"John Ratzenberger's Made In America" just featured a nice little segment on the history of America's first theme park.
The segment showed some of the rides, including their Boomerang, (which they showed when discussing Knott's having the first steel looper/or looper in general, as Corkscrew is no longer there). The main focus though, was on the history of the park, and how it started, as a way to entertain customers waiting to eat at the now famous restaurant.
I've never been to Knott's, but would love to go one of these days.
Knott's Berry Farm is REALLY Fun!!! I'm from NYC, and used to places like Great Adventure, so when I went there, the place was AMAZING, and cutting edge rides too, Perilous Plunge was AMAZING, BIG splash, I was a little wary about restraints on a water ride, but it turned out to be good, not to mention the other rides, like Ghost Rider, Xcelerator, Boomerang, etc. It is so worth the wait, especially with all the Boysenberry products they have, I have NEVER tried boysenberry till I went to Knott's, Boysenberry Punch, Boysenberry Pie, you name it, I tried it at Knott's, and I LOVED it...The only park on the East Coast the BEST resembles Knott's Berry, would have to be HersheyPark, that's in my opinion, I'm going WAY off topic, hahaha, I say that, because, they both have a Rocket coaster, a GOOD wooden coaster, and most importantly a mainstaple food item, Knott's Boysenberry, Hershey, CHOCOLATE...Anywayz, didn't catch the Travel Channel special, but I know it must've been good.
.. if you like videos that show the origins of things (this one being how KBF Haunt), I HIGHLY recomend "Season of Screams". It goes back to the very first Haunt at Knott's and shows how things have evolved and gives you a pretty good behind the scenes look at things.
Although there weren't any mechanical rides then (I believe you could take stagecoach rides), Knott's Ghosttown opened before 1946. So as long as you still consider it a theme park without the mechanical rides, it was the first theme park. *** Edited 12/29/2004 4:02:30 PM UTC by Blaster_1578***
According to some of the videos I have here at home HW was the first "Theme" park, opening even before Disneyland. But HW was not the first "amusement" park, that honor probably would belong to Coney, Luna, or Dreamland.
Talking about how rides were put in at KBF early on to give people something to do while waiting to eat at the restaurant, I wonder if there couldn't be a separate classification for those type parks. Meaning rides at parks like KBF weren't the destination back then, they were for killing time.
Similarly, on one of my videos, "Great Old Amusement Parks", places like Whalom Park, for one, rides weren't the destination, necessarily. Rides were put in at Whalom to encourage people to ride the trains on weekends back then.
Parks like Dollywood, today, seem to keep some of that tradition alive today. If you're going there to ride rides alone, you're going to be disappointed. There's a lot more history than anything in that park.
Knott's Ghost Town opened quite a few years before either HW or Storytown were built, in the late thirties, early forties as I recall. It was indeed a "themed attraction" by current definition, and therefore can be considered the first theme park.