Santa Cruz on Saturday

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk didn’t open until 11, so we had a nice, leisurely morning to get ready to roll. It was cold and gray. A lot of people don’t realize that cold and gray mornings are the norm on the California coast, even in San Diego.

We got into the parking lot ($12) and walked over to the Boardwalk. We had to stand in a long line to exchange our Costco tickets for real wristbands. At the front of the line, we had the kids stand in front of the measuring board.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Jack and Anika were both 42 inches, so they could go on most of the rides either by themselves or with adult supervision. We headed over to the other side of the Boardwalk for the kiddie rides.

I’ll spare you the litany of all of the rides. Caitlyn was tall enough to go on all of the rides and she really wanted to do most of the adult ones. She did go on some of the kiddie rides though.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Jack and Anika on the dragons

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Jack and Anika on the boats (I helped them pick the S.S. Cotton Candy.)

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Caitlyn went on a ride with “the kids”.

Somewhere in here, I got to go on a ride with Christy and Caitlyn – the tornado. I also went on the Riptide with Christy, Caitlyn, and Jack. The Riptide is old-school. A lot of the rides have been replaced since I was in high school. My favorite, the Waverunner, is no more.

The Boardwalk added this cove area with more kiddie rides. We went on the family roller coaster. I hate roller coasters. But I went on with Jack and Max anyway. I don’t like being jerked around. I vastly prefer spinny and flying rides. But the family coaster wasn’t so bad.

From there, we did lunch! The food offerings at the Boardwalk have improved greatly. Of course, the prices are still astronomical!

We did all of the rides in the cove area, including the space bumper cars. I liked them far more than regular bumper cars. They were easier to drive. Jack was able to move around in them, which he can’t really do in regular bumper cars.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Jack was obsessed with playing games. Jack and Max went off to play some games down the Boardwalk. While Christy and Caitlyn went on the Ferris wheel, and Anika went on some rides by herself, I sat down for a bit. Jack and Max came back with Rainbow, a large stuffed bird. Max won him for Jack at the “spray the water into the clown’s mouth” race game. Jack thinks he won.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey
From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

After the kids played more games – Anika and Caitlyn played a fishing game and won, which Jack whined about because he couldn’t play the fishing game (he had already spent his allotted game money), we decided to go down to the beach. It had warmed up and the sun had come out just before lunch.

If I’m driving 3 hours to the ocean, then I’m going in the ocean, gosh-darnit! And I knew that Jack wouldn’t stay out either. So we sent Max to the car to get the beach stuff, while everyone else went on the swings. It was Jack’s favorite ride of the day, and one of my favorites. I don’t think I’d been on those swings before. It was great to be able to ride a grown up ride with my little man.

Changing into our suits took longer than I would have liked, but we did it, and we made it through the youth beach soccer tournament to the surf.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Jack went in and stayed in, up to his waist. I was with him, of course. He was freezing – it was about 66 degrees. I asked him if he wanted to go back. He said no. I asked him if he was having fun. He said no. I said, “So you’re not having fun, but you don’t want to get out of the water?” He said, “Yes.”


The girls didn’t have suits and stayed further on land, playing in the sand.

After a brief period of being in the ocean, we returned to the Boardwalk and changed again. (Did I mention that Jack dropped his bathing trunks in the toilet? *sigh*)

The kids were starting to get a little cranky, so we had junk food! Christy and the girls had ice cream, I went all the way back down the Boardwalk to get a chocolate/caramel apple (and some salt water taffy to bring home), and Jack got his cotton candy. He had eaten all of it by the time I got back to the benches.

Caitlyn wanted to go on the people mover that went over the park. So did Jack. I don’t do heights, so Max had to go with him. Anika wanted to do something with Morgan. So I got a little alone time. I went to a gift shop and got Jack a shirt. (Max had only packed 1 shirt for 2 days. Oops!) Then, I went on the Pirate Ship.

The Pirate Ship was one of my favorite rides in high school. I have pictures of me on it with my good friends on Senior Ditch Day. Apparently, now, I’m too old for this stuff. I felt nauseous and not at all carefree and flying. I’m sure the two tween girls I ended up next to thought I was very strange. I’m glad that I went on, because I would have regretted not having done so. Still, it was sad to have something that used to be so joyful be so… not.

I got to the other end of the people mover and waited just a few moments for Max, Jack, and Anika. The four of us were going to do kiddie rides while Morgan, Christy, and Caitlyn did the Big Dipper.

Christy managed to get some aerial shots for me.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey
From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Fortunately, Jack and Anika were getting along again. There had been a disagreement earlier over whether to go on the red plane or the white plane. Jack actually cried. But they went on the Speedway and had fun, and the helicopters and had fun.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey
From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Then, Anika, Jack, and I went on the Starfish. The Starfish is like the Scrambler – it’s a spinny squishy ride. It’s one of the few rides my mom would go on. This was probably my favorite ride of the day. Jack didn’t like it as much because he was in the middle, getting squished by Anika. Anika liked though. I hope they’ll remember the good parts, and not the squishy parts.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Caitlyn, Christy, and Morgan wanted to go on the Hurricane, which used to be the Mouse, and then the Little Dipper. I used to go on that one. No more. *shudder* Jack and Anika wanted to play the “Claw” games. Anika wasted 50 cents trying to get a stuffed animal. Jack actually won… a pair of Jackie O sunglasses. I told him that he looked like Auntie Ann.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Everyone was hungry and we didn’t want Boardwalk food, so we walked across the street to get some pizza. It didn’t suck, but it wasn’t great, either. They had a TV on and Jack was able to correctly identify all of the different baseball teams that appeared. (But that’s another post…)

After dinner, we headed back to the Boardwalk and the arcade. Our Costco tickets had come with tickets to other paid attractions, as well as some free tokens. We were standing in line, trying to figure out what to do. A boy of about 11 or so was behind us, and he obviously knew what was what. He told us we were in the right line to get tokens, and that “The Vault” was the Laser Maze listed on our tickets.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

Jack and I wanted to do the Laser Maze, which ended up being a big dark room with a “vault” in it. You had to go through the lasers to get to the vault, like Parker from Leverage. Neither Jack nor I is Parker, so we didn’t do too well, but we did have fun.

At the arcade, Jack and I played a lot of air hockey. I wouldn’t let him win, but I didn’t try to smash the kid either. He tried to play some pinball, but it didn’t work out too well. We found Max and the others. Then split up again… it was all very chaotic. Jack was out of tokens and wanted to play more games, but it was about 9:00 pm. The girls had more tokens, and they had been playing games that gave tickets. Jack only had 6 tickets. We figured out that he could get 6 glow in the dark bugs. I wanted to go on the carousel with Jack, and Anika wanted to go on the carousel with Jack, so everyone except Max came to the carousel.

The Santa Cruz carousel is 100 years old. It’s one of the only carousels that has a ring toss. If you sit on an outside horse, you can grab rings and throw them at a clown. If you throw the ring into the clown’s mouth, lights go off. My mom did this with us. She got the rings and let us throw them. I wanted to do that for Jack. So I did. But Jack wanted me to throw the rings. He was fascinated by it. And I actually did get a ring in the clown’s mouth once.

From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey
From June 2011 Santa Cruz Monterey

When we got off of the carousel, Max had an interesting story. The boy who had been standing behind us in line at the arcade ended up being near Max when they were turning in tickets. The kid got what he wanted and still had over 1000 tickets left. So he gave them to Max. Max bought 3 stuffed animals – 1 for each kid – and 2 glow in the dark bugs. Now Jack has his very own cheetah, Elena.

We took Jack home, driving the 3 coastal miles. People were having bonfires. It made me wish, again, that we lived on the coast. Someday, I hope! It’s always been a dream of mine.

On the way home, Jack said that he loved the boy who gave him the tickets. I told him that was something to thank God for – the unexpected, kind things that happen. Jack was bathed and in his jammies when our friends made it home. All of the kids ended up going to sleep around 10:30. It was a very long day! Jack said that he did have a lot of fun, and that’s what counts.

One thought on “Santa Cruz on Saturday

  1. Pingback: Happy Holidays from the Chittister Family! « The Chittister Family

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