Arts & Culture News

Seatbelts Fastened, Hands Up: Happy 50th, Six Flags!

The History Channel offered a shout-out to Six Flags Over Texas in its This Day In History feature on history.com. There were also some notes about Hitler celebrating the opening day of the Olympics and MTV in the video (above), but we cruised on past those and got pretty excited thinking about, well, 50 years of rolly coasters!

Check out an excerpt from the write-up after the jump:

On this day in 1961, amusement park lovers "head for the thrills" as Six Flags Over Texas, the first park in the Six Flags chain, opens. Located on 212 acres in Arlington, Texas, the park was the first to feature log flume and mine train rides and later, the first 360-degree looping roller coaster, modern parachute drop and man-made river rapids ride. The park also pioneered the concept of all-inclusive admission price; until then, separate entrance fees and individual ride tickets were the standard. During its opening year, a day at Six Flags cost $2.75 for an adult and $2.25 for a child. A hamburger sold for 50 cents and a soda set the buyer back a dime.

The park, which took a year and $10 million to build, was the brainchild of Texas real estate developer and oilman Angus Wynne Jr., who viewed it as a short-term way to make a buck from some vacant land before turning it into an industrial complex. Wynne reportedly recouped his personal investment of $3.5 million within 18 months and changed his mind about the park's temporary status. With 17.5 million visitors in its first 10 years, the park became the Lone Star State's top for-profit tourist attraction. Today, average annual attendance at the park is over 3 million.

For the rest of the Six Flags History.com lesson, and a look at what else happened on August 1 (including Anne Frank's capture and last diary entry) click here.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin