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National Roller Coaster Day: August 16th

By on 08/16/2013

National Roller Coaster Day

In case you weren’t aware, August 16th is National Roller Coaster Day. It has been ever since the early 1980′s. It’s the one day a year that we celebrate the King of the Thrill Rides, the roller coaster.

Many people claim that August 16 was chosen as National Roller Coaster Day because August 16, 1898 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 Gravity Pleasure Railway at Coney Island, NY. Riders would sit in a coaster car (and I’m using that term loosely) 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. Times have changed considerably since then!

The first patent for a 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 August 16th 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!

Much of this post was recycled from the National Roller Coaster Day 2012 post I wrote last year. I’ve done a little more research since then, but still haven’t found any solid evidence as to why this date was chosen. If you know why, please leave a comment and enlighten us.

26 Comments

  1. Faisal

    08/16/2013 at 12:24 pm

    Hey coasterguy. I’m a just a guy a from the UK and I have to say, ever since I got into theme parks as a whole, MM is looking like the best park to me ! This website you have going is fantastic, so much so that I’ve even bookmarked it so i can check in on it time to time. I just wish to say thank you for doing so much and any idea for the Six Flags Magic Mountain’s newest attraction (i.e roller coaster ?!)
    Thanks !

    • The Coaster Guy

      08/16/2013 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it. They’ve been so tight lipped this year that I honestly have no idea what they are going to announce for 2014. I guess we’ll all find out together on 8/29!

      • Faisal

        08/17/2013 at 8:55 am

        Thanks ! I used to think the parks in my country were great and in fairness they are in themselves but the American parks are out of this world ! My local park has 5 roller coasters and I used to think that was a lot until I found out Magic Mountain has 18 !!
        I guess the special announcement will have us all on the edge of our seats !

  2. Francisco O.

    08/16/2013 at 2:00 pm

    Funny…today’s my birthday

    • The Coaster Guy

      08/16/2013 at 2:15 pm

      Happy Birthday…go ride a coaster! 🙂

      • Francisco

        08/16/2013 at 6:39 pm

        Thanks Kurt, and i wish i could head out to Magic Mountain today but i had school.

  3. Brenden

    08/16/2013 at 9:47 pm

    I went to Six Flags today totally unaware of this! Thanks! I took my mom to her first trip. This inclued FT, X2, Tatsu, Riddlers, Goliath, Superman, and Batman. She loved it all except X2. Too extreme for 2nd ride. 🙂 that’s all from me

  4. Scott C

    08/18/2013 at 4:41 pm

    With no knowledge of this, coincidentally, I was at SFMM! Surprisingly, not a very crowded day. Hope to meet up with you sometime. Just signed up the family to ACE a couple months ago. Surprised to see that there are no upcoming events for the SOCAL members. I was out of town for the Full Throttle event, as well as the Coaster show tapings. Just my luck!

  5. Brenden

    08/22/2013 at 7:33 pm

    Can you do a write-up of your predictions on the 2014 ride? I’m sure we all would be ecstatic to hear what you have to say

    • Misael Soto

      08/22/2013 at 8:28 pm

      what he said 🙂

    • The Coaster Guy

      08/22/2013 at 8:40 pm

      I honestly have no idea what is going to be announced. My best guess is that SFMM will not get a new coaster for 2014. They may get a flat ride, but that’s it. I suspect the big announcement will be that Colossus will be closed and given the Iron Horse treatment for a 2015 grand re-opening. We’ll all find out together next Thursday.

      • Scott C

        08/22/2013 at 9:32 pm

        If they get a flat ride, I sure hope it is a frisbee. Went on my first one on vacation at Hersheypark, called The Claw. It was fantastic!

        • The Coaster Guy

          08/31/2013 at 1:58 pm

          I love Frisbees! I’m sad we don’t have one. 🙁

          • Scott C

            09/03/2013 at 7:59 am

            I rode the one at Knotts a couple weekends ago. It is such a great ride.
            To think, the first time I stared at the one in Hershey, I would not go on it with my 14 y/o daughter.
            She gave me some crap when she got off of it, so, I decided to go on it.
            Funnest….flat ride…..ever!! IMHO of course!

  6. Casey

    08/24/2013 at 1:44 pm

    Anyone heard of the show Ride-iculous? Lex Luthor was featured on it this week.

    • Eric

      08/25/2013 at 12:11 am

      I was a part of the filming of that show back in February. Lex Luthor wasn’t working right, so they weren’t able to get any footage that day. I did a few rides on it, but every time, the catch car would not release the gondola, and it would be stuck at the top for as long as five minutes. We also got lunch catered in from Panera Bread, so it wasn’t a total loss. They even had enough to send box lunches home with us!

      Since I missed the show, I hope it repeats at some point. I’d like to see the end product, even though I’m not likely on the show.

      • Scott C

        08/26/2013 at 11:53 am

        If you have Travel Channel on your home TV service, it looks like you can view it online!

  7. Looper

    08/24/2013 at 8:31 pm

    Ya Lex was featured after showing a Zip-Line that went 100mph in NZ.

  8. James

    08/28/2013 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Kurt,

    Have you been to the park recently?

    Do you know what is happening with X2 ?

    • Brenden

      08/28/2013 at 4:04 pm

      I was there Saturday and it was down. I was informed at the Sky Tower that it is just maintainance. Since the car is out of the station, the work is most likely being done inside the station.

      • James

        08/28/2013 at 9:43 pm

        I thought the chain had snapped, no?

    • The Coaster Guy

      08/31/2013 at 2:00 pm

      The unofficial reports I’ve gotten is that the lift hill chain broke.

    • Eric

      11/11/2013 at 10:27 pm

      I heard/read something about the lift-hill chain breaking on X2… if that’s the case, X2 will likely be closed for a while, until the broken chain is replaced with a new chain. SFOG’s Ninja was closed during the first 2 months of 2013 seasons because of broken lift-hill chain, which has since been replaced with a new chain.

  9. blake

    08/29/2013 at 3:03 am

    BATMAN AND COLOSSUS GOING BACKWORD’S IN 2014 AND A NEW KIDI COASTER AND BONZI PIPE LINES

  10. Kieran

    08/29/2013 at 8:03 am

    Lex Luthor has been beaten.

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