SAVE FERRIS: Santa Cruz Boardwalk Retires Its Ferris Wheel

After closing it for winter maintenance, the Boardwalk decided to retire the 59-year-old ride.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Ferris Wheel, 1959-2017 (Shutterstock/Brandon Bourdages)

Well, that’s a bummer. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk decided to retire its 59-year-old Ferris Wheel. In a Facebook post from last Thursday, March 15, the boardwalk said it retired the ride retroactively, as the seats had been removed for winter maintenance in the fall. But the wheel itself will be dismantled next week.

Based on their responses to fans’ overwhelming sorrowful response to this bit of childhood memory-killing news, the park seems genuinely touched and promises to find a replacement ride (which may involve a replacement wheel, but no promises). All this comes two years after the Boardwalk underwent a $12 million restoration, but apparently no funds were allocated to making sure a little piece of all us didn’t have to die like that. 

ABC-7 noted that since the park began recording the number of riders in 1986, more than 4 million people have gone up in the air in a spirit of youthful exuberance. Some of them may even have shed their inhibitions and thrown their hands aloft, their vocal chords involuntarily giving forth an utterance not unlike “Wheeeeeee!”

The ABC affiliate also reports that a food court or a game might go in temporarily while the Boardwalk says they may put a food cart or a game there temporarily over the summer while they make a decision on whatever will replace the Ferris wheel that stood on the spot starting in 1959. People seem to want to buy a decommissioned Ferris Wheel seat, and the park promises to let people know via Facebook if they decide to sell them.

Elsewhere on the boardwalk, it appears that Cap’n Jack Flint’s Pirate Ship, the Giant Dipper, or the 107-year-old Looff Carousel have survived this brutal culling of Boardwalk amusements. No word yet on whether joy itself had also been banished from city limits, or whether childhood innocence had been exiled to nearby Capitola.

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