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The History of Amusement Parks

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Since industrialization era, each technological advancement has rewarded us humans with today’s modern-day luxury – Time. Somewhere between the strokes of spare-time, the birth of “Amusement Industry” took place.

Restricted to fun fairs set-up along the beaches and exhibitions in open spaces, since its advent in the early 18th Century, Amusement Industry today has evolved as a multi-billion business. It employs nearly 4% of the total world population and engages almost 16% of the total population daily!

Let’s flip the pages backwards..

The birth of Amusement park goes back to the 11th century in the land of Monarchs – England. A formal charter was passed by his Majesty Henry I to support clothing manufacturers a platform to exhibit their work (also the cradle of modern-day exhibitions) Bartholomew Fair. As years passed by, it evolved from a “Trade fair” to “Trade-cum-Pleasure fair” which started attracting mob from all class & creeds across England.

Further, in the timeline, advancement in the extraction of iron & steel industry started penetrating its root in Europe. It created a course for many mass-movement industries like railways, shipbuilding and export Industries. With each advancement, the amusement industry gradually built its fate for upcoming years – The Exponential Growth.

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Earlier, Amusement industry, while still in a process to make its mark, was a mobile business. Groups moved their fair from one place to another, depending on location, festivals, & sometimes even as per seasons.  The concept of stationary amusement parks further developed with the beginning of world’s fairs in the late 19th century. Locomotive engines & rail network proved to be the early precursors that led to the foundation of Stationary parks. It is believed that the vision of Walt Disney to set up a theme park was influenced by memories of his childhood visiting fairs like the Columbian Exposition Fair.

img2The first permanently enclosed entertainment area & also regulated by a single company was launched in Coney Island in 1895 as Park at Coney Island, Brooklyn. (Americas 1st Amusement park).  There were other parks which stemmed around the same time. Coney Island also featured Luna Park (1903) and Dreamland (1904). Hence, Coney Island can rightly be said as “The homeland of modern amusement parks.

 

The Golden Age – Transition from World War to World Wide Web

Post-World-War II, the practice of nation-building had begun, while new treaties paved way for new nations. Businesses and Industries which were stalled regained their vigour. Employment was generated and there was a substantial increase in the amount of disposable income. Source of entertainment shifted from indoor means like radio & television to outdoor activities like picnics, excursions & fun activities. Gradually, the golden age revolutionized and gave birth to many amusement destinations. Many of which are still operating as we read this article.

DID YOU KNOW??

By 1960-70, Hip- Pop culture took roots in American culture. Information technology, ease of banking and financial transactions was undergoing a paradigm shift. The concept of branding took birth. Chains of fast service food-chains, retail outlets, introduction of the billing machine, aviation revolution, invention of Worldwide Web- all happened between 1950 to 2000. The advancements in technology further fuelled businesses and generated new opportunities for the amusement industry.

Modern marvels of the industry.

Today, with penetration of Nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligence, every Theme and Amusement park spins a unique story of its own. Simulation technology, use of 3D motions and screens have elevated the concept of Amusement industry nothing less than a museum to showcase the integration of latest inventions and tools that can touch and create an overwhelming experience for its visitors.

We now know that the amusement industry had witnessed its own roller coaster journey in terms of its development & it’s still undergoing paradigm shift every new age it enters into. While this amazing industry adapts to the inevitable changes of time & continues to entertain us, its visitors would always look forward to visiting parks with friends & family to engage in outdoor activities and stay healthy & happy!!

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