A Summer of Thrills

They call this one the “Dominator” (Dorney Park, PA)

“Want to know what it’s like to be suspended atop a 10-story building?”

There it is. The question that I brushed off so easily because I thought plummeting down dozens of feet wouldn’t be too bad. Boy, was I wrong.

Instead of being O.K., I found my heartbeat roaring in my ears as I was suspended atop an elevator-style ride Saturday morning. The purity of a blue sky and warm sun on my face calmed me down a bit, but the unexpected free-fall I experienced two seconds later (almost) killed me.

I visited Allentown’s Dorney Park this past Saturday, and all I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed my stay. I have always been fascinated with theme parks. There’s no doubt about it. Looking up at the looming monstrosities in various amusement parks growing up only made me want to experience them even more. Some rides seemed too daring for even the bravest of souls, but as I grew older, I found myself enthralled with the danger.

Sensation-seeking. That’s what they call it. According to Psychology Today (x), sensation seekers have the tendency to pursue sensory pleasure and excitement, while taking risks in the pursuit of such experience. Basically, we search for something we don’t think we can get in this world, and that is what makes us want more.

Luckily, my sensation-seeking soul has been subject to infinite happiness because I have been fortunate enough to visit various theme parks this Summer.

In May, I visited Six Flags Great Adventure, and rode every roller-coaster in that beauty of a park.

In June, I visited Lake Compounce and made sure to conquer its most daring scream machines. (This park is known for its water rides, but they’re terrifying nonetheless. I will be going back later in August)

And finally, this past weekend, I visited Dorney Park, and I let my soul roam free. (I also took a ton of pictures, so enjoy!)

Now, I’ve had a few theories on why people find amusement parks so pleasurable.

Perhaps we are all passively suicidal. Maybe that’s the reason we wish to dangle hundreds of feet in the air. Or, maybe it’s the feeling of entering a completely different world that fuels our fearless spirits.

For me, I think it’s a combination of both.

I fear death, yet I want to feel it.

I live in a world that’s suitable for me, yet I want to leave it.

One of my favorite things about being on a ride is the moment when you reach the peak of a tremendous drop. Everything seems so clear–so reachable. That’s one of the reasons I have such a sincere appreciation for amusement parks. They obliterate the stresses of the world temporarily.

It still amazes me that some people prefer to remain on ground level, while I find immense joy in being thrown into the air like a football. I love the adventure, and I’m proud to say that I have conquered my fair share of clanging metal.

If you guys enjoy theme parks as much as I do, let me know what your favorite park/ride is in the comments below!

-Sara

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