Frequently Asked Questions

What type of amusement rides do you mean?

Most people would immediately remember roller coasters and merry-go-rounds. Other rides they see at many carnivals include the Scrambler, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Himalaya (circular train on undulating track), bumper cars, Ferris wheels and gondola wheels and the Zipper, and flying swings.

Search the memory and you can recall the pirate ship rides (many people at once, swings like a pendulum) and Miami rides (many people at once, pendulum action, but ride platform stays level), Gravitron and Round-Up (centrifuge action), Octopus/Spider that have centre rotation but separately elevated cars, Enterprise which is like a Ferris wheel that boards flat like a carousel and raises up when rotating.  For the kids, we have teacup/Berry-Go-Round/Barrels of Fun/Dizzy Dragon (riders control speed of spin while whole ride rotates at constant speed), circular kiddie rides involving cars, planes, etc on sweeps or tracks rather than platforms like the carousel. Then there are dry slides and water slides and flume rides and boat rides. There are dark rides (ghost house in a carnival through to the fancy theme park rides). There are walk-throughs (house of mirrors, funhouses) and soft play structures (climbing nets etc), bungees, and the increasingly popular inflatable rides. There are even rides that don’t really move much: motion simulators move a little but mostly they trick your mind into thinking you are moving. New technology is adding to the types of rides that can be built and as a result, the types of forces that a person can be exposed to, but technology is also enhancing the types of safety features available, such as restraints and electronic controls.

There are many rides 20 or 30 years old, and classic carousels are very popular with some 100 years old still running. Worldwide, there are 15-20 coasters over 75 years old. If well maintained, the only limit to a ride’s life span is the market demand and the costs of regular upkeep. Of course, new rides are also always being developed to keep on the competitive edge, and many used rides are purchased by smaller shows from the bigger shows that have replaced them with new rides.