Celebrate National Roller Coaster Day


(Lee Haywood/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jessica Wang, Reporter

National Roller Coaster Day is a special day that is celebrated every year on August 16th. It is a day dedicated to celebrating the thrill and excitement that come with riding roller coasters. From the tallest and fastest coasters to the oldest and most historic, roller coasters are a beloved and iconic part of American culture.

The origins of the roller coaster can be traced back to the late 1800s, when a number of inventors were experimenting with ways to create a ride that would simulate the feelings of a train. One of the earliest roller coasters, built in 1884 at Coney Island, quickly became a popular attraction.

Over the years, roller coasters have evolved and become more complex, with new designs and technologies being developed to make them faster, taller, and more exciting. Today, roller coasters come in all shapes and sizes, from small kiddie coasters to massive steel ones that reach heights of over 400 feet.

Some fan-favorite amusement parks near Hershey include:

  1. Hersheypark: Located in Hershey, PA, this amusement park is known for its chocolate-themed rides, roller coasters, and water park.  Hersheypark’s Candymonium is the largest coaster in the park that hits speeds of up to 76 miles per hour over its 4,636-foot track.
  2. Dutch Wonderland: Located in Lancaster, PA, this family-friendly park features over 30 rides, attractions, and shows for kids of all ages.  Duke’s Lagoon is a key attraction as this splash-zone is very much designed for kids.
  3. Knoebels Amusement Resort: Located in Elysburg, PA, this classic amusement park features over 60 rides, including two wooden roller coasters and a historic carousel.
  4. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom: Located in Allentown, PA, this park features over 100 rides, including seven roller coasters, a water park, and live entertainment.
  5. Six Flags Great Adventure: Located in Jackson, NJ, this park is known for its roller coasters, water park, and live entertainment.

These amusement parks offer a variety of attractions and experiences for visitors of all ages.

For roller coaster enthusiasts, National Roller Coaster Day is a chance to celebrate their love of the ride and to visit some of their favorite coasters around the country. Many amusement parks offer special events and promotions on this day, including discounted tickets, exclusive ride time, and other perks.

Despite all of this, National Roller Coaster Day is not just about the rides themselves. It is also a celebration of the communities that have grown up around roller coasters, from the die-hard enthusiasts who travel the country in search of the next great coaster to the dedicated employees who work hard to ensure that every rider has a safe and enjoyable experience.

Ways to celebrate National Roller Coaster Day:

  1. Step out of your comfort zone: Even though the basic design has changed little over the years, modern roller coasters are anything but boring. If you’re near Sandusky, Ohio on National Roller Coaster Day, visit Steel Vengeance, voted “Best New Ride of 2018” with its “high-speed hyper-hybrid roller coaster turning riders upside down four times.” 
  2. Experience a virtual ride: If you are struggling to find time to visit an amusement park, try out a virtual experience. In today’s digital world, you can get the whole experience with a virtual roller coaster ride. 
  3. Read up on the history of roller coasters: On National Roller Coaster Day, find some books about roller coasters and learn about their history. It might be a lot more interesting than you think.

National Roller Coaster Day is the perfect time to embrace the thrill of the ride and celebrate everything that makes roller coasters such a captivating experience.