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The End of An Era: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Closes The Curtains On The Memorable Ferris Wheel

Nik Wallenda’s iconic moment on the Santa Cruz boardwalks Ferris Wheel

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Ferris wheel has been retired after nearly 60 years of service park officials said on Thursday March 15.

The Boardwalk decided to discontinue the rides’ operation this past winter after it was dismantled for a maintenance check up. There is currently no clear reason for why the Boardwalk made the call to shutdown the Ferris wheel. However, park officials did not cite safety issues as a factor in the sudden closing of the ride.

“Ferris wheels are an iconic part of seaside amusement parks, so it’s been very popular over the years, and it’s very beloved. But after 60 years, it’s time to look at new and different options,” Boardwalk spokesperson Kris Reyes said.

Since the Ferris wheels’ debut in 1959, it has hosted over 10 million amusement park goers and has been at the epicenter of family vacations, first dates and marriage proposals. In 2011, the ride was again put in the spotlight as daredevil performer Nik Wallenda walked across the top of the moving Ferris wheel while working on the Discovery Channel show “Life on a Wire”.

“It has a special place in my heart,” Wallenda told the Sentinel. “I’d love to come back and commemorate whatever comes in its place.”

Though Reyes said that no conclusions have been reached regarding what type of attraction will succeed the Ferris wheel, there will be a decision made on what the new ride will entail no later than Summer 2019. Residents and amusement park enthusiasts have asked if the Boardwalk intends to sell the seats of the Ferris wheel. Reyes responded that there are no current plans on selling the ride to other amusement parks, third party groups or single individuals.

Park officials assured tourists and Beach Boardwalk lovers that they are not removing any other rides in the distant future. Historic attractions such as the Giant Dipper are safe from being dismantled, for now.

“Each ride is unique, and each has a lifespan,” The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk wrote on Facebook. “Sometimes it’s just time to let them go.”

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