Ahh…sun, surf, and caramel apples can only mean one thing: it’s summertime at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. This classic seaside amusement park advertises its free admission, but sometimes the best things in life aren’t free. You aren’t going to go all the way to the Boardwalk for your kids to just walk and watch all the other kids have fun. If you go on any ordinary day, you can expect to pay $2.25 to $4 for each ride, or if you’re staying for a while, you can get the unlimited rides wristband for $29.95. That’s not taking into account what you’ll pay for parking ($10 in the lot) and food.
Don’t throw in your beach towel just yet. There are some ways to make this California kid dream come true. During the summer, my favorite way to save money is to make this an evening affair by going on “1907 Nights” or “Pepsi Nights”. Every Monday and Tuesday after 5 p.m., you will pay only one dollar for each ride and also for hot dogs, Pepsi, and cotton candy. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings after 5 p.m. you can get an unlimited rides wrist band for $9.95 if you bring in a Pepsi can.
I save the most money when I go on “1907 Nights” because my young child can’t go (or won’t go) on over half the rides. It doesn’t make sense for me to buy the unlimited rides wristband when I’m going to be mostly hanging around at Bulgy the Whale or Cave Train Adventure. Besides, I can’t pass up one dollar hot dogs.
As a bonus tip, I’m going to let you know that they only sell the specially priced hot dogs and Pepsis in certain lines of the dining areas. This always bugs me, because if you want anything else besides hot dogs (I just gotta have my fried artichoke hearts) you have to stand in two lines. This is so not what a tired mommy wants to do when dealing with whiny, hungry kids. I find that the best thing to do is be there right when the big hand hits the 5 on your watch. That way you’ll get shorter lines for the food, and still have time give those hot dogs in your tummy a spin on the rides.
Parking Tip: The parking is also cheaper or free in the evenings. You don’t have to pay the parking meters after 6 p.m.
Good to know: “1907 Nights” are from June 21 to August 31 and “Pepsi Nights” are from June 23 to September 2.