Photo credit: K.C. Alfred of the San Diego Union-Tribune
What happens when a vintage roller coaster is closed due to the COVID-19 virus but it must roll on?
That’s the challenge with the 95-year-old Giant Dipper at Belmont Park, a National Historic Landmark on Mission Beach in San Diego. The six-car coaster must run a few times a day to keep the machinery from tightening. So, instead of running it empty, the operators found some riders immune to the virus—about a dozen stuffed animals that were prizes from the park’s milk jug midway games.
The operators loaded the teddy bears, giraffes, elephants, centipedes, and other creatures in the seats and strapped them in. Now they’re riding the rails twice an hour daily from noon until 6 p.m. and getting a lot of attention from park visitors.
The stuffed animals might continue riding as part of the park’s distancing measures when it’s safe to open the Giant Dipper to humans again. If that happens, the animals would sit in every other car to keep humans separated safely.
The Giant Dipper is a 2,600-foot gravity-driven roller coaster standing 75 feet high. It’s one of two remaining wooden roller coasters still in operation. The other Giant Dipper is at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Read the full story from the Los Angeles Times about the stuffed animals and San Diego’s Giant Dipper:
With the public locked out during coronavirus, stuffed animals ride this San Diego roller coaster