3 Thrilling Facts About Rollercoasters

Rollercoasters are remarkable engineering feats that have evolved quite dramatically over time. These thrill rides are the main attraction at amusement parks around the world. After passengers buckle themselves safely into their seats, they are whisked away on an adventure that is over in the blink of an eye. In a few short minutes, riders endure slow, agonizing climbs followed by stomach-lurching drops. They are sent around loop-the-loops, through dark tunnels, and along twisting tracks that defy gravity. Curious, thrill-seeking readers will find these roller coaster facts good food for thought next time they are ready to jump aboard a ride. 


Rollercoaster Facts for Kids 

Kids who love the thrill of exceedingly high speeds, agonizingly slow inclines, and drops that feel like a dangerous free fall to the ground will love learning everything about the best rides around the country. Children's books about rollercoasters take readers on a high speed adventure on where they can experience the exhilaration vicariously through the characters. The stories are full of amazing facts about rollercoasters that kids will find fascinating. Here is some more information about the history of the most thrilling amusement park rides around.

(1) The Very First Rollercoaster: Switchback Gravity Railway


switchback roller coaster 

  • The purpose of the first roller coaster was to distract people from the saloons and brothels that were taking over. In the 1800s, LaMarcus Adna Thompson designed the first ride that was intended to be an escape from the stranglehold of Satan. The roller coaster took passengers on a scenic, wholesome, enjoyable tour where they could enjoy the scenery below.
  • The ride, called the Switchback Gravity Railway, was built on Coney Island and cost a whopping 5 cents to ride. It brought in about $600 per day, which is equal to $15,000 in present-day dollars.
  • You may be surprised to learn that this very first rollercoaster moved very slowly across the tracks. Top speeds were clocked at 5 miles per hour. Not a very exciting ride by today's standards, but nonetheless a marvel in its day! 
(2) Think Rollercoasters Have Engines? Guess again!


roller coaster 
  • Rollercoasters are not powered by engines like other rides at the amusement park. Rather, they operate based on the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy. In other words, when rollercoasters fly down a steep decline, they gain a substantial amount of kinetic energy that keeps the cars moving up subsequent inclines. Once that energy is exhausted, the coaster reaches a state of potential energy. Then it enters another gravity-inducing drop where it's kinetic energy is restored. 
  • But how do rollercoasters make the first first climb along the tracks? Well, that agonizingly slow progression up a steep slope is accomplished by using a cable or a lift to pull the cart up the tracks. While this is happening, the train will be building up a supply of potential energy to help propel it down the tracks. 

(3) Kingda Ka is the World's Tallest Rollercoaster


kingda ka 
  • Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey is home to the tallest rollercoaster built to date. It's peak reaches a mind-blowing 456 feet into the sky, which is enough to make those on the ground quiver just looking at it. 
  • Built in 2005, this record-breaking rollercoaster cost a whopping $25 million to build.
  • In order to successfully climb the 90-degree steep slope, the cars accelerate from 0 to 128 miles per hour about 3.5 seconds. And then after reaching the top, riders are treated to a dizzying 270-degree spiral to the bottom!
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