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This is only a brief, generalized history of LUNA PARK and CONEY ISLAND. For more detailed information, visit the excellent links on the LINKS PAGE.

Four main forces were at work creating Coney Island. Each of the four history pages concentrates on one of these four forces.

Captain Paul Boyton

The first force was Captain Paul Boyton, who had become world famous for his many daredevil swimming feats. He opened the first real theme park in America in 1895, entitled SEA LION PARK. 40 performing sea lions were the centerpiece of the park, but there were a number of rides as well.

Sea Lion Park

The most popular was SHOOT THE CHUTES, a high speed descent in a boat down an angled ramp into a splashdown at the bottom. The ramp of the Chutes can be seen in the photo above. Another innovative ride was the FLIP FLAP RAILROAD, a short roller coaster comprised of a single upside-down loop, which was revolutinary in it's day (pun intended). The SEA LION PARK had eight 3-month summer operating seasons (1895-1902), but a horribly rainy 1902 season wreaked financial havoc on the operation, and the owner closed it down.