Celebrated on the third week of June, this year National Roller Coaster week is from June 16 to 22. It’s a week of fun and excitement. You can catch the thrill with your friends and family as you visit the nearest amusement park. Experience the adrenaline rush roller coasters have to offer. What’s more, this week-long celebration also promotes the amusement park industry and boosts customer sales. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, it’s the best excuse to seek out the most thrilling roller coaster rides across the country. Find out the exciting ways to celebrate National Roller Coaster Week.
History of National Roller Coaster Week
Roller coasters date back to the seventeenth century. Russians invented the so-called ‘gravity rides’ more popularly known as ‘Russian Mountains.’ These were man-made hills of ice constructed in St. Petersburg. They were popular with the upper class and elites. Catherine II of Russia requested to have one of these slides built on her property.
The first real roller coaster ride that featured a cart on a slope was built in 1784 by James the third. He raced in the Gardens of Oreinbaum, St. Petersburg. Despite this claim, some historians believe that the first roller coaster ride was built in Paris in 1812. This was ‘Les Montagnes Russes à Belleville’ or ‘The Russian Mountains of Belleville’ — but instead of ice, the French used wooden rollers. The modern roller coaster was developed by La Marcus Thompson in 1884. Widely known as the father of roller coasters, Thompson built a switchback railway in Coney Island. It is the model for roller coasters that we know today. The railway roller coaster became very popular. It was adopted by several amusement parks with bigger and grander designs. To stay competitive, Thompson continued to develop and improve his model from 1884 to 1887.
Designers and engineers began to construct taller and bigger rides, climbing as high as 100 feet. In 1955 when roller coasters gained national attention, Walt Disney founded Disneyland. This was history’s first theme park, featuring roller coaster rides that were popular with kids and adults. The Cedar Point theme park boasts 17 roller coasters.
National Roller Coaster Week timeline
The Russians construct the first gravity ride made of ice hills.
James the third of St. Petersburg develops the first gravity ride that features a cart.
La Marcus Thompson invents the first roller coaster ride on a switchback railway in Coney Island.
Walt Disney pioneers the first roller coaster in theme parks upon the establishment of Disneyland.
National Roller Coaster Week FAQs
When was the first National Roller Coaster Week?
The first National Roller Coaster Week was proclaimed by the U.S. Congress in 1996.
What is the oldest roller coaster in the world?
Founded in 1902, the oldest roller coaster in the world is ‘Leap-the-Dips’ in Pennsylvania.
What is the safest roller coaster in the world?
While roller coaster accidents are one in 750 million, ‘Black Pool Pleasure Beach’ owns the safest roller coaster with state-of-the-art laser-operated, electromagnetic mechanisms.
National Roller Coaster Week Activities
Tag a friend to ride with you
Grab your fearless buddy and experience the fun, thrill, and adrenaline of a roller coaster. There’s no better way to spend this week-long holiday than experiencing the rides yourself.
Take a trip to Disneyland
Take a trip to California or Florida, depending on which coast you're on, and enjoy the happiest place on Earth! Experience the best roller coaster rides in America’s first theme park.
Track the best amusement parks
If you’re up for a road trip, get in your car and track the best amusement parks in your region. Once you find one, post a photo on social media using the hashtag #NationalRollerCoasterWeek.
5 Important Facts About Roller Coasters
There do not have circular loops
To build a centripetal force, engineers do not build perfectly circular loops in roller coasters.
The world’s tallest roller coaster
With a height of 465 feet, the world’s tallest roller coaster is the Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.
The world’s fastest roller coaster
With a speed that goes from 0 to 149mph in four seconds, the world’s fastest roller coaster is the Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
The world’s longest roller coaster
With a length of 1.5 miles, the world’s longest roller coaster is the Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land, Japan.
The first roller coaster carried coal
The first roller coaster was designed to carry coal before people recognized its potential as an amusement park ride.
Why We Love National Roller Coaster Week
We love the adrenaline!
For most people, riding a roller coaster is like an out-of-body experience. There’s simply nothing like the experience of speed, height, and screams from people.
It brings back outdoor fun
In a digital age where kids’ version of fun is playing on their phones, National Roller Coaster Week brings back the idea of outdoor fun. It’s also a great way to spend a day with your family and friends.
We support the amusement park industry
Celebrating the National Roller Coaster Week also boosts the amusement park industry. It’s a great way to support local amusement parks and help their businesses thrive.
National Roller Coaster Week dates