American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's Giant Dipper as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historical significance.
The 75-foot high wood coaster officially opened on May 17, 1924, replacing the 1908 L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway. With a track length of over 2,700 feet and an initial drop of 65 feet, six inches, the innovative track design with articulating trains included tight twists, a thrilling serpentine tunnel, a graceful fan turn, and the unusual curved station. Designed by Frederick Church (1878-1938), it was constructed in less than seven weeks for $50,000 by Arthur Looff (1888-1970) who described the ride as a "combination earthquake, balloon ascension and aeroplane drop".
Over time, the stylish cars have been updated, adding to the charm of this well-maintained, double-out-and-back coaster, which earned National Landmark Status in February 1987. While it has stared in several Hollywood films, this rare seaside coaster is best enjoyed during golden sunsets and after dark when the tracer lights magically accentuate its legendary profile.
Considered one of the ten oldest operating coasters in the world and one of only three remaining examples of Church's work, the beloved Giant Dipper continues to thrill riders of all ages and remains an integral part of The Boardwalk's outstanding collection of rides and attractions.
Presented by American Coaster Enthusiasts
During the 100th anniversary of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
May 5, 2007