The History of the Giant Dipper in Belmont Park, San Diego

giant dipper

Preparing for the drop. | Photo courtesy of Belmont Park

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Happy Fourth of July. In addition to the festivities + fireworks, something else goes down today — San Diego celebrates the birthday of the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park.

The beachfront landmark attraction turns 97 years old, making it the 10th oldest roller coaster in the world. It’s always a thrill to take a ride, but this coaster has just as many ups + downs in its history as it does on its track.

Belmont Park Giant Dipper

So long ago, yet so familiar. | Photo via @belmontparksd

👆 Coming up

The Giant Dipper’s ride begins with businessman + real estate investor John D. Spreckels who built the coaster as part of Mission Beach Entertainment Center — now Belmont Park — to draw attention to the up-and-coming beachfront community. The 2,600-ft ride was built by 100+ workers in under two months for the cost of $150,000 (about $2.5 million today).

On July 4, 1925, riders buckled-up for their first dips. In the 1930s + 1940s, the Mission Beach park became a popular place, with the Giant Dipper as its main attraction.

🎢 The twists + turns

👇 Drop in

The coaster still rises at its home in Belmont Park, where brave riders can take a dip for $8 — unless you save with a ticket bundle — which is a bit more than the 15-cent ticket price in 1925. But it’s still so worth it for the views, experience, and the screams.

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