Each year on August 16th, people flock to amusement parks for a thrill, a few exciting screams, and to celebrate National Roller Coaster Day. Take a ride on a roller coaster near you.
The day commemorates the first verticle loop roller coaster which was patented by Edwin Prescott on this day in 1898. A roller coaster consists of one or multiple cars on a track. While they are similar to railroad systems in design, the inclines and vertical loops incorporated in the structures aren’t for transportation. These elements boost the thrills rollercoaster enthusiasts seek!
The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called “Russian Mountains.” Built-in the 17th century, these specially constructed hills of ice located near Saint Petersburg, Russia rose between 70 and 80 feet in height. Passengers faced 50-degree drops. Wooden supports supplied reinforcement.
Roller coaster designs existed since at least 1872 when J.G. Taylor received one of the earliest patents. He called his creation an inclined railway. Another patent granted for an inclined-plane railway was granted to Richard Knudsen in 1878.
For years, history has believed the first roller coaster in America opened at Coney Island on June 16, 1884. However, tracing J.G. Taylor’s patent and newspaper articles tells us a different story. According to the Providence Evening Press dated June 1872, Taylor’s elevated railway at Rocky Point, Rhode Island extended 400 feet and gave nine passengers a ride. It all started with a shove, allowing gravity to do the rest.
While Prescott’s patent detailed ways to improve upon structures such as J.G. Taylor’s and that built at Coney Island, it was Prescott’s designs that led to the roller coasters we know today. His design gave riders a reason to scream and keep coming back for the rush of excitement.
Learn about Rollercoaster Day
Rollercoaster Day was created in order to celebrate these fun and thrilling rides that you can enjoy when you go to a theme park. It is the perfect opportunity for you to have some fun and take a ride on a rollercoaster near you.
Rollercoasters tend to be found in theme parks and amusement parks all around the world. They employ some sort of railroad track, which is elevated and designed with inversions, steep slopes, and tight turns. People ride along the track in open cars, enjoying a thrilling experience. Most rollercoasters will have a number of different cars whereby passengers sit inside of them and are restrained. However, there are Wild Mouse rollercoasters and other types of rollercoasters that run with a single car.
Fun facts about rollercoasters
There are some great facts about the rollercoasters of today and the past. For example, in Pennsylvania, there is a wooden rollercoaster that was built in 1902 and it is still in operation today. It is called Leap-The-Dips and you can find it at Altoona. It does not have headrests, lap bars, or seatbelts, but don’t worry, as it only goes ten miles per hour.
Have you ever wondered why some people love rollercoasters and other people hate them? Well, it could be to do with the chemical makeup of your brain. From the spirals to the drops, dips, speed, turns, hills, and loops; there is no denying that rollercoasters are thrilling! However, those with higher levels of dopamine tend to prefer sensation-seeking activities. Dopamine are neurotransmitters that are linked to reward-motivated behavior.
If you want to go on the world’s longest rollercoaster, you are going to need to take a trip to Japan. Here, you will find Nagashima Spa Land, and the longest rollercoaster here is the Steel Dragon 2000. When it opened, it was the longest, tallest, and fastest rollercoaster in the world. This was back in 2000. Since then, it has had a couple of its crowns stolen, yet it is still the world’s longest rollercoaster. Today, the fastest rollercoaster in the world can be found in Abu Dhabi at Ferrari World. It’s called Formula Rossa. The tallest rollercoaster in the world today is in Jackson, New Jersey. It is called Kingda Ka and it is found at Six Flags Great Adventure.
The future of rollercoasters certainly looks exciting as well, as it promises roller coaster-water slide mashups, as well as cars that rotate. Amusement park technologies are being patented all of the time, and this can help you to get a good understanding of what lies ahead in the world of rollercoasters.
History of Rollercoaster Day
The day has been chosen because it commemorates the first vertical loop rollercoaster, which was patented on this date in 1898 by Edwin Prescott. In order to appreciate Rollercoaster Day, it is worth digging deeper into the history of this popular theme park ride.
It is believed that the oldest rollercoasters have come from the Russian Mountains, which are a number of hills of ice that were specially constructed in what is now known as Saint Petersburg. These rollercoasters were constructed in the 17th century. They were reinforced with wooden supports, had a 50-degree drop, and were built to a height of somewhere between 21 and 24 meters.
It was on the 8th of July in 1817 that the first modern rollercoaster was created. It opened in Paris, in Parc Beaujon, and it was called Promenades Aeriennes. It featured wheeled cars, which were locked onto the track securely, offering higher speeds and guide rails to keep them on course. Half a dozen imitators were created as a consequence, yet their popularity dwindled rather quickly.
Nevertheless, rollercoasters quickly returned to fashion during Belle Epoque. Co-founder of the Moulin Rouge music hall, French entrepreneur Joseph Oller, constructed the Russian Mountains of Belleville in 1887, known locally as the Montagnes Russes de Belleville. It featured 656 feet worth of track that was laid out in a double-eight, which was later made bigger, creating four figure-eight shaped loops.
The popularity and decline of rollercoasters have varied over the years. The golden age of theme parks, and consequently rollercoasters, came to end during the Great Depression. This lasted until 1972 when The Racer at Kings Island was an instant success. Of course, it would not be right to talk about rollercoasters and theme parks without mentioning Disneyland. The park had a breakthrough in terms of design with Matterhorn Bobsleds. This is because it was the first-ever rollercoaster to utilize a steel track. This was important because tubular steel can be bent in any direction, which is obviously not the case with wooden coaster rails. This means that steel rollercoasters enable designers to incorporate corkscrews, loops, and a lot of other maneuvers into their designs. Most of the different rollercoasters that are available around the world today are still made of steel, yet hybrids and wooden coasters are still being created.
5 OF THE MOST INSANE ROLLER COASTERS YOU MUST FACE YOUR FEARS TO RIDE
This one has the deepest drop
Travel to Canada’s Vaughn, Ontario, to experience the Yukon Striker with riders dangling during a three-second (!) hold at the very top of the ride over a 90-degree drop, then swooshing down 245 feet into a tunnel below ground.
It’s called Steel Vengeance for a reason
Head to Cedar Point Park to ride in Steel Vengeance, a super hybrid roller coaster, said to be one of the fastest in the world, clocking 74 mph while traveling along 5,740 feet of track.
New Jersey’s home to one of the world’s tallest coasters
The Kingda Ka roller coaster, extending upward with the equivalent of about 45 stories or 456 feet in the air, delivers eye-popping thrills at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.
This one faces backwards
It’s called the Superman: Escape from Krypton roller coaster and features a 100 mph launch up 415 feet while backwards. You can ride it, if you dare, at Six Flags Magic Mountain just north of Los Angeles.
It is aptly named
The Intimidator at Virginia’s Kings Dominion will turn your hair white with its 85-degree first drop straight down.
NATIONAL ROLLER COASTER DAY DATES