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Roller Coasters Were Supposed to Save Us From Satan
Roller coasters were meant to save our souls. During the late 1800s, amusements such as saloons and brothels were all the rage. LaMarcus Adna Thompson took it upon himself to create a more wholesome activity: a “clean and wholesome” ride that let you appreciate scenery, Theme Park Insider says. His Switchback Gravity Railway found a home on Coney Island, where it could be ridden for 5 cents. Thompson was subsequently nicknamed the “Father of the American Roller Coaster.”
The Earliest Roller Coaster Carried Coal First
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The World’s Fastest Roller Coaster Is in the United Arab Emirates
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The West Coast’s Fastest Roller Coaster Opened in 1997
For West Coast residents who don’t plan to travel to New Jersey or the United Arab Emirates, the name to remember is Superman: Escape from Krypton. The ride, at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, travels up to 100 mph (which now seems a bit tame) — and was the first to reach that landmark speed. In fact, when it opened in 1997 it was the fastest in the world and the tallest, with a 415-foot tower.
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Japan Hosts the World’s Longest Roller Coaster
There’s fast and there’s tall, but what about the longest roller coaster in the world? That honor goes to Steel Dragon 2000, at Nagashima Spa Land in Japan. This ride once held the trifecta of honors — fastest, tallest and longest — but remains longest at 1.5 miles. It takes about four minutes to complete this ride, which includes an initial drop of 306.8 feet.
Longest Roller Coaster in the United States
For those who are unlikely to travel to Japan for a long ride, there’s always The Beast at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio. The Beast opened in 1979 as the longest and fastest ride on the planet. While it may no longer be the fastest, The Beast, at 7,359 feet, is still listed by Guinness as the longest wooden roller coaster in the United States. The ride takes more than four minutes and includes vertical drops of up to 135 feet.
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There’s a Roller Coaster at the Great Wall Of China
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The Scariest Drop Is in Japan
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An English Roller Coaster Has the Most Inversions
The ride with the most inversions is The Smiler, at Alton Towers in England, which boasts 14 loops. The name suggests that being turned upside more than a dozen times while zooming along at 85 mph will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
Park With the Most Roller Coasters
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There’s a Ride in Use That’s More Than 100 Years Old
The Leap-the-Dips roller coaster, at Lamont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania, is a National Historic Landmark. It was built in 1902 and is the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster.
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