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Thrill-Seekers Rejoice: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Reopens Rides

Santa Cruz boardwalk
By Cicero A. Estrella

The Giant Dipper is once again inducing shrieks and laughter.

The world-famous wooden roller coaster from 1924 and many other of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s attractions are back in operation as California’s oldest amusement park has reopened its rides—just in time for spring.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk welcomed back thrill-seekers on April 1 after the county was upgraded late last month to the moderate orange tier of California’s reopening guidelines.

“Everyone at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been preparing for this important moment in our unique and storied history,” Boardwalk spokesman Kris Reyes said. “The thrills will return on April 1 and we look forward to reopening rides to California residents in a manner that ensures the health and safety of all Boardwalk guests and employees.”

About 8 to 12 rides will be open daily through April 11, and after that on weekends through the end of the month. The Boardwalk recommends that guests make reservations for rides. Walk-up purchases are available only as capacity allows.

The advance purchase of ride wristbands will guarantee access to all rides. Season pass holders will also be able to make reservations for specific days.

In addition to the Giant Dipper, other popular rides that may be made available include Sky Glider, Shockwave, Jet Copters, Beach Swing, Lighthouse Liftoff, Kiddie Cruzers, Fireball, Sea Swings and Undertow.

For those who prefer to skip the rides, the Boardwalk is open daily with free admission. Guests will have access to their favorite food spots, stores and outdoor Boardwalk games.

“The reopening of the Boardwalk will be gradual and measured,” Reyes said. “Operating hours for rides will change frequently in the weeks ahead so we strongly encourage anyone planning a visit to check beachboardwalk.com prior to their arrival for all the latest information.”

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is California’s oldest amusement park, having been in operation since 1907. The Boardwalk, along with other California amusement parks, shut down in March 2020 following shelter-in-place orders. Its rides reopened briefly in November, only to be shut down again following a surge in COVID-19 cases around the state and county.

For ticket information and more, visit beachboardwalk.com.

Photos: Pete Cafone

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