Do people really scatter loved ones' ashes in amusement parks?

Is it your dream to ride your favorite attraction forever? Your odds aren’t good.
Is it your dream to ride your favorite attraction forever? Your odds aren’t good.
© Ludger Vorfeld/iStock/Thinkstock

Life is wild ride, and like a roaring rollercoaster, full of twists and turns and ups and downs. And life, like an amusement park ride, always eventually comes to a grinding halt.

Sometimes family members don't want the ride to end for their deceased loved one, so they choose to take cremated remains to a favorite amusement park and then scatter them. Those dusty remnants then become a fixture at the park, if mostly in a spiritual sense, leaving departed grampy spending his eternity doing loop-de-loops on his favorite coaster ... for better or for worse.

So the answer is yes, it really is a thing – people scatter ashes of their loved ones at amusement parks. Of course, amusement parks are only one type of location that's popular for these purposes. Families often take cremated remains to their favorite sports parks, rivers, oceans, national parks and a whole lot of other places that they think make for a suitable resting place.

This is a relatively new phenomenon, at least it terms of popularity. Three decades ago, almost everyone preferred to be buried in a casket and fewer than 5 percent chose cremation. As American society becomes more rootless (and less tied to one spot of land) and burial plot prices increase because of scarcity, cremation is much more popular. In the next decade or so, experts expect that nearly 60 percent of people will choose cremation.

The cremation process is pretty straightforward. A human body is loaded into what's essentially a very hot oven for between two and three hours. The five or so pounds of ashy, bony remains are then pulverized into a grainy dust and loaded in a receptacle.

From there, it's up to family member to decide how to use those ashes. Some people display the cremains in an urn on a fireplace mantle. Many others, however, honor their dead relative by scattering ashes in a special place.

Legal matters may complicate the act of spreading burned human remains in just any old place. Chucking great grandma's ashes at a public beach may delight her spirit, but other beachgoers standing in the surf might be a little peeved.

Keep reading and you'll see there are official laws on the books to prevent random acts of ash scattering at places like amusement parks. You'll also read about how not everyone heeds those laws.