Roller coasters are a staple at amusement parks and they're also one of the most popular rides at local fairs. Late summer is prime time for fairs and for last-minute trips to the amusement parks before school begins. Land of Lily Pad isn't any different and this weekend my whole family is going to the annual Swamp Fair. Little Quigley is finally big enough this year to ride the roller coaster. Dad and I will accompany him while Mom, no doubt, looks on in horror.
What do you know about roller coasters? Probably not much, if you're anything like me. They're fun (or not) while you're riding them but then you never give them any thought after that. I decided it might be kind of fun to look at a few fun roller coaster facts and see if there was anything worth uncovering. And there definitely was! So in honor of roller coaster day, here's everything you'll ever want to know about your favorite (or scariest) ride.
1. The roller coaster dates back to 18th-century Russia. that first coaster descended from the "Russian Mountains" and was constructed of huge piles of snow that existed around the grounds and gardens of the the palace in St. Petersburg in the 18th century. The slides were built to a height of between 70 feet (21 m) and 80 feet (24 m), had a 50 degree drop, and were reinforced by wooden supports and had ice on top. Sometimes wheeled carts were used instead of sleds. These slides became popular with the Russian upper class.
2. "Russian mountains" remains the term for roller coasters in many languages, such as Spanish (la montaña rusa), Italian (montagne russe), and French (les montagnes russes). Ironically, the Russian term for roller coaster, американские горки (amerikanskie gorki), translates literally as "American mountains.
3. The world's fastest roller coaster is, indeed, very fast. Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates reaches freak out–worthy speeds of 149 mph in under five seconds. If you don't want to travel abroad for a similar thrill, the U.S. is home to six of the 10 world's fastest roller coasters.
4. The first U.S. roller coaster was very slow. Called the Switchback Railway, the New York attraction opened in June 1884 in Coney Island, Brooklyn—and reached a whopping speed of 6 mph! But in all fairness, it did only cost a nickel (5-cents) to ride. That slow-poke coaster grossed about $600 a day (pretty impressive for the time) while today's roller coaster averages about $15,000 a day. Some difference, eh?
5. The world's oldest roller coaster that is still operational is 100 years old and is located in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It's considered a national Historical Landmark.
6. Concerned about your safety? The average roller coaster, during the busy summer season, is tested three times a day.
7. The tallest roller coaster is in the Six Flags Great Adventure Park, New Jersey. Kingda Ka roller coaster reaches up to a whopping height of 465 feet!
8. The longest roller coaster. Japan’s Nagashima Spa Land is home to the longest rollercoaster in the world. The Steel Dragon 2000 has a track which covers 8133 feet. (2479 meters)
9. If you want roller coaster ride choices, then I suggest you visit Six Flags Magic Mountain in California. It currently has the highest amount of roller coasters in its park with 19 different coasters to choose from.
10. Early coasters built of wood. In 1959, the first ever steel roller coaster was created. The Matterhorn bobsled roller coaster was built for Disneyland in California.
Those are some pretty awesome facts! The closer we get to the weekend, the more excited I am about visiting Swamp Fair. And now that little Quigley is older, it'll be twice the fun. I always look forward to family outings, don't you?
You can celebrate National Roller Coaster Day by riding your favorite one. If you're not a fan, or live too far away, you can always look up roller coasters online and "visit" them from the comfort of your air-conditioned home.
There's lots to celebrate tomorrow tomorrow so please plan on stopping back by. Until then,