Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to reopen rides this weekend, 1st amusement park in California

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will become the first amusement park in California to reopen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers spent Friday getting the rides prepped and ready for the weekend, but not everyone will be able to enjoy them initially, due to current state guidelines.

"We're ready to move and change our operations as needed," said boardwalk spokesperson Kris Reyes. "I think the name of the game in this time is to be as nimble and flexible as possible."

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Admission to the dedicated ride area will cost $25 per person and provides access to a two-hour reservation window, which caps at 300 people per session. For now, only Santa Cruz County residents can go on the rides, but if you live beyond the county's borders, you're not totally out of luck.

"We'll have food, we'll have retail, we'll have games, we'll also have our mini golf open and available to guests (and) the Boardwalk Bowl," said Reyes.


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The reopening of the state's oldest amusement park was made possible after the county moved into the orange tier of California's blueprint for a safer economy. Rides can continue to operate as long as they don't go back into the red.

"There's less crowds and I get to really see it, and take some good pictures, and that's going to be my memory," said Sarah Macalister, who was visiting the boardwalk Friday afternoon from Rogue River, Oregon.

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Visitors say they're glad to take in some of the beach boardwalk experience regardless of the activities that are available.

"I'm here with my kids, you know, having a great time in Santa Cruz on vacation and so it doesn't get more positive than that for me," said Reno resident Aaron Flynn.

Rides will operate on weekends. All guests who enter the dedicated ride area will have their temperature checked and also undergo a COVID-19 health screening.

Reservations can be made here.

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