Coastal Wooden Thriller Hits Milestone

Dip-diving, scream-inducing fun for generations

One of the oldest wooden coasters in the world is turning 85 this weekend.

A National Historic Landmark, The Giant Dipper has been a staple of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk since it first opened in 1924 and has been thrilling generations of fun seekers ever since.

More than 50 million people have taken the ride on the tummy tumbler since its birth at the West Coast's only major seaside amusement park whether it's with a school field trip, vacation destination or a family day of fun.

The trademark red and white structure still runs on the same electric motor as the day it debuted and has had several roles on TV and the big screen too, with appearances in commercials, shows and movies including "The Lost Boys," Sudden Impact," and "Dangerous Minds."

The ride's creator, Arthur Looff, envisioned a giant wooden coaster that would be a “combination earthquake, balloon ascension, and aeroplane drop.” It reaches speeds of up to 55 MPH and gives riders a spectacular view of the Monterey Bay.

Celebrate a big birthday bash at the Boardwalk Saturday with a free fireworks spectacular at the Boardwalk starting at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Share your dip-diving, scream-inducing Giant Dipper experience in the comments field below.

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