A roller coaster is a type of amusement ride that employs a form of elevated railroad track designed with tight turns, steep slopes, and sometimes inversions. People ride along the track in open cars, and the rides are often found in amusement parks and theme parks around the world. LaMarcus Adna Thompson obtained one of the first known patents for a roller coaster design in 1885, related to the Switchback Railway that opened a year earlier at Coney Island. The track in a coaster design does not necessarily have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters demonstrate. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers sit and are restrained. Two or more cars hooked together are called a train.
The Russian mountain and the Aerial Promenades
The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called “Russian Mountains”, specially constructed hills of ice located in the area that is now Saint Petersburg, Russia. Built in the 17th century, the slides were built to a height of between 21 and 24 m (70 and 80 feet), had a 50-degree drop, and were reinforced by wooden supports. Later, in 1784, Catherine the Great is said to have constructed a sledding hill in the gardens of her palace at Oranienbaum in St. Petersburg. The name Russian Mountains to designate a roller coaster is preserved in many languages (e.g. the Spanish montaña rusa), but the Russian term for roller coasters is американские горки (“amerikanskiye gorki”), which translates to “American mountains.”
Kings Island is home to some of the top-ranked roller coasters in annual industry and enthusiast polls, including Mystic Timbers, voted by Amusement Today as the “Best New Ride” in 2017. This fun and thrilling wooden roller coaster takes riders on an adventure through 3,265 feet of track through wooded terrain and over water at speeds up to 53 mph. The Beast, which is listed in the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world at a staggering 7,359 feet! Riders sprawl across 35 acres of densely wooded terrain at speeds up to 65 mph on The Beast. Banshee sends riders screaming their way through seven stomach-churning inversions at speeds up to 68 mph on the world’s longest steel inverted roller coaster. Diamondback is currently the tallest and fastest roller coaster at Kings Island. Standing 230 feet tall with a first drop of 215 feet at a 74-degree angle, riders snake their way around 5,282 feet of track at speeds up to 80 mph! Other adrenaline rush activities include Adventure Express, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Bat, The Racer, Flight of Fear and Invertigo. There’s also four roller coasters designed specifically for children and their parents and grandparents to enjoy together. The roller coaster thrills never seem to end at Kings Island.