Amusement park rides have come a long way since the rickety wooden roller coasters of turn-of-the-century boardwalks. Today, headline-making attractions have to be bigger and more extreme than the ones that came before them. When it comes to thrills, these towering coasters stand above the rest.
The list of the tallest roller coasters in the world includes steel behemoths from across the globe. Topping the ranking is Kingda Ka, which takes riders 456 feet off the ground. Since opening at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey in 2005, the ride's hairpin summit has been the peak to beat. It's also the fastest roller coaster in North America with top speeds reaching 128 mph.
The United States also claims the second-tallest roller coaster on Earth. The 420-foot Top Thrill Dragster broke the world record for highest coaster when it debuted at Cedar Point in Ohio in 2003. It held that title for two years before it was dethroned by Kingda Ka.
Red Force at Spain's Ferrari Land is the tallest roller coaster outside the U.S. at 367.3 feet. Japan's Still Dragon 2000 and Canada's Leviathan also make the list of the world's highest coasters in operation. You can read the full round-up below.
Elevation isn't the only quality thrill-seekers look for in their coasters. Speed, length, and the number of twists are vital aspects of the ride experience. Here are the roller coasters that break records in those categories and more.
- Kingda Ka // Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey
- Top Thrill Dragster // Cedar Point, Ohio
- Superman: Escape From Krypton // Six Flags Magic Mount, California
- Red Force // Ferrari Land, Spain
- Fury 325 // Carowinds, North Carolina
- Steel Dragon 2000 // Nagashima Spa Land, Japan
- Millennium Force // Cedar Point, Ohio
- Leviathan // Canada's Wonderland, Canada
- Intimidator 305 // Kings Dominion, Virginia
- Orion // Kings Island, Ohio