I will be the first to admit it. I do not like roller coasters, wild rides, bungee jumping or anything that tosses me around and makes me what to throw up when I get off of it.
Having said that....this past week I spent a day at Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, Ontario. The popular theme park is home to many thrill rides. If the long lines of kids were any indication, most people don't feel the same way I do.
What I don't quite understand is, what is it that makes you want to ride these things? Is it the danger? The feeling that you are out of control? Do you like the feeling of helplessness? What is it that makes so many of you want to actually strap yourself into these things and for a few short minutes get the thrill of flying?
There is nothing new about roller coasters. The world's oldest standing roller coaster dates back to 1902. The first coasters rode on rickety wooden tracks.
Today, coasters and thrill rides around the world range from The Beast at Paramount's Kings Island in Ohio, that has held the longest wooden coaster title since 1979 at 7,400 feet, to Alpengeist at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, which takes the honors for tallest (195 ft.) and fastest (67 mph) inverted coaster. It also has the largest inverted vertical loop (106 ft.) and the largest drop on any inverted roller coaster (170 ft.).
Are they Safe?
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) the odds that you'll be seriously injured on an amusement ride are about one in seven million -- the odds against a fatal injury one in two hundred fifty million. In other words, amusement rides are among the safer recreations you can participate in. Injuries are more common from playing sports, bicycling or horseback riding. You're much, much more likely to be injured in your car driving to the park than riding the thrill rides.
To stay safe on these rides there are things you can do. Robert Brown from Themepark City offers these tips:
Don't let yourself become an accident statistic, follow these rules when riding all amusement park rides.
- Do your own inspection
- Watch the rides in operation
- Check your own restraints
- Keep hands and arms inside the car at all times
- Abide by height restrictions
- Respect all other posted ride restrictions
- Do not stand up on roller coasters.
- Do not rock or shake cars.
- Report problems to the park
~new~ Find out what is new in Theme Park Rides for 2006 - Read here!