On August 3, 1946, the first theme park, Santa Claus Land, opened in Santa Claus, Indiana.
Here are some things you may not know about theme parks.
First, there’s a difference between an amusement park and a theme park. Theme parks are amusement parks built around a particular theme. Santa Claus Land was built by Louis J. Koch after visiting the Indiana town which was not capitalizing on its namesake. The park, obviously, had a Christmas theme, with Santa Claus available year-round. Later the park would change its name to Holiday World and have other areas based on other holidays.
Second, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, began as a fruit stand, and later added fried chicken dinners, which became so popular people would wait hours for a seat. Walter Knott built a ghost town attraction to entertain the people waiting in line. The park was fenced in and admission was charged for the first time in 1968.
Third, Dollywood, a theme park owned by country music entertainer Dolly Parton, began in 1961 as Rebel Railroad, a train ride with a Civil War theme. Parton bought the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, park in 1986 and renamed it. Since then, the park has doubled in size and welcomes more than 3 million guests a year.
Our question: Where did the first Ferris wheel debut?
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