National Roller Coaster Day takes place annually on August 16th. This is a popular time for people to visit theme parks and enjoy their favorite ride. Even though that might not be possible today, we can still celebrate roller coasters from a distance. Plus, there are some fascinating facts about these large metal beasts that will make you appreciate them so much more!
National Roller Coaster Day – History
It is hard to say what the oldest roller coaster is. Some believe that the oldest one was built in the 17th century in Saint Petersburg, Russia. These so-called “Russian Mountains” were constructed on hills or ice that rose up to 80 feet (25 meters) and passengers experienced 50-degree drops. However, if you Google ‘oldest roller coaster’ you’ll get results from just about every country in the world.
What we do know for sure is on August 16th in 1898, the first vertical loop roller coaster was patented by Edwin Prescott. This roller coaster consisted of one or multiple cars on a track. They were similar to railroad systems in design but with inclines and vertical loops incorporated in the structure – these are the elements that boosted the thrills that rollercoaster enthusiasts seek!
“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.”National Calendar
10 Oldest Wooden Rollercoasters In The World
- The Leap-The-Dips (1902) in Lakemont Park, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA – 41 feet (12 meters)
- The Scenic Railway (1912) in Luna Park, Melbourne, Australia – 60 feet (18 meters)
- The Rutschebanen (1914) in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark – 42 feet (13 meters)
- The Wild One (1917) in Six Flags (formerly Paragon Park), Upper Marlboro, Maryland (formerly Hull, Massachusetts), USA – 98 feet (30 meters)
- The Jack Rabbit (1920) in Seabreeze Amusement Park, Irondequoit, New York, USA – 75 feet (23 meters)
- The Jack Rabbit (1920) in Kennywood Park, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, USA – 40 feet (12 meters)
- The Roller Coaster (1921) in Lagoon Park, Farmington, Utah, USA – 60 feet (18 meters)
- The Hullamvasut (1922) in Vidampark, Budapest, Hungary – 55.8 feet (17 meters)
- The Big Dipper (1923) in Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, England – 65 feet (20 meters)
- The Thunderhawk (1923) in Dorney Park, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA – 80 feet (24 meters)
For photos and more info about these, check out this article.
14 Facts About Roller Coasters
These are taken from the Smithsonian, read more about these and see photos as well as videos here.
- The American roller coaster was invented to save America from Satan.
- One of the earliest coasters in America carried coal before it carried thrill seekers.
- “Russian mountains” predated roller coasters—and Catherine the Great improved them.
- Roller coaster loops are never circular.
- Riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World could help dislodge kidney stones.
- You can thank inventor Phillip Hinkle for that clanking, anxiety-inducing powered chain lift that allows roller coasters to climb their first big inclines.
- The tallest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.
- The fastest roller coaster is Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
- The longest roller coaster is Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land in Japan.
- Fabio may have killed a goose with his face on a roller coaster.
- Whether or not you enjoy roller coasters may have to do with your brain chemistry.
- The future of roller coasters promises cars that rotate and roller coaster-water slide mashups.
- One of the most famous roller coaster designers had a “bad motion sickness problem.”
- There is a wooden roller coaster still in operation that was built in 1902.
Summary: National Roller Coaster Day
Whether or not you actually enjoy riding roller coasters, they are pretty fascinating. National Roller Coaster Day is a great time to celebrate human ingenuity. Despite roller coasters being terrifying and scary-looking, they are quite safe and cause relatively few deaths and injuries. Despite this, I am quickly becoming too old for roller coasters. The older I get, the more I’m scared! But I can still appreciate how awesome the invention of roller coasters is.
Follow The Travel Bug Bite for more great content!