The secret life of stuffed animals on a roller coaster in San Diego

Photo credit: K.C. Alfred of the San Diego

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

For updates on the park’s activities and hours, visit or Belmont Park’s Facebook page.


2 thoughts on “The secret life of stuffed animals on a roller coaster in San Diego

  1. What I want to know is do the stuffed animals raise all their arms over their head on the downward ascent from the top of the curve? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s