• Amusement parks debuted in Europe in the 1500s. The oldest amusement park is Bakken, located in Klampenborg, Denmark, which originally opened in 1583 and still operates today.
  • The oldest continually operating amusement park in the U.S. is Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut, which opened in 1846.
  • Many people believe that America’s fascination with amusement parks began with the opening of the "Cyclone" roller coaster at Coney Island, New York, in 1927. Originally costing only $175,000 to construct, the coaster still continues to operate and is a main attraction of Luna Park.
  • “Rides” are the number one reason Americans visit amusement parks, according to a 2005 IAAPA survey. Of the many rides available, 46 percent of people say that their favorite is the roller coaster.
  • According to rcdb.com, there are more than 2,880 roller coasters in the world. Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is the fastest coaster in the world at 149.1 mph. Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, is the world’s tallest coaster, standing 456 feet tall.
  • The "Colossus" roller coaster located in Thorpe Park, Chertsey, Surrey, UK, and 10 inversion roller coasters located in Chimelong Paradise, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China are recognized as the roller coasters with the most inversions at a total of ten inversions.
  • The oldest operating Ferris wheel, built in 1897, is located in Europe at The Prater, Vienna, Austria.
  • The "Tilt-A-Whirl," a popular amusement park ride, can accommodate 500 people every hour.
  • The first carousel-like rides were used in the 1600s to train French nobles for equestrian competitions.
  • The earliest predecessor to the roller coaster, the "Russian Mountain," was invented in Russia in the 1600s. Thrill seekers rode sleds with metal runners down 60 to 70-foot manmade hills of snow and ice. Russian Mountains including wheeled carts and hills of dirt were developed soon after so the activity could continue in the summer months.
  • The word “adventure” appears in more amusement park names than any other descriptive word.
  • Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, encompasses 47 square miles.
  • Former "Today Show" host Dave Garroway’s popular chimp, J. Fred Muggs, spent five years of his post-"Today Show" career performing at Busch Gardens Tampa.
  • Disneyland in Anaheim, California, USA, was based loosely on Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, an icon of Disneyland and the entrance to Fantasyland was reputedly replicated from Schloss Neuschwanstein, a castle in the southern state of Bavaria in Germany built by Ludwig II, King of Bavaria in 1869.
  • Carowinds Park has the state line of North and South Carolina running through it.
  • Spaceship Earth, the starspangled geosphere at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center, weighs 16 million pounds and is 180 feet tall. It can be spotted by aircraft flying along the eastern coast of Florida.
  • Although cotton candy was invented in Europe in the 1400s, the process that made cotton candy available for mass production was developed in 1897 by John C. Wharton and William Morrison. The popular treat made by this new process made its international debuts at the 1900 Paris Exposition and the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
  • Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • There are six different types of corn, but only one type (called “popcorn”) can be used to make popcorn.
  • According to a 2005 IAAPA survey, 94 percent of amusement park visitors have a favorite food. 28 percent of those surveyed prefer funnel cake, 17 percent prefer ice cream, 14 percent prefer pizza, 13 percent prefer hot dogs, and 12 percent prefer cotton candy.
  • The popular amusement park and family entertainment center game Whac-A-Mole was patented in 1971.
  • According to a 2009 IAAPA report, the top four attractions at a family entertainment center include kids' games, miniature golf, coin operated games, and redemption games.
  • The first patented game of miniature golf, called "Tom Thumb Golf," was built on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee, USA, by Garnet Carter in 1927 to draw traffic to his hotel.
  • The first popular arcade games were early amusement park midway games such as shooting galleries, ball toss games, and the earliest coin-operated machines, like fortune-tellers and  mechanical music players. Although none of these were coin-operated games, the old midways of 1920s-era amusement parks (such as Coney Island in New York, USA) provided the inspiration and atmosphere of later arcade games.
  • The earliest coin-operated pinball machines were made in the 1930s. They were made of wood, did not have plungers or lit-up bonus surfaces on the playing field, and used mechanical scoring. Around 1977, most pinball machines in production switched to using solid state electronics for both operation and scoring.
  • Between 1976 and 2005, the German Dorothea Spohler-Claußen visited amusement parks all over the world 1,108 times, which earned her a place in the Guiness Book of World Records. Her favorite park is the Hansa Park in Sierksdorf, Germany which she visited 200 times.