The Giant Dipper roller coaster in Santa Cruz is celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2019.

Jennifer Hodges/KCBS Radio

Happy Birthday, Giant Dipper

Santa Cruz Roller Coaster Is One Of Country's Oldest

Jennifer Hodges
July 19, 2019 - 6:17 am

There’s something special about the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz, which celebrates its 95th anniversary this year. 

The boardwalk roller coaster evokes memories for many. Maybe it’s the wood, maybe it’s the age, or it could be the speed. Whatever it is, more than 66 million people seeking thrills have climbed on board over the decades.

"It’s strange to think we’re on the same ride people were on in the 1930’s," said Francisco Escutia, from Mexico. He said he rides Giant Dipper whenever he gets the chance. 

It was built in1924 for just $50,000. It’s a favorite among roller coaster enthusiasts and history buffs. 

The Giant Dipper is the oldest roller coaster in California and the fifth oldest in the country.

Trevor Debenning has been riding the Giant Dipper for most of his life and believes that it was the inspiration for other roller coasters.

“Take Disneyland for example, it seems as if California Screamin was built with this roller coaster as an example," he said, referring to a steel roller coaster that's been renamed the Incredicoaster at Disney's Anaheim theme park.