Ferris Wheel Smiles
March 2020

Always Amused

Get Ready for New Thrills, Sliding and Lifting Boardwalk Announces New 2020 Attractions

Ferris Wheel SmilesBoardwalk visitors will soon notice something different where the famed Ferris Wheel used to be..
A giant slide called Wave Rider will occupy the corner location between Rock-O-Plane and Tsumani. The 35-foot-tall ride, manufactured by Salem, Ore.-based Battech Enterprises, is true to its name, sending up to three riders down a wavy up-and-down slide. The slide, which is a popular attraction at fairs and carnivals, is expected to open in time for spring break.

Boardwalk Marketing Director Marq Lipton said the biggest challenge with the slide was making sure the humidity of the ocean didn’t slow riders down. They came up with a system that keeps the slide dry and slippery.

In addition, Lighthouse Lift Off will replace the Climb ‘N Conquer climbing wall at the entrance of the Boardwalk located between the Looff Carousel and Undertow. Riders in a tandem seat can pull a rope to ascend a rotating 30-foot tower, while letting go of the rope allows the seat to sink slowly towards the ground. The interactive ride, manufactured by Austria-based Sunkid, is scheduled to open in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

Run, Forrest, Run
Registration is now open for the Boardwalk’s second annual Fun Run on April 5.
The family-friendly run includes a 1K race through the Boardwalk for children 12 and under, and a 5K race through the Boardwalk and up the San Lorenzo River for runners ages 4 and up. 

All runners will receive a finisher medal, $5 MyBoardwalk Card, and up to two hours of free-play in the Casino Arcade. Runners also receive an $8 discount for All-Day Rides on race day.

Those who sign up before March 14 will receive a $5 discount on registration.

A portion of all registrations benefits Camp Opportunity, a free camp for foster children in Santa Cruz County.
For information and to register, visit beachboardwalk.com/Fun-Run.

Take a Seat
A piece of history is helping keep the past alive.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk donated a seat from its retired Ferris wheel to the Aptos History Museum, which auctioned off the iconic relic during its annual fundraiser in late February. Proceeds benefited the museum, which is marking more than a decade.

“Our donation of a Ferris wheel seat to the Aptos History Museum fundraiser supports two important company goals — supporting our community and sharing our history,” said Lipton, the Boardwalk’s vice president of marketing and sales. “We’re pleased a seat from our iconic ride will find a great home with someone who appreciates its Boardwalk history.”

The historic Ferris wheel, a Boardwalk mainstay since 1959, gave its final rides in late 2017. It was during winter maintenance when Boardwalk officials made the decision to retire the ride, announcing their plan in early 2018 to much disappointment among fans.

The nearly 70-foot-tall ride, manufactured by Jacksonville, Ill.-based Eli Bridge Company, spun around four million riders since 1986, the first year the Boardwalk began tracking ridership. It was originally located near the Cocoanut Grove, where the Pirate Ship thrills riders today, before it was moved to its final location at the opposite end of the Boardwalk in the 1980s.

At the time, Boardwalk officials noted that they would be researching a new type of Ferris wheel for a replacement. In February, Boardwalk spokesperson Brigid Fuller said the park is still looking into a replacement, which may be located in a different area of the park.

The Aptos History Museum auction was a rare opportunity for theme park historians to get their hands on a seat, but it wasn’t the first time such an occasion presented itself. Fuller said the Boardwalk recently donated a Ferris wheel seat to the American Coaster Enthusiasts’ NorCal auction.

“We appreciate this group’s knowledge and enthusiasm for our park,” she said.
Speaking of mainstays, the Aptos History Museum may have opened in 2006, but its beginnings stretch much farther back.

In 1985, John and Karen Hibble began managing the Aptos Chamber of Commerce when it was located in Redwood Village. A donation of an historical photo of the Aptos railroad station snowballed into other historical contributions, and soon the Hibbles displayed a sizable exhibit of photographs that caught the attention of visitors. The museum moved into its current location at 7605-B Old Dominion Court in May 2006.
Inside the 700-square-foot museum lie artifacts from Aptos’ past, from the guest register from the Bay View Hotel, to a chalkboard displaying departure times from the Aptos rail station, and more. A timeline circles the building, pointing out notable moments in the town’s history while juxtaposing them with events around the world.

The museum is also a hotspot for elementary school teachers, who frequently take their third grade classes on field trips to learn about local history.

The Aptos History Museum relies on donations to keep its doors open. For information, visit aptoshistory.org or call 688-1467.

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