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Amusement park (also called theme park) is the generic term for a collection of rides and other entertainment attractions assembled for the purpose of entertaining a fairly large group of people. An amusement park is more elaborate than a simple city park or playground, as an amusement park is meant to cater to adults, teenagers, and small children.
An amusement park may be permanent or temporary, usually periodic, such as a few days or weeks per year. The temporary (often annual) amusement park with mobile rides etc. is called a funfair or carnival.
Theme parks is a more narrowly defined category of an amusement park. Which are permanent facilities that use architecture, signage, landscaping to help convey the feeling that people are in a different place or time. Often a theme park will have various 'lands' (sections) of the park devoted to telling a particular story. Disneyland in California (USA) was the first theme park. Alternatively, an amusement park often has rides with little in terms of theming or additional design elements. For the most part, theme parks are the highest quality form of an amusement park.
Amusement parks evolved in Europe from Pleasure Gardens which used to exist for the recreation of the people, while charging a fee. In the United States, expositions were another influence on the amusement park. Amusement parks were the historical precursors to modern theme parks as well as the more traditional midway arcades and rides at county and state fairs (in the United States). Today, amusement parks have largely been replaced by theme parks, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. The oldest amusement park of the world (opened 1583) is Bakken, at Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Another long-standing park is Prater in Vienna, Austria, which opened in 1766.
For a remarkable example of a European park, dating from 1843 and still existing, see Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen. Even older is the Oktoberfest which is not only a beer festival but also provides a lot of amusement park features, dating back to 1810, when the first event was held in Munich, Germany... more