National Roller Coaster Day 2017: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

National Roller Coaster Day 2017, National Roller Coaster Day history, National Roller Coaster Day date

Getty New England Patriots player James White on Walt Disney World's Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster.

Although today is Wednesday, if you can get time off work, it’s a good idea to go to a theme park because August 16 is National Roller Coaster Day.

It’s a day to celebrate one of America’s – and the rest of the world’s – favorite rides. Whether you like it because you enjoy the thrill or looking for an excuse to scream, roller coasters are always fun.

Here’s a look at the holiday and the history of roller coasters.


1. National Roller Coaster Day Was Created in 1986 to Mark the Anniversary of the First Patented Roller Coaster


Valravn – Official POVSit back and enjoy the ride on Valravn! Remember – filming and photography are restricted on all rides at the park. Trained professionals, park safety and operations were all present when filming this video. Thanks for your cooperation!2016-11-18T19:10:57.000Z

National Roller Coaster Day is celebrating its 31st anniversary this year, although it only recently started being celebrated with regularity. According to NationalRollercoasterDay.com, the holiday was proclaimed by a national newspaper in honor of the anniversary of Richard Knudsen and J.G. Taylor receiving a patent in 1878 for what would become a wooden roller coaster. Although they never actually built the ride, they did get the patent on August 16, 1878.

In 1884, LaMarcus A. Thompson finally built a similar ride at Coney Island, New York. It was called the “Switchback Railway.” During his life, Thompson had nearly 30 patents for roller coaster technologies.

Roller Coaster fans can join the American Coaster Enthusiasts, which was founded in 1978. They also host the annual Coaster Con.


2. Cedar Point Announced Plans for a New Steel-Track Roller Coaster


Top Thrill Dragster – Official POVArms down, head back and hold on! Vroooom vroooooom!!! Do you love launching from 0 to 120 in less than 4 seconds? Take a virtual ride on Top Thrill Dragster whenever you want. Remember – filming and photography are restricted on all rides at the park. Trained professionals, park safety and operations were all present…2016-11-30T15:20:06.000Z

Cedar Point, a theme park founded in 1870 in Sandusky, Ohio, is considered the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” It is home to 16 roller coasters and is about to get another one.

The Toledo Blade reported that Cedar Fair LP, which owns the park, will announce a new roller coaster to replace the retired Mean Streaker wooden coaster. The new coaster will have a steel-track.

It’s not clear what the name of the new coaster will be, but Cedar Fair filed trademarks for the names Hangtime, Railblazer and The Ledge.

“I think what they’re going for here is a splash of quantity, ‘Look what we’re doing and look how many coasters we’re putting in,’” Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services Inc. of Cincinnati, told the Toledo Blade. “It will be a big announcement within the industry and it certainly will be a big deal at the parks where they’re putting these in.”

“Railblazer sounds like a reasonable expectation for a ride with a Western theme,” Jeff Putz, operator of the PointBuzz fan website devoted to Cedar Point, told the Blade. “It would certainly be something that would fit with the FrontierTown location.”


3. There Are Nearly 750 Roller Coasters in the U.S. Alone

According to the Roller Coaster Census Report, there are 748 roller coasters in the U.S., and 884 in North America in total. Canada has 60, while Mexico has 50. Of the roller coasters in the U.S., 632 are on steel tracks, while 116 are still wooden-track coasters.

However, the census report shows that North America is third among continents with the most coasters. Asia has an astonishing 2,098 coasters, with 1,142 of them in China. Japan is in a distant second with 215.

Europe has 1,169 coasters, all well distributed among the largest countries there. Germany has the most with 210 coasters, while there are 184 in the U.K. France has 143 coasters and Italy has 112. Austria rounds out the top five with 54 coasters.


4. The Oldest Operating Roller Coaster in the World is Leap-The-Dips in Pennsylvania


Leap The Dips front seat on-ride HD POV Lakemont ParkThis side friction wooden coaster opened in 1902 and is the oldest roller coaster still operating anywhere in the world, however it was closed in 1986 and reopened in 1999 after a major refurbishment. So do you know what the oldest continually-operating coaster in the world is? You can also watch the off-ride video we…2014-12-02T21:46:33.000Z

The oldest operating roller coaster in the world isn’t at Cedar Point. It’s in Altoona, Pennsylvania at Lakemont Park. Leap-The-Dips was built in 1902 and is believed to be the last side-friction, figure-eight roller coaster.

The ride was in constant use until 1985. In the late 1990s, roller coaster enthusiasts mounted a successful campaign to save it and it became a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

As The New York Times noted in 2008, Leap-The-Dips only goes at 6 miles an hour, but fans of the ride still love it.


5. Wooden Roller Coasters Are Still Being Built, Like Kings Island’s Mystic Timbers


Mystic Timbers Front Seat POV 2017 FULL HD Kings IslandStatistics Length: 3,265 ft Height: 109 ft Inversions: 0 Speed: 53 mph Elements: Chain Lift Hill Details Designer: Jeff Pike, Skyline Design, LLC. Trains: 3 trains with 12 cars per train. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 24 riders per train.2017-04-23T15:56:12.000Z

Although wooden roller coasters are no longer as common as they once were, nostalgic roller coaster fans still love them. In fact, they are still being built. In April, Kings Island in Mason, Ohio opened the new Mystic Timbers, a wooden-track roller coaster. Kings Island has the largest collection of wooden track in the world. The park also has The Beast, the longest wooden roller coaster in the world.

According to Cincinnati.com, Mystic Mountain has 16 airtime hills and reaches speeds of 53 miles per hour.

The length of Mystic Timbers is 3,265 feet and it reaches a height of 109 feet. By comparison, The Beast is 7,359 feet long and has a 141-foot drop.

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