Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 Facts About Amusement Parks

Stacy Conradt
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With the long Fourth of July weekend coming up, I bet at least some of our _flossy readers are headed to an amusement park to celebrate with roller coasters, cotton candy and water slides. So to give you some food for thought while you're waiting to ride the Scrambler, here are a few random facts about the parks that keep us entertained.

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3. Disney World was nearly located in St. Louis, Missouri, which would have been awesome for me. But legend has it that August Busch, Jr., of Anheuser Busch, ruined it for me. Supposedly when he heard of Disney's plans for a family-oriented park with no alcohol readily available for tired parents, he ridiculed Walt and said it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard. Walt shrugged and decided that maybe St. Louis didn't want his business. Now, this is just a story. There are lots of reasons Florida was chosen to host Disney World instead of St. Louis, but you have to admit this one is more fun.

4. If a sex-themed amusement park sounds a little off-kilter to you, you're not the only one: just last month, China shut down "Love Land," a theme park with demonstrations, naked sculptures and enormous replicas of genitals, and a display about the history of sex. The park hadn't even opened yet when it was mysteriously demolished over the course of a weekend in May.

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6. Dollywood had a different owner before Dolly took it over "“ then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell. At that time, the park was known as Goldrush Junction and was advertised as "Tennessee's Million Dollar Fun Attraction" (as opposed to Tennessee's Million Dollar Melancholy Attraction"¦?).

7. Tivoli Gardens in Denmark is one of the oldest operating amusement parks in the world. It opened in 1843 and is reportedly one of Walt Disney's inspirations for his parks. The park's first proprietor, Georg Carstensen, got permission from King Christian VIII to build the park by saying, "When the people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics."

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What's your favorite theme park? If I exclude Disney, I have to say my favorite is Worlds of Fun. I never have been a big fan of Six Flags. Of course, when Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens next year, I might be changing my tune.

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