on April 19, 2006
Nearly 100 years ago, an idea was launched to create a fantastic seaside amusement park that would entertain all who visited. Today, that idea still stands in the city of Santa Cruz.The magical place was called the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It is the West Coast's oldest amusement park and a State Historic Landmark. It houses two National Historic Landmarks—the 1911 Looff Carousel and 1924 Giant Dipper roller coaster. Owned and operated by the Santa Cruz Seaside Company since 1915, the Boardwalk remains a family-style amusement park creating memories that last a lifetime.The Boardwalk just recently purchased the original Laughing Sal that used to stand outside of the entrance to San Francisco's famed Playland at the Beach. She has a cackling laugh that used to scare little children out of their wits! Legend has it that the recording came from a party where a woman became really drunk, and the resulting laugh was so strange that her friends had to record it. You truly need to hear her laugh in order to appreciate it.The 1911 Looff Carousel still entertains riders and used to have brass rings that you threw at a clown's mouth during the ride. Today, you can still throw rings at the clown, but the brass rings have been replaced with mild steel due to theft of the originals.The 1924 Giant Dipper is one of the greatest roller coasters ever! It is wood-framed and allows for one of the greatest views over Santa Cruz that you could ever hope to get. I love the sound of a wooden coaster, a clickety-clack and the smell of track grease in the summer. It isn't overwhelming, and in fact, most people don't even notice it.Don't miss out on the people-mover overhead. It is fantastic! Ride the Cave train if you have little children with you. They will like it. During the summer, the Logger's Revenge can cool you down with a splash of water. Try some cotton candy or some caramel corn, and don't forget to stroll through the casino. Try to talk with the people running the rides, as the Boardwalk is a huge employer of college kids from UC Santa Cruz. You will come across many accents and interesting stories.I love the Boardwalk. Many good times and lifelong memories have been made for me at this historical amusement park.I would recommend this place to anyone and everyone. Whether for historical interest or looking for a thrill, the Beach Boardwalk hits a home run every time!They even have free concerts during the summer on the beach!Admission to the Boardwalk is always free, and to ride the rides, an unlimited wristband is the way to go. At $26.95 per person, it is a bargain. You can even get coupons online at www.beachboardwalk.com!Check out the website for information on any special events and the concert calendar.I cannot say enough about how great the Boardwalk is. You will have see for yourself!
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