Oldest Theme Parks

BBC: Shaney Hudson writes about the first “Theme Parks” known, in a cool BBC travel article.

Why read the article? Apart from being a good light read, it actually imparts some very interesting and (I’m guessing) very little-known facts.

I’ll share a few spoilers here to whet your appetite for the entire article.

FTA: While most people assume amusement parks are an American invention, their roots are in fact grounded in the Old World. Many of Europe’s best-known theme parks are centuries old, evolving from upper class “pleasure gardens” — public spaces that included recreational activities in the 18th and 19th century — to established tenants of local culture.

So, what kind of time-frame are we talking here? How about: The earliest Theme Park still in operation today, “Bakken” near Copenhagen in Denmark, was first opened in 1583. Yes, they had rollercoasters and giant mice even back then no, no they didn’t. What they did have? Well, it seems you could drink from an invigorating natural spring water source and see the best shows and entertainments of the times. To really seal the deal you could also buy and see demonstrations of the hottest new trending products and services peddled by hawkers and vendors just like today. Ok, so there was no rollercoaster in 1583 but Bakken does still have an old wooden rollercoaster built in 1932!

How about this, want to know where the original Ferris Wheel was born?

FTA: The world’s oldest Ferris wheel, the Riesenrad, is located in Vienna’s Prater Park. The 212ft structure has been synonymous with the city since it was erected for Emperor Franz Jospeh’s Golden Jubilee in 1897 on the old Imperial hunting grounds. The wooden, wagon-shaped gondolas rotate on a large steel frame offering panoramic views of the city and surrounding fairground; the interiors are covered in graffiti left by lovers and rebels over the decades..

For a travel article, it’s a quick but more-ish read of some nicely organised info and a pleasant sense of history to boot. Worth a visit for at least a few dozen extra interesting and noteworthy facts whether or not you’re planning to travel Europe to see the oldest theme parks.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20120626-europes-grand-old-theme-parks


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