created the world's first chain of amusement parks and whose manufacturing company built 277 roller coasters, fueling the popularity of trolley parks in the first third of the Twentieth Century...

, other "Luna Parks" (starting with ones in Pittsburgh
Luna Park, Pittsburgh
Luna Park was an amusement park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, from 1905 to 1909. Constructed and owned by Frederick Ingersoll, the park occupied a 16 acre hilly site bounded by Baum Boulevard, North Craig Street, and Centre Avenue, and included roller coasters, picnic pavilions, carousels, a...

 and Cleveland
Luna Park, Cleveland
Luna Park was an amusement park in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, from 1905 to 1929. Constructed by Frederick Ingersoll, the park occupied a hilly site bounded by Woodland Avenue, Woodhill, Mt...

 in 1905) were quickly erected worldwide and opened to rave reviews.

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
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

) before his death in 1927.

The Golden Age

During the Gilded Age
Gilded Age
In United States history, the Gilded Age refers to the era of rapid economic and population growth in the United States during the post–Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras of the late 19th century. The term "Gilded Age" was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their book The Gilded...

, 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 reflected the mechanization and efficiency of industrialization while serving 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 (established at the end of the trolley line by enterprising streetcar companies) 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
Giant Swing
The Giant Swing is a religious structure in Bangkok, Thailand, Phra Nakhon district, located in front of Wat Suthat temple. It was formerly used an old Brahmin ceremony, and is one of Bangkok's tourist attractions.-History:...

, Carousel
Carousel
A carousel , or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders...

, and Shoot-the-Chutes
Shoot-the-Chutes
Shoot-the-Chutes is an amusement ride consisting of a flat-bottomed boat that slides down a ramp or inside a flume into a lagoon. Unlike a log flume, a Shoot-the-Chutes generally has larger boats and one single drop....

. These amusement parks were often based on nationally-known parks or world's fairs: they had names like Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

, White City, Luna Park
Luna Park, Coney Island
Luna Park was an amusement park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City from 1903 to 1944. A second Luna Park was opened on the former site of the nearby Astroland amusement park...

, or Dreamland
Dreamland (amusement park)
Dreamland was an ambitious amusement park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City from 1904 to 1911. It contained primarily freak shows.- History :Created by a Tammany Hall-connected businessman William H...

. 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 encouraged 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 the 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 of these rides.

Depression and post-World War II decline

The Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of the 1930s and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 during the 1940s saw the decline of the amusement park industry. War saw the affluent urban population 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
Urban decay is the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude...

, crime
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

, and even desegregation
Desegregation
Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in...

 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 living and development. In 1964, Steeplechase Park
Steeplechase Park
Steeplechase Park was an amusement park in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York from 1897 to 1964. It was one of the leading attractions of its day and one of the most influential amusement parks of all time.-Beginnings:...

, once the king of all amusement parks, closed down for good. The traditional amusement parks which survived, for example, Kennywood
Kennywood
Kennywood is an amusement park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The park first opened in 1898 as a "trolley park" at the end of the Monongahela Street Railway. The park was purchased in 1906 by F. W. Henninger and Andrew McSwigan and thus began the Kennywood...

, in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
West Mifflin is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, located southeast of downtown Pittsburgh. The population was 20,313 at the 2010 census....

, and Cedar Point
Cedar Point
Cedar Point is a 364 acre amusement park located in Sandusky, Ohio, United States on a narrow peninsula jutting into Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the only amusement park with four roller coasters that are taller than...

, in Sandusky, Ohio
Sandusky, Ohio
Sandusky is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Erie County. It is located in northern Ohio and is situated on the shores of Lake Erie, almost exactly half-way between Toledo to the west and Cleveland to the east....

, did so in spite of the odds.

The modern amusement park

First parks devoted to a particular theme are precursors for the modern amusement park. The Blackgang Chine
Blackgang Chine
Blackgang Chine is the location of a now-destroyed chine in the soft Cretaceous cliffs about 6 miles from Ventnor at the southern tip of the Isle of Wight just below St Catherine's Down. Since 1843 it has been home to the Blackgang Chine amusement park, run by the Dabell family who also run the...

 amusement park, established in 1843 by Victorian entrepreneur Alexander Dabell, on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

, UK can be considered the oldest existing theme park in the world. The first amusement park on Coney Island, Sea Lion Park
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 park, amusement areas around the country consisted...

 was built around a nautical theme.

Modern amusement parks now run differently than those of years past. Amusement parks are usually owned by a large corporate conglomerate which allows capital investment unknown by the traditional family-owned parks. Starting with Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Anaheim)
Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be...

 in the 1950s, the park experience became part of a larger package, reflected in a television show, movies, lunch boxes, action figures and finally park rides and costumed characters that make up the "theme." These parks offer an ideal world that serves as an escape from the daily grind. The thrills of the theme parks are often obscured from the outside by high fences or barriers re-enforcing the feeling of escape, they are kept clean and new thrill rides are frequently added to keep people coming back. In addition to this experience, the theme park is either based on a central theme or, divided into several distinctly themed areas, lands or "spaces." Large resorts, such as Walt Disney World in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 (United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

), actually house several different theme parks within their confines.

Today, central Florida
Central Florida
Central Florida is a regional designation for the area surrounding Orlando in east central Florida, United States. The area represents the third largest population concentration in Florida, after the South Florida and Tampa Bay regions, respectively....

 and most notably Orlando
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

 boasts more theme parks than any other worldwide destination. The northeastern USA region, most notably Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, is now a hotbed of traditional surviving amusement parks. In its truest traditional form is Conneaut Lake Park
Conneaut Lake Park
Conneaut Lake Park is a summer amusement resort, located in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, USA. It has long served as a regional tourist destination, and is loved by roller coaster enthusiasts for its classic Blue Streak coaster, which was recently classified as "historic" by the group American...

 in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania
Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania
Conneaut Lake is a borough in Crawford County, Pennsylvania at the southern end of a lake with the same name. The population was 708 at the 2000 census.-History:...

. Others include Hersheypark
Hersheypark
Hersheypark is an amusement park located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, near the Hershey Chocolate Factory.Hersheypark was opened on April 24, 1907 as a leisure park for the employees of the Hershey Chocolate Company, an American confectionery company. Later, the company decided to open the park to the...

 in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hershey is a census-designated place in Derry Township, Dauphin County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The community is located 14 miles east of Harrisburg and is part of the Harrisburg–Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area. Hershey has no legal status as an incorporated municipality...

, Knoebels Groves in Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Elysburg is a census-designated place in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,067 at the 2000 census. The area's biggest attraction is Knoebels Amusement Park, which has two wooden roller coasters.-Demographics:...

; Kennywood
Kennywood
Kennywood is an amusement park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The park first opened in 1898 as a "trolley park" at the end of the Monongahela Street Railway. The park was purchased in 1906 by F. W. Henninger and Andrew McSwigan and thus began the Kennywood...

 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
West Mifflin is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, located southeast of downtown Pittsburgh. The population was 20,313 at the 2010 census....

; Idlewild Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania
Ligonier, Pennsylvania
Ligonier is a borough in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,695 at the 2000 census. Ligonier was settled in the 1760s. The borough is well known for nearby Idlewild Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country, and nearby Seven Springs Mountain Resort...

; Lakemont Park
Lakemont Park
Lakemont Park, located in Altoona, Pennsylvania, houses the world's oldest-surviving roller coaster, the Leap-The-Dips. The park opened in 1894 as a trolley park and became an amusement park in the summer of 1899. It is the 8th oldest in the United States...

 in Altoona, Pennsylvania
Altoona, Pennsylvania
-History:A major railroad town, Altoona was founded by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849 as the site for a shop complex. Altoona was incorporated as a borough on February 6, 1854, and as a city under legislation approved on April 3, 1867, and February 8, 1868...

; Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is an American amusement and water park located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The park features nine roller coasters, other adult and children's rides, and a waterpark, Wildwater Kingdom....

 in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Allentown is a city located in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is Pennsylvania's third most populous city, after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the 215th largest city in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 118,032 and is currently...

; Waldameer Park
Waldameer Park
Waldameer Park and Water World is an amusement / water park in Erie, Pennsylvania located at the base of Presque Isle. Waldameer is the fourth oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania, and the tenth oldest in the United States. The park is admission-free, with a busy midway, well-appointed grounds,...

 in Erie, Pennsylvania
Erie, Pennsylvania
Erie is a city located in northwestern Pennsylvania in the United States. Named for the lake and the Native American tribe that resided along its southern shore, Erie is the state's fourth-largest city , with a population of 102,000...

; and DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton, Pennsylvania
Tipton, Pennsylvania
Tipton is a census-designated place in Blair County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,225 at the 2000 census. It is well known for its amusement park, DelGrosso's, formerly known as Bland's Park...

.

Educational theme parks

Other parks use outdoor attractions for educational purposes. Epcot
Epcot
Epcot is a theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort, located near Orlando, Florida. The park is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely international culture and technological innovation. The second park built at the resort, it opened on October 1, 1982 and was initially named...

 center is well known, but there are also Holy Land USA
Holy Land USA
Holy Land USA was an theme park in Waterbury, Connecticut, inspired by selected passages from the Bible. It consists of a chapel, stations of the cross and replicas of catacombs and Israelite villages constructed from cinder blocks, bathtubs, and other discards...

 and the Holy Land Experience
Holy Land Experience
The Holy Land Experience is a themed exhibit and a museum located in Orlando, Florida that is meant to replicate the architecture and themes of 1st century Israel. The attraction is targeted at Christians.- Founding :...

 are theme parks built to inspire Christian piety, Dinosaur World
Dinosaur World (Florida)
Dinosaur World is the name of three outdoor dinosaur theme parks. Locations include Plant City, Florida, Glen Rose, Texas, and Cave City, Kentucky. The parks features over 150 life-size dinosaur sculptures created by Christer Svensson...

 entertains families with dinosaurs in natural settings.

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
Knott's Berry Farm is a theme park in Buena Park, California, now owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, and a line of jams, jellies, preserves, and other specialty food, now part of The J. M. Smucker Company based in Placentia, California....

. In the 1920s, Walter Knott
Walter Knott
Walter Marvin Knott was an American farmer who created the Knott's Berry Farm amusement park in California....

 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
Calico, California
Calico is a ghost town and former mining town in San Bernardino County, California, United States. Located in the Calico Mountains of the Mojave Desert region of Southern California, it was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, and today has been converted into a county park. Located off...

 ghost town and Prescott, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona
Prescott is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, USA. It was designated "Arizona's Christmas City" by Arizona Governor Rose Mofford in the late 1980s....

. 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 history, Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm is a theme park in Buena Park, California, now owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, and a line of jams, jellies, preserves, and other specialty food, now part of The J. M. Smucker Company based in Placentia, California....

 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
Lake Compounce is an amusement park located in Bristol, Connecticut, United States and a part of the neighboring town of Southington, Connecticut; the lake itself lies completely in Southington. It is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America, having operated every year...

 in Bristol, Connecticut
Bristol, Connecticut
Bristol is a suburban city located in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States southwest of Hartford. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 61,353. Bristol is primarily known as the home of ESPN, whose central studios are in the city. Bristol is also home to...

 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, Indiana
Santa Claus is a town in Carter, Clay and Harrison townships, Spencer County in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Indiana, between Interstate 64 and the Ohio River. The population was 2,041 at the 2000 census.Santa Claus was established in 1854...

 in 1935 and included Santa's Candy Castle
Santa's Candy Castle
Santa's Candy Castle, located in Santa Claus, Indiana, is a tourist attraction that uses the traditions and decorations from Christmas as its 'theme'....

 and other Santa Claus-themed attractions, is considered the first themed attraction in the United States: a pre-cursor to the modern day theme park. Santa Claus Land (renamed Holiday World
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is a family owned and operated combination theme park and water park, located near Interstate 64 and U.S. 231 in Santa Claus, Indiana, USA. The theme park is divided into four sections that celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July with...

 in 1984) opened in 1946 in Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus is a town in Carter, Clay and Harrison townships, Spencer County in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Indiana, between Interstate 64 and the Ohio River. The population was 2,041 at the 2000 census.Santa Claus was established in 1854...

 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
Marvel Cave is a National Natural Landmark located just west of Branson, Missouri, on top of Roark Mountain in Stone County. The cave was known by the Osage Indians in the early 16th century, after a tribe member fell through the cave's main entrance, a sinkhole. There is evidence that in 1541...

 near Branson, Missouri
Branson, Missouri
Branson is a city in Taney County in the U.S. state of Missouri. It was named after Reuben Branson, postmaster and operator of a general store in the area in the 1880s....

. 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
Silver Dollar City is a theme park in the state of Missouri. Opened on May 1, 1960, the park is located between Branson and Branson West, Missouri, on Highway 76...

. The park is still owned and operated by the Herschends and the family has several other parks including Dollywood
Dollywood
Dollywood is a theme park owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. It is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dollywood has 3,000 people on its payroll, making it the largest employer in that community....

, Celebration City
Celebration City
Celebration City was a "night-time theme park" located in Branson, Missouri, USA. Celebration City was themed after America in the 20th century, with areas based on Route 66, Small-town America in the 1900s, and a beachside boardwalk in the 1920s...

 and Wild Adventures
Wild Adventures
Wild Adventures Water & Theme Park is located from Valdosta, Georgia, United States. It is owned by Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. The park features approximately 59 rides and attractions, including eight roller coasters, hundreds of exotic animals, shows, Splash Island water park and...

.

Other theme parks include: Children's Fairyland
Children's Fairyland
Children's Fairyland, U.S.A. was the first theme park in the United States created to cater to families with young children. Located in Oakland, California on the shore of Lake Merritt, Fairyland includes 10 acres of play sets, small rides, and animals...

 opened in 1950 in Oakland, California
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

. Another variation of the theme park were the animal theme park
Animal Theme Park
An Animal Theme Park, also known as a Zoological Theme Park, is a combination of a theme park and a zoological park, mainly for entertainment, amusement, and commercial purposes. Many animal theme parks blend classic theme park elements, such as themed entertainment and amusement rides, with...

s that reintroduced the concept of Sea Lion Park
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 park, amusement areas around the country consisted...

 such as Marineland of the Pacific
Marineland of the Pacific
Marineland of the Pacific was a public oceanarium and tourist attraction located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula coast in Los Angeles County, California, USA. Architect William Pereira designed the main structure. It was also known as Hanna-Barbera's Marineland during the late 1970s and early 1980s...

 which opened in 1954 which paved the way for SeaWorld
SeaWorld
SeaWorld is a United States chain of marine mammal parks, oceanariums, and animal theme parks owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. The parks feature captive orca, sea lion, and dolphin shows and zoological displays featuring various other marine animals. There are operations in Orlando,...

 parks which eventually added thrill rides.

Disneyland and the corporate-owned park

Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

, however, is often credited with having originated the concept of the themed amusement park, although he was influenced by Knotts Berry Farm owned by Walter Knott (at the time owner of Calico Ghost town) who brought buildings from Calico to increase business at his berry stand located in nearby Buena Park, CA
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, as well as Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens is a famous amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg....

 in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

. Disney took these influences and melded them with the popular Disney animated characters and his unique vision, and "Disneyland" was born. Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Anaheim)
Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be...

 officially opened in Anaheim, California
Anaheim, California
Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was about 365,463, making it the most populated city in Orange County, the 10th most-populated city in California, and ranked 54th in the United States...

 in 1955 and changed the amusement industry forever. Key to the design process of Disney's new park was the replacement of architects with art directors from the film industry.

The years in which Disneyland opened were a sort of stopgap period for the amusement park industry, as many of the older, traditional amusement parks had already closed and many were close to closing their doors. Cedar Point
Cedar Point
Cedar Point is a 364 acre amusement park located in Sandusky, Ohio, United States on a narrow peninsula jutting into Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the only amusement park with four roller coasters that are taller than...

 was set to be torn down in the 1950s when local businesspeople were intrigued by the success of Disneyland and saved it from destruction. Other parks were not as lucky, with Steeplechase Park
Steeplechase Park
Steeplechase Park was an amusement park in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York from 1897 to 1964. It was one of the leading attractions of its day and one of the most influential amusement parks of all time.-Beginnings:...

 at Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

 closing in 1964; Riverview Park, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, closed in 1967. Some traditional parks were able to borrow a page from Disneyland and use television to its advantage, such as Kennywood
Kennywood
Kennywood is an amusement park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The park first opened in 1898 as a "trolley park" at the end of the Monongahela Street Railway. The park was purchased in 1906 by F. W. Henninger and Andrew McSwigan and thus began the Kennywood...

, a park started in 1898 and continuing to operate to the present which used television advertising and featured television personalities at the park.

The first regional theme park, as well as the first Six Flags
Six Flags
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the world's largest amusement park corporation based on quantity of properties and the fifth most popular in terms of attendance. The company maintains 14 properties located throughout North America, including theme parks, thrill parks, water parks and family...

 park, Six Flags over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas is a major amusement park located in Arlington, Texas , east of Fort Worth and about west of Dallas. It is the oldest park of the Six Flags chain. The park opened on August 5, 1961 following just a year of construction and an initial investment of US$10 million by real estate...

 was officially opened in 1961 in Arlington, Texas
Arlington, Texas
Arlington is a city in Tarrant County, Texas within the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area. According to the 2010 census results, the city had a population of 365,438, making it the third largest municipality in the Metroplex...

 near Dallas. The first Six Flags theme park was the vision of Angus Wynne, Jr. and helped create the modern, competitive theme park industry. By 1968, the second Six Flags
Six Flags
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the world's largest amusement park corporation based on quantity of properties and the fifth most popular in terms of attendance. The company maintains 14 properties located throughout North America, including theme parks, thrill parks, water parks and family...

 park, Six Flags Over Georgia
Six Flags Over Georgia
Six Flags Over Georgia is a theme park located west of Atlanta, in unincorporated Cobb County. Opened in 1967, it is the second park in the Six Flags chain, after the original opening in 1961 in Texas....

, opened, and in 1971, Six Flags Over Mid-America (now Six Flags St. Louis
Six Flags St. Louis
Six Flags St. Louis , is an amusement park owned by Six Flags, Inc. It is located in Eureka, Missouri, USA . Opened in 1971 as the third theme park of the Six Flags chain, this was the last park that was built under the Six Flags name...

) opened near St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. Also in 1971 was the opening of the Walt Disney World resort complex in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, which is still the largest theme park and resort complex in the world with the Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom Park is one of four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort located near Orlando, Florida. The first park built at the resort, Magic Kingdom opened Oct. 1, 1971. Designed and built by WED Enterprises, the park's layout and attractions are similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, California...

 (1971), Epcot
Epcot
Epcot is a theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort, located near Orlando, Florida. The park is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely international culture and technological innovation. The second park built at the resort, it opened on October 1, 1982 and was initially named...

 (1982), Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. Spanning 135 acres in size, its theme is show business, drawing inspiration from the heyday of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s...

 (1989) and Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom is an animal theme park located at the Walt Disney World Resort. The fourth park built at the resort, it opened on April 22, 1998, and it is the largest single Disney theme park in the world, covering more than . It is also the first Disney theme park to be themed entirely...

 (1998).

During the 1970s, the theme park industry started to mature as a combination of revitalized traditional amusement parks and new ventures funded by larger corporations emerged. Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain is a theme park located in Valencia, California north of Los Angeles. It opened on Memorial Day weekend on May 30, 1971 as Magic Mountain, by the Newhall Land and Farming Company. In 1979, Six Flags purchased the park and added the name Six Flags to the park's title. In...

 (now a Six Flags park) opened in Valencia, California
Valencia, California
Valencia is an affluent planned community located in the City of Santa Clarita, California and Los Angeles County, California, U.S. in the northwestern corner of the Santa Clarita Valley, adjacent to Interstate 5. In 1987, it was one of the four unincorporated communities that merged to create the...

. Regional parks such as Cedar Point
Cedar Point
Cedar Point is a 364 acre amusement park located in Sandusky, Ohio, United States on a narrow peninsula jutting into Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the only amusement park with four roller coasters that are taller than...

 and Kings Island
Kings Island
Kings Island is a amusement park located northeast of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. Opened in 1972 by Taft Broadcasting Company and now owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Kings Island is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the U.S...

, popular amusement parks in Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, moved towards the more modern theme park-concept as well as rotating new roller coasters and modern thrill rides. Also during the mid-1970s, Marriott Corporation built two identical theme parks named "Great America
Great America
Great America is a name shared by two American amusement parks opened by the Marriott Corporation in 1976.Both parks are now under different ownership and are known as:* California's Great America, Santa Clara, California, owned by Cedar Fair...

" in northern California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

. The former is now California's Great America and is owned by Cedar Fair, L.P., which now also owns Kings Island and Cedar Point; and the latter is now Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America is a Six Flags theme park in the Chicago metropolitan area, located in Gurnee, Illinois. It first opened in 1976 as Marriott's Great America. Six Flags purchased the park from the Marriott Corporation in 1984, making it the seventh park in the chain...

. Many theme parks were hit badly by the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and a number of planned theme parks were scrapped during this time. Most of today’s major amusement parks were built in the 1970s.

Perhaps the most indirect evolution of an attraction into a full-fledged theme park is that of Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is a movie studio and theme park in the unincorporated Universal City community of Los Angeles County, California, United States. It is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood movie studios still in use...

. Originally just a backlot tram ride tour of the actual studios in Hollywood, the train ride that started in 1964 slowly evolved into a larger attraction with a western stunt show in 1967, "The Parting of the Red Sea" in 1973, a look at props from the movie Jaws
Jaws (film)
Jaws is a 1975 American horror-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. In the story, the police chief of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a giant man-eating great white shark by closing the beach,...

in 1975, and the "Conan the Barbarian" show in 1984. By 1985, the modern era of the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park began with the "King Kong
King Kong
King Kong is a fictional character, a giant movie monster resembling a gorilla, that has appeared in several movies since 1933. These include the groundbreaking 1933 movie, the film remakes of 1976 and 2005, as well as various sequels of the first two films...

" ride and, in 1990, Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida is an American theme park located in Orlando, Florida. Opened on June 7, 1990, the park's theme is the entertainment industry, in particular movies and television. Universal Studios Florida inspires its guests to "ride the movies," and it features numerous attractions and...

 in Orlando
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

 opened. Universal Studios is now the third-largest theme park company in the world, behind Disney and Merlin.

Present and future of amusement parks

Since the 1980s, the amusement park industry has become larger than ever before, with everything from large, worldwide type theme parks such as Disneyworld and Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is a movie studio and theme park in the unincorporated Universal City community of Los Angeles County, California, United States. It is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood movie studios still in use...

 to smaller and medium-sized theme parks such as the Six Flags
Six Flags
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the world's largest amusement park corporation based on quantity of properties and the fifth most popular in terms of attendance. The company maintains 14 properties located throughout North America, including theme parks, thrill parks, water parks and family...

 parks and countless smaller ventures in many of the states of the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and in countries around the world. Even simpler theme parks directly aimed at smaller children have emerged, including Legoland
Legoland California
Legoland California is a theme park located in Carlsbad, California, focused on Lego bricks. It opened on March 20, 1999. It is the third Legoland park to open, and the first Legoland outside of Europe...

 opened in 1999 in Carlsbad, California
Carlsbad, California
-2010:The 2010 United States Census reported that Carlsbad had a population of 105,328. The population density was 2,693.1 people per square mile . The racial makeup of Carlsbad was 87,205 White, 1,379 African American, 514 Native American, 7,460 Asian, 198 Pacific Islander, 4,189 from other...

 (the first Legoland
Legoland Billund
Legoland Billund, the original Legoland park, opened in 1968 in Billund, Denmark. The Park is located next to the original Lego factory and Denmark's second busiest airport Billund Airport. 1.6 million guests visited the park in 2007 and over the years more than 40 million guests have been through...

 opened in 1968 in Billund, Denmark
Billund, Denmark
Billund is the second largest town in Billund Municipality, Region of Southern Denmark, Denmark with a population of 6,139 .-Overview:...

). The only limit to future theme park ventures is one's imagination.

Amusement parks in shopping malls began in the 1990s, blending traditional amusement park entertainments—roller coasters, water parks, carousels, and live entertainment—with hotels, movie theaters, and shopping facilities. Examples of giant mall parks are West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall , located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the largest shopping mall in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959. It was the world's largest mall until 2004.West Edmonton Mall covers a gross...

, Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

; Pier 39
Pier 39
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, an interpretive center for the Marine Mammal Center, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of...

, San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

; Mall of America
Mall of America
The Mall of America, also called MOA and the Megamall, is a shopping mall located in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities, in the United States. It is located southeast of the junction of Interstate 494 and Minnesota State Highway 77, north of the Minnesota River and is across the...

, Bloomington
Bloomington, Minnesota
Bloomington is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota in Hennepin County. Located on the north bank of the Minnesota River above its confluence with the Mississippi River, Bloomington lies at the heart of the southern...

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

.

Amusement park owners are also aware of the need to satisfy their aging baby boomer
Baby boomer
A baby boomer is a person who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom and who grew up during the period between 1946 and 1964. The term "baby boomer" is sometimes used in a cultural context. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve broad consensus of a precise definition, even...

 customer base with more restaurants, landscaping, gardens and live entertainment. Kennywood
Kennywood
Kennywood is an amusement park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The park first opened in 1898 as a "trolley park" at the end of the Monongahela Street Railway. The park was purchased in 1906 by F. W. Henninger and Andrew McSwigan and thus began the Kennywood...

 has created in 1995 the "Lost Kennywood" area with classic rides that recall the possibly more tranquil times of the early twentieth century.
In 2001, Disney opened the Disney's California Adventure
Disney's California Adventure
Disney California Adventure, or simply California Adventure, is a theme park in Anaheim, California, adjacent to Disneyland Park and part of the larger Disneyland Resort. It opened on February 8, 2001 as Disney's California Adventure Park. The park is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and...

 which includes Paradise Pier
Paradise Pier
Paradise Pier is a themed "land" at Disney California Adventure, Disneyland's sister park, which are all part of the Disneyland Resort. Its appearance is based on that of Vicotian boardwalks that were once found along the coast of California. Despite its name and the presence of a nearby manmade...

, a recreation of the traditional seaside amusement park of yesteryear.

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.

The popularity of theme parks has led to the increase of theming -- "the use of an overarching theme, such as western, to create a holistic and integrated spatial organization of a consumer venue" -- in non-theme park venues. While theme restaurants, casinos, and other themed spaces lack the rides and other features of theme parks, they owe much to the legacy of the theme lands and spatial organization that became popular in theme parks.

For several years, there have been the emergence of a new type of theme parks, in which roller coasters are replaced by shows such as Médinat Alzahra in Tunisia and Puy du Fou
Puy du Fou
Le Puy du Fou is a historical theme park in Les Epesses in the heart of the Vendée region of Western France...

 in France (dealing with History).

Although domestic visitors still make up around 80 percent of admissions to theme and amusement parks, an aging population in the U.S. and a slowing economy in 2008 are forcing The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 and its competitors to seek their fortunes in emerging tourist markets such as in the Middle East and in China. The Walt Disney Company, accounts for around half of the total industry's revenue in the US as a result of more than 50 million adventure seekers pouring through the gates of its U.S.-based attractions each year.

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 this format, 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 coin
In the study of numismatics, tokens are coin-like objects used instead of coins. The field of tokens is part of exonumia. Tokens are used in place of coins and either have a denomination shown or implied by size, color or shape...

). 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
Carousel
A carousel , or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders...

 but four tickets to ride a roller coaster
Roller coaster
The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first coasters on January 20, 1885...

. The park may allow guests to purchase unlimited admissions to all attractions within the park. A wristband or pass is then shown at the attraction entrance to gain admission.

Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Anaheim)
Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be...

 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
E ticket
The phrase E ticket refers to an unusually interesting, thrilling or expensive experience. It derives from the admission ticket system used at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom theme parks before 1982, in which the E ticket admitted the bearer to the newest, most advanced, and/or most popular rides...

", which was used on the biggest and most elaborate rides, like Space Mountain
Space Mountain (Disneyland)
Space Mountain is a steel roller coaster attraction in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. After the success of the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain, the Imagineers made plans to build another on the United States West Coast. The ride opened on May 27, 1977, ten years after the...

. 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
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom Park is one of four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort located near Orlando, Florida. The first park built at the resort, Magic Kingdom opened Oct. 1, 1971. Designed and built by WED Enterprises, the park's layout and attractions are similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, California...

 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
  • attraction costs can be changed easily to encourage use or capitalize on popularity


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

Pay-one-price

An amusement park using the pay-one-price format will charge guests a single, large admission fee. The guest is then entitled to use all or more often almost all of the attractions in the park as often as they wish during their visit. The park usually has some attractions that are not included in the admission charge; these are called "up-charge attractions" and can include bungee jumping
Bungee jumping
Bungee jumping is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The tall structure is usually a fixed object, such as a building, bridge or crane; but it is also possible to jump from a movable object, such as a hot-air-balloon or helicopter, that...

 or go-kart tracks
Go-kart
thumb|A [[Kart racing|racing kart]] at the [[Commission Internationale de Karting|CIK-FIA]] European Championship 2008A go-kart is a small four-wheeled vehicle...

 or games of skill. However, the majority of the park's attractions are included in the admission cost.

The “pay-one-price” ticket was first used by George Tilyou at Steeplechase Park
Steeplechase Park
Steeplechase Park was an amusement park in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York from 1897 to 1964. It was one of the leading attractions of its day and one of the most influential amusement parks of all time.-Beginnings:...

, Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

 in 1897. The entrance fee was $0.25 for entrance to the 15 acres (60,702.9 m²) park and visitors could enjoy all of the attractions as much as they wanted.

When Angus Wynne, founder of Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas is a major amusement park located in Arlington, Texas , east of Fort Worth and about west of Dallas. It is the oldest park of the Six Flags chain. The park opened on August 5, 1961 following just a year of construction and an initial investment of US$10 million by real estate...

, first visited Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Anaheim)
Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be...

 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:
  • guests can more easily budget
    Budget
    A budget is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for saving, borrowing and spending. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods...

     their visit
  • guests may be more likely to experience an attraction they've already paid for
  • lower costs for the park operators, since ticket-takers are not needed at each attractions


The disadvantages of pay-one-price include:
  • guests will often be paying for attractions that they do not ride or visit
  • guests who are simply coming just to be with their families will have to pay anyway


Today's modern theme parks typically charge a single admission fee for admission and unlimited use of attractions, rides, and shows, where as most modern amusement parks offer free admission yet charge separate fees per attraction.

Rides and attractions

Mechanized thrill machines are what makes an amusement park out of a pastoral, relaxing picnic grove or retreat. Earliest rides include the carousel
Carousel
A carousel , or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders...

 which was originally developed as a way of practicing and then showing-off expertise at tournament
Tournament
A tournament is a competition involving a relatively large number of competitors, all participating in a sport or game. More specifically, the term may be used in either of two overlapping senses:...

 skills such as riding and spearing the ring. 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
Roller coaster
The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first coasters on January 20, 1885...

. Beginning as a winter sport in 17th century Russia, these gravity driven railroads were the beginning of the search for even more thrilling amusement park rides. The Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a particular fertile testing ground for amusement rides. The Ferris wheel is the most recognized product of the fair. Many rides are set round a theme.

A park contains a mixture of attractions which can be divided into several categories.

Thrill rides

There is a core set of thrill rides which most amusement parks have, including the enterprise
Enterprise (ride)
The Enterprise is an amusement ride, manufactured primarily by HUSS Maschinenfabrik in 1972. The ride was an adaptation and improvement of a design produced earlier that year by Schwarzkopf, with an increased passenger capacity. Despite not owning the original incarnation of the ride, HUSS was...

, tilt-a-whirl
Tilt-A-Whirl
Tilt-A-Whirl is one of the best-known flat rides, designed for commercial use at amusement parks, fairs and carnivals in which it is commonly found. The rides are manufactured by Sellner Manufacturing of Faribault, Minnesota...

, the gravitron
Gravitron
The Gravitron is an amusement ride, most commonly found as a portable ride at fairs and carnivals. The Gravitron first appeared at Morey's Piers in 1983 and quickly became a fixture at amusement parks in many countries. It is a modification of an earlier ride called the Rotor...

, chairswing, swinging inverter ship, twister, and the 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

Since the late 19th century, amusement parks have featured roller coasters. Roller coasters feature steep drops, sharp curves, and inversions. Roller coasters may be the most attractive aspect of a park, but many people come for other reasons. Amusement parks generally have anywhere from two to seven coasters, depending on space and budget. As of 2011, the record for the most coasters in one park is held by Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain is a theme park located in Valencia, California north of Los Angeles. It opened on Memorial Day weekend on May 30, 1971 as Magic Mountain, by the Newhall Land and Farming Company. In 1979, Six Flags purchased the park and added the name Six Flags to the park's title. In...

 and Cedar Point
Cedar Point
Cedar Point is a 364 acre amusement park located in Sandusky, Ohio, United States on a narrow peninsula jutting into Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the only amusement park with four roller coasters that are taller than...

 with 17; Canada's Wonderland with 16; and Kings Island
Kings Island
Kings Island is a amusement park located northeast of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. Opened in 1972 by Taft Broadcasting Company and now owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Kings Island is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the U.S...

 and Kings Dominion with 14.

Train rides

Amusement park trains have had long and varied history in American amusement parks as well as overseas.
According to various websites and historians, the earliest park trains weren't really trains—they were trolleys
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

. The earliest park trains were mostly custom built. Some of the most common manufacturers were:
  • Allan Herschfield
  • Cagney Brothers
  • Chance Rides (C.P. Huntington Train)
  • Crown Metal Products
  • Custom Locomotives
  • Miniature Train Co. (MTC)
  • The National Amusement Devices Co.(NAD)
  • Ottaway
  • Sandley
  • Tampa Metal Products

Water rides

Amusement parks with water resources generally feature a few water rides, such as the log flume
Log flume (attraction)
Log flumes originally referred to a special construct used to transport lumber and logs down mountainous terrain to a sawmill by using flowing water. Today, however, the term is also used to refer to an amusement ride consisting of a water flume and artificial hollow logs or boats...

, bumper boats
Bumper boats
Bumper boats are an amusement park ride that uses inner tube shaped watercraft that can be steered by the rider. Some are driven by electric motors, some by gasoline engines, and some require the rider to propel the craft by pedaling. Most are equipped with water guns for duels with other riders...

, 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, other special effects, music and recorded dialogue.

Transport rides

Transport rides are used to take large amounts of guests from one area in the park to another. They usually cost extra, even in parks where rides are free. They are generally popular as they offer an alternative to walking . Transport rides include chairlift
Chairlift
An elevated passenger ropeway, or chairlift, is a type of aerial lift, which consists of a continuously circulating steel cable loop strung between two end terminals and usually over intermediate towers, carrying a series of chairs...

s, monorail
Monorail
A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track...

s, and train rides.

Cuisine

Amusement parks generate a portion of their income through the sale of food and drink to their patrons. Food is routinely sold through food booth
Food booth
A food booth is generally a temporary structure used to prepare and sell food to the general public, usually where large groups of people are situated outdoors in a park, at a parade, near a stadium or otherwise...

s, push carts and indoor restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

s. The offerings vary as widely as the amusement parks themselves, and range from common fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 items, like hamburger
Hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

s, hot dog
Hot dog
A hot dog is a sausage served in a sliced bun. It is very often garnished with mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish and/or sauerkraut.-History:...

s, cotton candy
Cotton candy
Cotton candy , candy floss or candyfloss or candy buttox , or fairy floss is a form of spun sugar. Since cotton candy is mostly air, a small initial quantity of sugar generates a tremendously greater final volume, causing servings to be physically large and voluminous...

, candy apple
Candy apple
Candy apples, also known as toffee apples outside of North America, are whole apples covered in a hard sugar candy coating. While the topping varies from place to place, they are almost always served with a stick of sorts in the middle making them easier to eat...

s, donut
DONUT
DONUT was an experiment at Fermilab dedicated to the search for tau neutrino interactions. Even though the detector operated only during a few months in the summer of 1997, it was largely successful. By detecting the tau neutrino, it confirmed the existence of the last lepton predicted by the...

s and local street food
Street food
Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall. While some street foods are regional, many are not, having spread beyond their region of origin. Most street food are both finger and fast...

s up to full-service gourmet dishes. Amusement parks with exotic themes may include specialty items or delicacies related to the park's theme. Many restaurants and food stands are operated by the amusement parks themselves, while others are branches of regional or national chains.

Trade associations


See also

  • Amusement park accidents
    Amusement park accidents
    Amusement park accidents can result in serious injury or death to somebody visiting or working at an amusement park.Most amusement park accidents are required to be reported to regulatory authorities. They usually fall into one of the following categories:...

  • Family Entertainment Center
    Family Entertainment Center
    A family entertainment center , often abbreviated FEC in the entertainment industry, is a small amusement park marketed towards families with small children to teenagers, and often entirely indoors or associated with a larger operation such as a theme park...

  • Funfair
    Funfair
    A funfair or simply "fair" is a small to medium sized travelling show primarily composed of stalls and other amusements. Larger fairs such as the permanent fairs of cities and seaside resorts might be called a fairground, although technically this should refer to the land where a fair is...

  • Kiddie rides
    Kiddie rides
    A kiddie ride is a coin-operated amusement ride for small children. Kiddie rides are commonly available in amusement parks, arcades, malls, hotel game rooms and outside supermarkets and discount department stores. Less commonly, they may also appear in other venues such as restaurants, food...

  • List of amusement parks
  • List of defunct amusement parks
  • Marine mammal park
    Marine mammal park
    A marine mammal park is a commercial theme park or aquarium where marine mammals such as dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions are kept within water tanks and displayed to the public in special shows. A marine mammal park is more elaborate than a dolphinarium, because it also features other marine...

  • Novelty architecture
    Novelty architecture
    Novelty architecture is a type of architecture in which buildings and other structures are given unusual shapes as a novelty, such as advertising, notoriety as a landmark, or simple eccentricity of the owner or architect. Many examples of novelty architecture take the form of buildings that...

  • Renaissance fair
    Renaissance Fair
    A Renaissance fair, Renaissance faire, or Renaissance festival is an outdoor weekend gathering, usually held in the United States, open to the public and typically commercial in nature, which emulates a historic period for the amusement of its guests. Some are permanent theme parks, others are...

  • World's Fair
    World's Fair
    World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...


Further reading

  • Futrell, Jim. Amusement Parks of New Jersey. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2004.
  • Futrell, Jim. Amusement Parks of New York. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2006.
  • Futrell, Jim. Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002.
  • Futrell, Jim. Amusement Parks of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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