Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Love the beach, thrill rides, great food, and attractions? The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is for you! This oceanfront amusement park has been family operated ever since it was founded in 1907. Located in Santa Cruz, California, it is one of California’s oldest surviving amusement parks with some rides dating back to 1924. There are 35 rides including thrill rides, family rides, and children’s rides.
The first ride built was the L.A. Thompson Scenic railway which opened in 1908. It cost $35,000 to build, and ran on one mile of wooden track; it lasted for four minutes. A carousel was delivered in 1911, and it is still in operation today. The Scenic Railway was later replaced with a modern wooden coaster, The Great Dipper. It opened in 1924 and very quickly became the most popular ride. This was also the year the first Miss California Pageant was held in Cocoanut Grove. Cocoanut Grove is a conference center with banquet rooms and a performing arts venue. More thrill rides were added to the Boardwalk at this time, including the Wild Mouse. The Boardwalk pool was replaced with a miniature golf course in 1963, and the Sky Glider was installed in 1967. The Round-Up, a bumper car ride, and coaster called the Jet Star were all added in the 1970s. In 1997, the Logger’s Revenge water ride replaced the Wild Mouse.
Cocoanut Grove was the main focus for construction in the 1980s. The kitchen and interior were modernized, and the Sun Room, a banquet room with a retractable glass ceiling allowing open air dining and dancing, was added. The Boardwalk itself received new shops, a candy store, and a kitchen where saltwater taffy is made. Music returned in 1998 when free summer concerts occurred on the beach bandstand. These still happen in the summer.
As the 90s progressed, the Boardwalk added many new rides including Whirlwind and Tsunami. In 1994, they bought the Surf Bowl bowling center across the street, and 3.5 million dollars later, transformed it into a modern bowling complex renamed the Boardwalk Bowl. In the year 2000, the Cave Train was returned. It was first opened in 1961, but closed in 1997 for remodeling. The returning ride, called the Cave Train Adventure, still featured some of the original elements, but added its own modern twist using technology. An area near the river was also remodeled, with an addition of a walkway and several rides. Not far from this attraction resides two thrill rides, that were added in 2003.
Today at the Boardwalk, there are a total of 35 rides. It also has its own arcades with vintage machines as well as new video games. In these arcades, there are food vendors, an electronic shooting gallery, indoor mini golf, and gift shops. As for the coasters, the Great Dipper is the most popular one. It is a wooden coaster that was first assembled in 1924, making it the fifth oldest coaster in the United States. This ride still resides in its original location with a spectacular view of the Monterey Bay. With its speedy dips and curves, it’s no wonder why new and old generations love this coaster. Another popular thrill ride is the Undertow, the only spinning coaster in northern California. Unlike the Great Dipper, it is the newest ride at the Boardwalk. At the first drop, riders can reach speeds of 40 mph, while the car is spinning. Fans never get tired of this coaster, the unique design ensures that no two rides are ever the same!
The Boardwalk Bowl has 26 lanes, Atomic Bowling, bowling leagues, bumpers for kids, an arcade, and a cafe. The Cocoanut Grove hosts many events including trade conferences, dances, and conventions. Swimming, sailing, and fishing, are some of the activities enjoyed on the beach. The rides are thrilling, the shops are full of merchandise, the games are entertaining, the food is delicious, and the Boardwalk Bowl as well as the beach are both just a short walk away. What more could you want from a theme park? Find it all at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California.
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