The Giant Dipper is a famous wooden roller coaster located at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an amusement park in Santa Cruz, California. It opened on May 17, 1924. It is the sixth-oldest roller coaster in the United States; over 50 million riders have ridden it since its opening. The United States National Park Service recognized the Giant Dipper as part of a National Historic Landmark also covering the nearby Looff carousel in 1987. It is also an ACE Coaster Landmark. The ride has appeared in many television commercials and movies, including The Lost Boys, Sudden Impact and Dangerous Minds.
The Giant Dipper, which is located between walkways 3 and 4 at 400 Beach Street in Santa Cruz, California, was designed by Frank Prior and Fredrick Church with a double out and back layout similar to the Mission Beach Roller Coaster built in 1925 in San Diego, California. The Giant Dipper was built by Arthur Looff in 1924 in just 47 days at a cost of $50,000. Looff described his plans for the coaster by describing it as a, "combination earthquake, balloon ascension, and aeroplane drop." Looff's father, Charles I. D. Looff, built the carousel on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in 1911; both attractions continue to operate today.
The ride originally cost riders 15 cents per ride; it now costs $4.50 or 6 tickets per ride for riders who do not have an all-day wristband. It also originally had an outdoor station; the indoor station and the tunnel at the beginning of the ride were added later. The ride has also been repainted red from its original green. It has had its trains changed several times. For instance, since February 2007, the fronts of the trains have been covered with the "100 Years" sign and the sides were painted red and blue.