Sometimes, the railway companies also owned the electric utility in a community and would use the parks to showcase electricity (which many homeowners did not have in the parks' early years) by decorating them with many lights. Typically built by lakes, rivers, or beaches, the parks offered swimming along with bandstands, picnic groves, and ball fields. A carousel was often the first amusement ride to open at a park. Roller coasters and spinning rides came later.
According to the National Amusement Park Historical Association, as many as 1,000 trolley parks dotted the U.S. by 1919. As automobiles gained popularity, however, the trains and the parks began to disappear. Today, 11 parks remain. They typically maintain many of the classic rides that have graced their grounds through the years, are often independently owned and operated, and have a decidedly un-corporate look and feel to them.
- Camden Park in Huntington, WV. Opened 1903
- Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH. Opened 1902
- Clementon Park in Clementon, NJ. Opened 1907
- Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. Opened 1884
- Kennywood in West Mifflin, PA. Opened 1898
- Lakemont Park in Altoona, PA. Opened 1894
- Midway Park in Maple Springs, NY. Opened 1898
- Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, OR. Opened 1905
- Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, CT. Opened 1908
- Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester, NY. Opened 1879
- Waldameer Park in Erie, PA. Opened 1896