Authored by Mark Peters in United States
Published on 12-30-2008
Many of the most exciting destinations for family fun have always been amusement parks, and the biggest attractions there are usually the roller coasters. There is a unique history involved in the evolution of roller coasters. What started as wooden structures with slow rolling hills has grown to giant metal behemoths with terrifying loops and vertical drops. The newest roller coasters today have the ability to send their riders at speeds of well over one hundred miles per hour through an amazing array of loops, drops, and inversions. There are many people out there who classify themselves as roller coaster enthusiasts who travel around the country, or even the world, in an attempt to experience as many different roller coasters as possible. Some enjoy roller coasters of all kinds, while other enthusiasts seek out the ones featuring the tallest drops or most loops. Still, there are those that pursue roller coasters in a more nostalgic way, seeking out the classic versions from yesterday. Here is a look at the tallest, longest, fastest and oldest roller coasters in the United States.
The tallest roller coaster in the United States sits at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. The record belongs to Kingda Ka which measures in at 456 feet tall and is also the tallest roller coaster in the entire world. Kingda Ka also holds the record for the tallest drop with a 418 foot plunge taking place during the ride. The roller coaster has the ability to have four trains of cars operational on its tracks at any given time.
The Millennium Force roller coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is the longest roller coaster in the United States. The total length of the Millennium Force roller coaster is 6,595 feet. From the rides tallest point, a great view of Lake Erie s available to the riders before they plunge nearly 300 feet down. At the time it opened in 2000, Millennium Force held a number of world records in the roller coaster world including farthest drop.
Making a reappearance on the list, the fastest roller coaster in the United States is also the fastest roller coaster in the entire world. Kingda Ka from Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey takes its passengers to a maximum speed of 128 miles per hour just 3.5 seconds after the launch of the ride. Being an open air ride and traveling at such a high speed, the ride actually shuts down during even the lightest of rainfall due to the impact of raindrops at that speed causing discomfort to the passengers.
There are a couple of different categories to consider for oldest roller coaster in the United States. The oldest operating wooden frame roller coaster is the Leap-The-Dips coaster at Lakemont Park, Pennsylvania which was first operational in 1902. Leap-The-dips is also the last side friction roller coaster in North America. It ceased operating in 1985 due to safety concerns, but with the help of a fund raising campaign was restored and eventually reopened in 1999. The ride accelerates to a maximum speed of ten miles per hour and only reaches a height of 41 feet at its tallest point. The oldest steel frame roller coaster is actually the Matterhor Bobsled rides at California’s famous Disneyland which were installed in 1959.
Riding roller coasters is still a fun activity enjoyed by many adults and children, whether they think of themselves as thrill seekers or not. Roller coasters have a long history of entertaining millions of riders and the United States is home to some of the best roller coasters in the world. Many of the greatest roller coasters are within an easy drive from almost any point in the country. Taking the family to an amusement park to enjoy the thrills and chills of a roller coaster has never been easer now that amusement parks have spread across the country and can be found in so many locations. While there are many things to do on a fine summer day, few things compare with enjoying a trip on roller coaster, whether its the tallest, longest, fastest, oldest, or not.