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Portal:Amusement parks

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Bobbejaanland, Lichtaart, Belgium

An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its structures and attractions around a central theme, often featuring multiple areas with different themes. Unlike temporary and mobile funfairs and carnivals, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting operation. They are more elaborate than city parks and playgrounds, usually providing attractions that cater to a variety of age groups. While amusement parks often contain themed areas, theme parks place a heavier focus with more intricately-designed themes that revolve around a particular subject or group of subjects.

Amusement parks evolved from European fairs, pleasure gardens and large picnic areas, which were created for people's recreation. World's fairs and other types of international expositions also influenced the emergence of the amusement park industry. Lake Compounce opened in 1846 and is considered the oldest continuously-operating amusement park in North America. The first theme parks emerged in the mid-twentieth century with the opening of Santa Claus Land in 1946, Santa's Workshop in 1949, and Disneyland in 1955.

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A typical roller coaster layout
The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first roller coaster on January 20, 1885. In essence a specialized railroad system, a roller coaster consists of a track that rises in designed patterns, sometimes with one or more inversions (such as loops) that turn the rider briefly upside down. The track does not necessarily have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters exhibit. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers sit and are restrained into. An entire set of cars hooked together is called a train. Some roller coasters, notably Wild Mouse roller coasters, run with single cars.

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A log flume at Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, Germany
Credit: Stefan Scheer

A log flume is an amusement ride consisting of a water flume and artificial hollow logs. Passengers sit inside the logs, which are propelled along the flume by the flow of water. The ride usually culminates with a rapid descent and splashdown into a body of water.

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Sign at the entrance to Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America is the Chicago metropolitan area's Six Flags theme park located in Gurnee, Illinois. The park 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. Today, the park boasts eight themed sections, a 13-acre water park, three specially themed children's areas and various other forms of entertainment.

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