I am by no means a theme or amusement park fan.
When I was younger, I visited parks in Florida, Texas and California. To be honest, my experiences were bittersweet. I did enjoy walking around, seeing the colorful displays and eating the not so healthy fare.
But, I felt like I was going to die in certain rides. I remember losing my consciousness in one of those machines that throw you from the top and expose you to g forces. Or, I can think of the time I suffered deep cuts on one of my ears while riding a rollercoaster.
Many times, I tried to have a good time with friends. Now, I can affirm those attractions are not made for me.
There is always an exception to the rule, right?
When in Santa Cruz, I was curious about the Beach Boardwalk. This is California’s oldest surviving amusement park and one of the few seaside parks in the West Coast.
In some way, the Boardwalk symbolizes all the things that make California famous. In there you have ocean side, under the sun, year round fun. The beach is right in front of the park. You have the pier and cliffs to the north and a jetty and a lighthouse to the south. Restaurants, quiosks and shops are all around. I do not know about you but to me, all those elements sound appealing.
So, I end up walking around the park on a sunny afternoon. I didn’t get on the rides or ate anything. Nothing impressed me either.
But you know what? I smiled a lot. The energy of those around me was contagious. You feel good when you see others having fun.
In summary, I can officially say I visited the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Summer is around the corner. Cheers to more than a hundred days of ocean side, under the sun fun (in an amusement park or anywhere else)!
Some interesting facts about the Boardwalk:
- Opened: 1907
- However, the roots of the Boardwalk go back to 1865 when a public bathhouse was opened close to the mouth of the San Lorenzo River
- The area gained popularity when the casino was opened
- The first roller coaster, the Scenic Railway, was opened in 1908 and cost $35,000
- The Looff Carrousel was opened in 1911 (with hand carved horses and chariots, the original pipe organ is still in use)
- The Giant Dipper replaced the Scenic Railway coaster in 1924. The Dipper is still standing and has been rode by 60 million people
- The place was restored in the ‘80s and badly damaged in a 1989 earthquake
- Admission to the park is free
- Season passes, all-day ride wristbands, single ride tickets, group rates, exclusive ride rentals, and corporate events are available
- Number of rides: 35
- Number of roller coaster: 3
- Number of water rides: 1
- The site is a National Historical Landmark and a California Historic Landmark
- The site also contains a laser tag area, video arcade, mini golf, banquet room and conference center
- Combine a visit to the Boardwalk with a visit to the pier
Do you like amusement parks? What do you think about the Boardwalk? Friends from abroad I welcome your comments about this American icon.