THEME AND AMUSEMENT PARKS

The term "theme park" may have been invented in the post-Disneyland

era, but the concept has been around for hundreds of years. Bakken, in

Copenhagen, which claims to be the world's oldest amusement park, dates

back to the sixteenth century, and world's fairs and exhibitions have been

entertaining the masses since the Victorian Era (if not earlier).

Chances are, there's a theme park or amusement park within com-

muting distance of your vacation spot. These Web sites can help you check

what's available:

Amusement Park and Roller Coaster Links

http://users.sgi.net/~rollocst/amuse.html

This aptly named collection of pages has links to hundreds of parks,

rides, observation towers, and related sites.

Theme Parks

http://themeparks.miningco.com

Robert Brown interprets his topic broadly, providing vast numbers

of links and scores of articles on theme parks, amusement parks,

and zoos around the world. Don't miss the "Ride Physics" links,

which will help you understand how engineers harness the forces of

nature to leave you trembling after a 60-second ride.

Theme Parks Forum

http://expedia.msn.com/forums/theme/

Microsoft Expedia's Theme Parks Forum has bulletin boards and

chat rooms, plus links to host Gary Bungart's "park stats" at

www.themeparks.com.

 

Personal plug: One of my own favorite theme parks is Legoland in

Billund Denmark. A U.S. version recently opened in Carlsbad, California,

just north of San Diego . You can visit its Web site at

http://www.legolandca.com.

Finally, if you happen to visit Copenhagen between late April and

late September, allow at least half a day for:

Tivoli Gardens

http://www.tivoligardens.com

In my article on this downtown theme park at Europe for Visitors,

I wrote:

Tivoli 's charter required that 75% of the site had to be open space

and that rule—still observed—is one reason why Tivoli feels more

like a public garden than a theme park. A buglike roller coaster

whirls through the treetops; a Ferris wheel overlooks park benches

and flower beds; small motorboats make circles on a scenic lake

While teenagers play games in video arcades, their younger

siblings enjoy a clown show or wave at the costumed king and

queen (both children) in the Tivoli Guard parade. Businesspeople

wheel and deal over expense account meals, and lovers cuddle on

benches as 110,000 bulbs create a romantic glow from dusk until

midnight or 1:00 A.M.