America’s parks and playgrounds are where most children form their fondest memories. Parks were once considered botanical only, with pathways and picnic areas. Many still resemble the old model, but today, parks have become ‘themed’ and they are no longer just for day outings.
National parks are wonders of nature and there are many across the country. From the Everglades of Florida to the Redwood Forests of California and Yellowstone, they are varied in their natural resources and environment, providing diverse scenes, flora and fauna.
Theme parks, on the other hand, are all man-made, some to resemble nature, with hi-tech roller coasters that are higher and faster than their predecessors, computer generated rides and attractions and anything else an imaginative and innovative staff of designers can throw into the mix.
It costs over $500 million to begin a new theme park. Los Angeles area theme parks and theme parks in Orlando hold the patents, led by Disney, Universal and Busch. They’ve come a very long way from Coney Island’s Steeplechase, Cyclone and Parachute Jump.
According to International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, revenues for theme parks were estimated at $12 billion for the U.S. alone.
Playgrounds have also come a long way, with new types of equipment, more safety features, more landscaping and security. They are local, usually in the neighborhood, making them accessible and enjoyable. They are also maintained by local government.
Bigger and better and safer rides with more technology are what bring in visitors to theme parks.
Safer and more secure playgrounds are municipalities’ goals.
Preservation of natural resources and perpetuation of the National Parks is what Americans are hoping for.
The largest theme park developers are Disney, Universal, Six Flags and Busch.