From Gardens to Rollercoasters: A Brief History of Amusement Parks

From Gardens to Rollercoasters: A Brief History of Amusement Parks

Throughout history, humans have always craved a sense of thrill and an affinity for different forms of entertainment and attraction at all different scales and sizes. Theme parks have continuously evolved, as society redefines what it means to be entertained, and have transformed from evening strolls into physics-defying twists and turns on state-of-the-art rollercoasters.

Long before what we know them to be today, the theme park concept emerged in Europe during the Renaissance era. Taking on the form of themed festivals usually timed around religious holidays and seasonal harvests, crowds gathered in public squares to share food, marvel at foreign objects, participate in games such as javelin throwing and archery, and of course, watch knights joust. Towards the 18th century, pleasure gardens replaced these historic fairs as a way to entertain the middle class. These gardens featured heavily designed parks where guests could walk around, listen to live music, watch dancers and acrobats perform, and finish the evening with extravagant firework shows. They quickly evolved into socialite events where people would show off their fanciest clothes and where artists and architects would exhibit their newest work. These pleasure gardens jumped across the pond and caught on in New York City, which soon added small rides to these events, including the first carousel in North America.

From Gardens to Rollercoasters: A Brief History of Amusement Parks - Image 3 of 6
White City Theme Park. Image © Michael Perna CC-BY-ND 2.0

Eventually, the pleasure garden concept declined in popularity and the rise of the types of theme parks that closely align with what we are familiar with today began to spring up across the United States. Many of the American trolley car systems that operated during the late 1800s

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Linda Cook review: ‘LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation’ is goofy galactic getaway

Borderline daffy, always clever and full of Easter Eggs to give die-hard “Star Wars” fans a chuckle, “LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation” is a fun getaway.

The idea is simple: Finn takes his friends out for one last cruise before they head down different paths.

Among the vacationers are Rey, R2-D2, C-3PO and Chewbacca. They’re all aboard a luxurious Galactic Starcruiser, the Halcyon – yes, the same one featured in Galaxy’s Edge.

Finn ends up getting separated from the rest of his friends. He’s disappointed with the way things are going, and ends up getting advice from a few familiar Force entities. And, a la “A Christmas Carol,” he has conversations with three ghosts from The Force: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Leia Organa and Anakin Skywalker, all of whom share stories about vacations that didn’t go as they expected.

Just as the spirits in a “A Christmas Carol” do, each gives Finn some wisdom that helps him learn more not only about himself, but also about vacations in general.

Obi-Wan Kenobi relates a tale of helping a Rebel spy, Leia remembers when young Kylo took the Millennium Falcon to try to impress a girl he has a crush on, and there’s also a story about a beach vacation with the Emperor.

If it sounds spiritual, it sort of is, but it’s never serious enough to be dramatic. How can a movie with a new song from Weird Al Yankovic – also playing a character – be a drama?

It’s a short movie, and it moves fast, so it might take you more than one viewing to catch all the references, which include Anakin’s distaste for sand, mention of a trash compactor, and Darth Vader in beach gear.

Kids will love it, but of course they won’t get as many of the

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