The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson obtained a patent regarding roller coasters on January 20, 1885, which were made out of wood, but this patent is considerably later than the "Russian mountains" described below. In essence a specialized railroad system, a roller coaster consists of a track that rises in designed patterns, sometimes with one or more inversions (such as vertical loops) that briefly turn the rider upside down. The track does not necessarily have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters demonstrate. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers sit and are restrained. Two or more cars hooked together are called a train. Some roller coasters, notably wild mouse roller coasters, run with single cars.
Europa-Park is the largest theme park in Germany and a second most popular theme park resort in Europe. Having 4.5 million visitors in 2011, it is the most popular seasonal theme park in the world and the second most visited theme park in Europe after Disneyland Paris. Europa-Park is located in Rust, in the south-west of Germany between Freiburg and Strasbourg, France. It is usually open from just before Easter until the beginning of November (summer season) and from the end of November to the second week in January (winter season).
The park is split into sixteen different areas, mostly named after European countries or regions. The park mascot is a grey mouse named "Euromaus" although there are over a dozen other characters that "live" at the park.
Europa-Park is run by the Mack family which have produced vehicles since 1780, circus wagons since 1880 and rollercoasters since 1921. The park was opened in 1975 to act as a showcase for many of their different ride models – for example, the Wild Mouse roller coaster. The amusement ride company is now called Mack Rides. This explains why the park has two of their water coaster models (one a Super Splash model) and is home to the one-of-a-kind Euro-Mir (although Mack do now produce an updated, more compact version of their spinning coaster). One of the few rides that goes against this rule is the Silver Star hyper coaster, designed by B&M of Switzerland. This is presumably because Mack doesn't yet offer a hyper coaster model, although they are now developing taller and faster rollercoasters.