In the United States, trolley parks, which started in the 19th century, were picnic and recreation areas along or at the ends of streetcar lines in most of the larger cities. These were precursors to amusement parks. Trolley parks were often created by the streetcar companies to give people a reason to use their services on weekends.
The parks originally consisted of picnic groves and pavilions, and often held events such as dances, concerts and fireworks. Many eventually added features such as swimming pools, carousels, Ferris wheels, roller coasters, sports fields, boats rides, restaurants and other resort facilities to become amusement parks. Various sources report the existence of between 1,500 and 2,000 amusement parks in the United States by 1919.
One such location was Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, where a horse-drawn street car line brought pleasure seekers to the beach beginning in 1829. In 1875, a million passengers rode the Coney Island Railroad, and in 1876 two million reached Coney Island. Hotels and amusements were built to accommodate both the upper-classes and the working-class. The first carousel was installed in the 1870s, the first "switchback railway" in 1881. It wasn't till 1895 that the first permanent amusement park in North America opened: Sea Lion Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. This park was one of the first to charge admission for entrance to the park in addition to selling tickets for rides within the park.
In 1897, it was joined by Steeplechase Park, the first of three major amusement parks that would open in the area. George Tilyou designed the park to provide thrills and sweep away the restraints of the Victorian crowds. The combination of the nearby population center of New York City and the ease of access to the area made Coney Island the embodiment of the American amusement park. Often, it is Steeplechase Park that comes to mind when one generically thinks of the heyday of Coney Island, but there were also Luna Park (opened in 1903) and Dreamland (opened in 1904). Coney Island was a huge success, and by 1910 attendance on a Sunday could reach a million people.
Trolley parks decline
By the early 20th century, there were hundreds of amusement parks, many of them starting as trolley parks, in operation around the USA. Every major city boasted one or more parks, often based on (or named) Coney Island, Luna Park, Dreamland. This began the era of the “golden age” of amusement parks that reigned until the late 1920s. This was an era when the number of hours worked was reduced, while the amount of disposable income rose. The amusement parks reflected the mechanization and efficiency of industrialization, while serving as a source of fantasy and escape from real life.
With the increasing number of automobiles in use, urban trolley parks gradually declined, due to lack of parking and changing demographics in the urban areas. Although the automobile provided people with more options for satisfying their entertainment needs, amusement parks that were accessible by car continued to be successful and new parks were developed. It was urban trolley parks that saw declining attendance. By the end of the 1920s, amusement parks were to suffer steep declines for various reasons, particularly the Great Depression.
List of trolley parks still operating
While some trolley parks remain open as public parks without amusements, these locations are still operating as amusement parks as of summer 2018. They are listed In alphabetical order, followed by the year in which they opened. 
- Camden Park, Huntington, West Virginia, 1903
- Canobie Lake Park, Salem, New Hampshire, 1902
- Clementon Park, Clementon, New Jersey, 1907
- Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1901
- Kennywood, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1898
- Lakemont Park, Altoona, Pennsylvania, 1894 (closed for renovations)
- Lakeside Amusement Park, Denver, Colorado, 1907
- Midway Park, Maple Springs, New York, 1898
- Oaks Amusement Park, Portland, Oregon, May 30, 1905
- Quassy Amusement Park, Middlebury, Connecticut, 1908
- Seabreeze Amusement Park, Rochester, New York, 1879
- Waldameer Park, Erie, Pennsylvania, 1896
Lakemont Park was closed for the end of the 2016 season and will remain closed throughout the 2018 summer season to modify the facility to be more like a public park with free admission, though the plan is to maintain its amusements. As of 2018, it was slated to open in spring 2019. Bushkill Park, in Easton, Pennsylvania, has been hit by flooding several times, and as of 2018 planned to reopen. It opened in 1902.
List of trolley parks now closed
- Al Fresco Amusement Park, Peoria, Illinois
- Bay Shore Park, Edgemere, Maryland (Baltimore County), Maryland (near Baltimore, Maryland, 1906-1947). Some structures remain in North Point State Park.
- Bonnie Brae Park, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
- Cascade Park, New Castle, Pennsylvania. While the rides are gone, the park remains as a site for community events.
- Brandywine Springs Amusement Park, Wilmington, Delaware (1886-1923)
- Burnham Park, Burnham, Pennsylvania (ca 1903 to 1916, relocated to Kishacoquillas Park)
- Chevy Chase Lake, Chevy Chase, Maryland
- Chutes Park, Los Angeles, California (1887-1914)
- Contoocook River Amusement Park, Penacook, New Hampshire (1893-1925)
- Council Crest Amusement Park, Portland, Oregon (1907-1929)
- Crescent Park, Riverside, Rhode Island
- Dixieland Amusement Park, South Jacksonville (Jacksonville), Florida. South Jacksonville Municipal Railways. Destroyed in a hail storm.
- Eldora Park, Eldora, Pennsylvania, (Carroll Township, Washington County), (1901-mid-1940s)
- Electric Park, Niverville, New York (1901–1917), Albany and Hudson Railroad, “largest amusement park on the east coast between Manhattan and Montreal”
- Euclid Beach Park, Euclid, Ohio then Cleveland, Ohio (1895—1969)When first opened, visitors came to the park on two steamers from downtown Cleveland. When the Humphrey Family took over direction of the park they agreed to discontinue boat service in return for one street car fare charge to the park from the provider. Initially a street car stop was built inside the park. (Euclid Beach Park, is Closed for the Season, 1977)
- Excelsior Amusement Park, Excelsior, Minnesota (1925-1973)
- Fontaine Ferry Park, Louisville, Kentucky (1905–1975)
- Forest Park, Ballston Lake, New York (operated by the Saratoga and Schenectady Railroad) (1902-1927)
- Forest Park, Genoa, Ohio
- Glen Park, west of Watertown, New York, Glen Park, New York
- Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, Maryland (early 1900s-1968)
- Golden Spur Amusement Park, Niantic, Connecticut (operated by New London and East Lyme Street Railway)
- Great Falls Park (operated by Washington and Old Dominion Railway), Great Falls, Virginia
- Idora Park, Oakland, California (1904–1929)
- Idora Park, Youngstown, Ohio (1899–1984)
- Indian Park, Montoursville, PennsylvaniaThe park remains as a site for community events.
- Kaydeross Park Saratoga Springs, New York (operated by the Delaware and Hudson Railway).
- Kishacoquillas Park, between Burnham, Pennsylvania and Lewistown, Pennsylvania, (relocated from Burnham Park in 1916). Property and some structures survive as community park.
- Lake Lansing Amusement Park, Haslett, Michigan (Demolished 1972) Haslett, Michigan
- Lake View Park, Sheboygan, Wisconsin 
- Lakeview Park (Lake Nipmuc Amusement Park), Mendon, Massachusetts
- Lakewood Amusement, Atlanta, GA (1906-1985)
- Lincoln Park, Dartmouth, Massachusetts (1894-1987)
- Lincoln Park, Hallville, Connecticut (operated by Norwich and Westerly Railway)
- Luna Park, Alexandria County (now Arlington County), Virginia (near Washington, D.C., 1906-1915)
- Luna Park, Charleston, West Virginia (1912-1923)
- Luna Park, Cleveland, Ohio (1905-1929)
- Luna Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1905-1909)
- Luna Park, Scranton, Pennsylvania (1906-1916)
- Manawa Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa, closed in 1928
- Mountain Park, Holyoke, Massachusetts (1897-1987)
- Norumbega Park, Newton, Massachusetts (1897-1963)
- Oakland Park, Rockport, Maine (1902-?)
- Ocean View Park, Norfolk, Virginia (1879–1979)
- Olentangy Park, Columbus, Ohio
- Olympic Park, Irvington/Maplewood, New Jersey
- Ondawa Park Greenwich, New York (operated by the Delaware and Hudson Railway).
- Palisades Amusement Park, Cliffside Park, New Jersey and Fort Lee, New Jersey, (1898–1971)
- Paxtang Park, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Pine Island Park, Manchester, New Hampshire
- Piney Ridge Park, Broad Brook, Connecticut, located on a branch of the Hartford & Springfield Street Railway, now along the line of the Connecticut Trolley Museum
- Playland, San Francisco, California (1927–1972)
- Ponce de Leon Springs Park, Atlanta, Georgia
- Ravinia Park, Highland Park, Illinois, now Ravinia Festival
- Riverhurst Park, Weston Mills, New York
- Riverside Amusement Park, Indianapolis, Indiana (1903–1970)
- Riverside Amusement Park, now Six Flags New England, Agawam, Massachusetts
- Rock City Park, Allegany, New York
- Rock Springs Park, Chester, West Virginia
- Rocky Glen Park, near Moosic, Pennsylvania—later became Ghost Town at the Glen before becoming New Rocky Glen
- Ramona Park, East Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Shady Grove Park, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
- Shellpot Park, near Wilmington, Delaware
- Suburban Gardens, Washington, D.C.
- Terrapin Park, Parkersburg, West Virginia
- Vanity Fair, East Providence, Rhode Island
- West View Park, West View, Pennsylvania
- Whalom Park, Lunenburg, Massachusetts
- White City, Atlanta, GA (1910-1925)
- White City, Indianapolis, Indiana (1906-1908)
- White City, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
- Wildwood Amusement Park, Mahtomedi, Minnesota
- Willow Grove Park, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania (1896–1976)
- Wonderland Amusement Park, Indianapolis, Indiana (1906-1911)
- Wonderland Amusement Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1905-1911)
- Oregon Electric Railway Museum—a trolley museum that, at its original location, was called the "Trolley Park"
- Harpaz, Beth J. (Associated Press) (2010-07-21). "Survivors of earlier era: 11 beloved trolley parks". Living. Palm Beach County, Florida: The Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- Adams, Judith A. (1991). The American Amusement Park Industry: A History of Technology and Thrills. Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-9821-8.
- Camden Park website
- Seed, Douglas; Khalife, Katherine (1996). Trolleys, Canobie Lake, and Rockingham Park. Images Of America. II. Salem, New Hampshire: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-0438-5..
- Bushkill Park: Another flood
- Gottlock, Wesley; Gottlock, Barbara H. "1905 ELECTRIC PARK – KINDERHOOK LAKE". Retrieved 2017-09-10.
- Reynolds, Rick. "An Amusement Park on Ballston Lake?" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-07-31.
- King, Don. "Narrative: Montoursville's history presented by chapter". Christopher Garneau. Archived from the original on 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
- Delaware and Hudson Company (1901). Seventy-second Annual report of the Delaware and Hudson Company. p. 56.
- Dippel, Beth (2016-04-22). "Before Six Flags, Sheboygan had Lake View". Sheboygan Press. Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
- Russell, Jenna (2006-10-19). "Coasting to a stop at Whalom Park". The Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts.
- "Street Railway Parks". Transit Journal. 17 (5): 186. February 2, 1901.