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Ready? Are you ready to drop more than 90 feet in seconds, twist, turn, flip upside down and back again at more than 50 mph? Or maybe you just want to take a selfie on one of the new, highly anticipated roller coasters and thrill rides debuting at theme parks this summer. Happy Memorial Day! There are also plenty of new attractions aimed at younger families and water rides, too. Boy, have thrill rides come a long way since they first appeared in 17th-century Russia. According to UltimateRollercoaster.com, these early coasters were built out of lumber and topped with a sheet of ice or snow and riders climbed the stairs and sped down the more than 50 degree drop on sleds. Catherine the Great was said to be a big fan and built some at her palaces for winter festivals.
Today, Alpine coasters are increasingly popular at ski resorts winter and summer and you can often control the speed — from the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster at Snowmass in Colorado to the Park City, Utah Alpine Coaster, to Killington, Vermont’s Beast Alpine coaster, just to name a few. But summer is when millions of us dare each other to ride the fastest, tallest, scariest coasters, and have since the 1920s — the famous Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz, California, boardwalk opened in 1925; the Coney Island Cyclone two years later, and they are among the historic wooden coasters you can still enjoy today. When was your first thrill ride? For my kids, it seemed as much a rite of passage as riding a two-wheeler. Just don’t fudge the height requirements (no standing on tiptoes!) Those rules are there for a reason. And certainly don’t force a child to ride. You might swear them off thrill rides — or even trying something out of …
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