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Portal:Amusement parks

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Bobbejaanland, Lichtaart, Belgium

An amusement park is a collection of rides and other entertainment attractions assembled for the purpose of entertaining a fairly large group of people. It is more elaborate than a simple city park or playground, which caters for all ages.

Amusement parks evolved in Europe from pleasure gardens, which existed 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 Today, amusement parks have largely been replaced by theme parks, and the two terms are often used interchangeably.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 in the world is Bakken, at Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, which opened in 1583.

Amusement parks collect much of their revenue from admission fees paid by guests attending the park. Other revenue sources include parking fees, food and beverage sales and souvenirs. Some parks charge an entry fee which allows unlimited access to all attractions, whereas others offer free admission but charge guests for each attraction.

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Orcas at Marineland
A marine mammal park (sometimes oceanarium) is a commercial theme park or aquarium where marine mammals such as dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions are kept within water tanks and displayed to the public in special shows. A marine mammal park is more elaborate than a dolphinarium, because it also features other marine mammals and offers additional entertainment attractions. It is thus seen as a combination of a public aquarium and an amusement park. Marine mammal parks are different from marine parks, which include natural reserves and marine wildlife sanctuaries such as coral reefs, particularly in Australia.

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A log flume at Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, Germany
Credit: Stefan Scheer

A log flume is an amusement ride consisting of a water flume and artificial hollow logs. Passengers sit inside the logs, which are propelled along the flume by the flow of water. The ride usually culminates with a rapid descent and splashdown into a body of water.

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Selected amusement park

Legoland Windsor entrance gates
Legoland Windsor is a child-oriented theme park in Windsor, Berkshire in England, themed around the Lego toy system. The park opened in 1996 on the site of what was Windsor Safari Park, as the second Lego Group Legoland (the first was Legoland Billund in Denmark). In common with the other Legolands across the world, the park's attractions consist of a mixture of Lego-themed rides, Lego models, and Lego building workshops. The park was acquired by the Blackstone Group in 2005, with the Lego Group retaining part ownership (30%), and is now operated by Merlin Entertainments. Around 1.5 million people visit the park each year, with the season running from March to November. The facilities are mainly targeted at children between two and twelve, although the park is open to all.

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