Amusement parks and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment attractions, rides, and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people. An amusement park is more elaborate than a simple city park or playground, usually providing attractions meant to cater specifically to certain age groups, as well as some that are aimed towards all ages. Theme parks, a specific type of amusement park, are usually much more intricately themed to a certain subject or group of subjects than normal amusement parks.
Amusement parks evolved from European fairs and pleasure gardens, which were created for people's recreation. The oldest amusement park in the world is Bakken, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, which opened in 1583. In the United States, world's fairs and expositions were another influence on development of the amusement park industry. Amusement parks have a fixed location, as opposed to traveling funfairs and carnivals.
In common language, the terms "theme park" and "amusement park" are often synonymous. However, a "theme park" can be regarded as a distinct style of amusement park. A theme park has landscaping, buildings, and attractions that are based on one or more specific themes or stories. Despite many older parks adding themed rides and areas, qualifying the park as a theme park, the first park built with the original intension of promoting a specific theme, Santa Claus Land located in Santa Claus, Indiana, did not open until 1946. Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California, built around the concept of encapsulating multiple theme parks into a single amusement park is often mistakenly cited as the first themed amusement park, but is instead the park that made the idea popular.
Famous quotes containing the words amusement and/or park:
“Business is, emphatically, the amusement of Americans, and, to be in keeping with their character, every thing written for their amusement should partake of the useful.”
—H., U.S. womens magazine contributor. American Ladies Magazine (February 1828)
“Linnæus, setting out for Lapland, surveys his comb and spare shirt, leathern breeches and gauze cap to keep off gnats, with as much complacency as Bonaparte a park of artillery for the Russian campaign. The quiet bravery of the man is admirable.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)