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Association offers thrilling news



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'Safety first' is an good rule to use when exploring amusement parks.
More people visited amusement parks throughout the world than ever before in 2002.

In the United States, 324 million people packed the nation's 600 amusement parks and attractions. Here are some new experiences to enjoy and tips for getting the most out of your next visit, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions:

New attractions

• Mission — Space-flight simulators have been adapted to create a ride system where guests "blast off" into orbit on their way to Mars. (At Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla.)

• 4-D Films — Attractions featuring traditional 3-D films with an added dimension, such as live action, or other interactive features like sprays, scents or motion seats. Based on popular movies and TV shows, including "Shrek'' and "Sponge-Bob SquarePants," these attractions are appearing in many parks.

• Top Thrill Dragster — The world's first roller coaster to top the 400-foot mark, this behemoth reaches speeds of 120 mph. (At Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio.)

• Waterparks — Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Va., has added a themed, interactive action river. Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., which already bills itself as the largest waterpark in the country, has added several nontraditional waterpark rides.

Consumer tips

• Dress comfortably, but avoid open-toed shoes and dangling clothing or jewelry.

Protect yourself with sunscreen and headgear, even on cloudy days.

• Observe all posted rules, and follow the verbal instructions given by ride operators.

• Obey all listed age, height, weight and health restrictions.

• Keep hands, arms, legs and feet inside the ride at all times, and remain in the ride until it comes to a complete stop and you are instructed by a ride operator to exit the ride.

• Always use safety equipment provided.

The IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities worldwide. To learn more, visit www.iaapa.org.

  • Sunset Ford
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