Portal:Amusement parks

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Bobbejaanland, Lichtaart, Belgium

An amusement park is a collection of rides and other entertainment attractions assembled for the purpose of entertaining a fairly large group of people. An amusement park is more elaborate than a simple city park or playground and caters for all ages.

Amusement parks evolved in Europe from pleasure gardens, which existed for the recreation of the people, while charging a fee. In the United States, expositions were another influence on the amusement park. Amusement parks were the historical precursors to modern theme parks as well as the more traditional midway arcades and rides at county and state fairs (in the United States). Today, amusement parks have largely been replaced by theme parks, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. The oldest amusement park in the world is Bakken, at Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, which opened in 1583.

Amusement parks collect much of their revenue from admission fees paid by guests attending the park. Other revenue sources include parking fees, food and beverage sales and souvenirs. Some parks charge an entry fee which allows unlimited access to all attractions, whereas others offer free admission but charge guests for each attraction.

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Carousel at Hyde Park, Germany
A carousel is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating platform with seats for passengers. The "seats" are traditionally in the form of wooden horses or animals, which are often moved mechanically up and down to simulate galloping. This leads to one of the machine's alternative names; "the galloper". Other popular names are "merry-go-rounds", "roundabouts" and "flying horses". Usually, music is looped while the rides spins.

Although modern carousels are mainly populated with horses, carousels from earlier periods frequently included diverse varieties of animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, and deer, to name a few.

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Diagram of the Back to the Future: The Ride theater.
Credit: United States Patent illustration

Side view diagram of the Back to the Future: The Ride theater showing the ride vehicles in their lowered (bottom) and raised (top) positions as well as in the process of being raised into the theater (middle).

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Selected amusement park

Entrance to Heide Park
Heide Park is a theme park in Soltau, Lower Saxony. With an overall area of over 850,000 m², it is one of the biggest German amusement parks and the biggest in Northern Germany. The park is part of the Merlin Entertainments group, a British company who also operate Alton Towers and Thorpe Park in England.

Heide Park currently has about 40 amusement rides which are aimed both at families and thrillseekers. One of the main attractions is Colossos, a wooden roller coaster which, until the opening of Balder, on 4 December 2003 in the Swedish amusement park Liseberg, was the steepest wooden roller coaster in the world.

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