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Happy National Roller Coaster Day 2012!

By on 08/16/2012

National Roller Coaster Day

Many people don’t realize it, but August 16th is National Roller Coaster Day. It has been ever since the early 1980’s. It’s supposed to be a day of fun to celebrate the King of the Thrill Rides, the roller coaster.

From what I’ve read online, many people claim that August 16, 1898 was chosen as National Roller Coaster Day because it was the day that the roller coaster was first patented. However, my research shows that LaMarcus Thompson was granted the first roller coaster patent in January 1884 for his Switchback Railway at Coney Island, NY. Riders would sit in a coaster car at the top of a wooden structure, then roll straight down a 600 foot, hilly track to the bottom. An elevator mechanism would raise their car up to an identical track, but heading back the opposite direction. After rolling down the second hill, another elevator would raise them back up to where they had started. It cost 5¢ to ride and went all of 6MPH. My, oh my, how times have changed.

The patent for the vertical loop on a roller coaster was issued in August, 1898. I suppose it’s possible that this was the day chosen for National Roller Coaster Day, but I’m not sure why. Regardless of why that day was chosen, the point is to go out and have fun by riding a roller coaster. It doesn’t have to be a 450′ Strata-coaster, or something with 10 inversions. There are roller coasters to satisfy everyone’s personal preference. Just go have fun!

Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino in Primm, NV, right on the California border, has a decent roller coaster called Desperado. For the last couple of years, they have been offering free rides to anyone who stops by on National Roller Coaster Day, and this year is no exception. Since Six Flags Magic Mountain has more roller coasters than any other park on the planet, I figured they would be doing something special on this day. When I called them up to ask what events they had planned, the lady had never even heard of National Roller Coaster Day. She put me on hold to ask someone else. After a few minutes, she came back and said they don’t have anything planned. Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel that their Marketing department is really missing a huge opportunity here. Thoughts?


  1. Evan

    08/16/2012 at 6:18 am

    I don’t know of any Six Flags parks that have plans for this. A huge opportunity to make moo-lah and they didn’t even know about it.

    On another note, today is the first day of school for most people (including myself) in the SCV. Magic Mountain probably wouldn’t have made much money anyways.

    • Kurt

      08/16/2012 at 6:54 am

      Even if they don’t make lots of money from the event, it’s all about the marketing: “It’s National Roller Coaster Day and we’ve got more of them than anyone on the planet. Come on down, there’s something for everyone!”

      As for the schools, most other states don’t go back until after Labor Day, so there are still lots of people on their summer vacation. That’s why SFMM doesn’t cut back their hours until the day after Labor Day.


    08/16/2012 at 7:10 am

    Love that shot!!! And yes, Happy National Roller Coaster Day!!

    • Kurt

      08/16/2012 at 7:23 am

      Thanks, Jimmy. It’s one of my favorite distance shots of the park. I just wish it hadn’t been so hazy that day. I like how it shows the doubling of coaster heights – 100′ Colossus, 200′ Goliath, then 400′ Superman.

  3. Frosti Pawz

    08/16/2012 at 8:45 am


  4. Jeff Wesson

    08/16/2012 at 10:20 am

    Well Kurt, I guess Magic Mountain listened to you! They just posted this on Facebook:

    Six Flags Magic Mountain
    It’s National Roller Coaster Day! Which one is your favorite of all time from the coaster capital of the world?

    • Kurt

      08/16/2012 at 10:35 am

      Well would you look at that! 🙂

      • Jeff Wesson

        08/16/2012 at 12:06 pm

        Maybe you should work for their marketing dept!

  5. Kyle

    08/16/2012 at 5:37 pm

    Happy National Roller Coaster Day!

    Oh, and are the supports still behind Apocalypse, and has there been any prep work?

    • Evan

      08/16/2012 at 5:39 pm

      They’re still back there but I haven’t seen any visible prep work through out the park.

      • Kyle

        08/16/2012 at 5:47 pm

        Oh ok, thanks.

  6. The Coaster Critic

    08/16/2012 at 6:57 pm

    I’d first seen sites call this the day of the first coaster patent, but I’ve found better resources and you’re right. It’s tied to a looping coaster patent. Kind of weird considering it wasn’t even the first looper.

    Happy Roller Coaster Day to you Kurt!

  7. Tyler

    06/27/2013 at 8:35 am

    I went to Buffalo Bill’s last year and rode the Desperado 18 times for free. It was a blast but my legs started to hurt cause the lap bar. I plan on doing the same this year!

  8. Pingback: Tag der Achterbahn – National Roller Coaster Day USA - 16. August

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