~ Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk ~
The West Coast once hosted many more beach parks, including the Pike in Long Beach, California, Neptune Beach in Alameda and Playland at San Francisco's Ocean Beach. Those all have long since closed, but the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk survives as a reminder of a bygone era in amusement. Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier closed in 1930, but reopened in the 1980s, and Belmont Park in San Diego, California was founded in 1925, shut down in 1976, and reopened in 1990.
The 1904 Neptune Casino with horses and an electric trolley
The Boardwalk was founded by Santa Cruz businessman Fred Swanton (1862–1940), who aimed to create a resort on the West Coast similar to Coney Island or Atlantic City, New Jersey, since he had come from Brooklyn, New York.:34 Swanton began his project in 1904 with a building he called the Neptune Casino. The Neptune Casino survived the April 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but burned down on June 22, 1906 from a kitchen fire. Rebuilding began a few months later; a new Casino opened in 1907.:56
Swanton developed the Casa Del Rey Hotel across the street from the Casino in 1911, which was connected via a bridge. By 1912, a business downturn caused by the Panic of 1910–1911 wiped out the original stockholders. For the third time Swanton convinced investors to raise funds for the enterprise. By 1915 the Santa Cruz Seaside Company took over with Swanton again becoming an investor. The park has been owned and operated by the Santa Cruz Seaside Company since 1915.
In 1908, the first "thrill ride" opened, a miniature railway designed by LaMarcus Adna Thompson. In 1911, woodcarver and amusement park pioneer Charles Looff created the Looff Carousel. His son, Arthur, suggested that the park owners replace the aging L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway with a modern wooden coaster, the Giant Dipper, which was designed by the younger Looff and opened in 1924. Business slowed during the Great Depression and World War II, but the Cocoanut Grove ballroom was at its peak.
In the 1950s and 1960s, many older seaside amusement parks closed, including the Pike and Playland-at-the-Beach. The Boardwalk survived by introducing many new attractions and undergoing an extensive renovation in the early 1980s.
The October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the exterior wall of the Plunge. This accelerated plans to transform the facility into a major attraction, Neptune's Kingdom, an adventure center. 
On June 25, 2006 the WipeOut ride opened, intending to simulate surfing.
In March 2007, the Boardwalk installed a Wurlitzer Style 165 band organ to use along with the A. Ruth & Sohn organ at the Looff Carousel. It was bought for $250,000 and restored by the Stinson Band Organ Company of Ohio. The new Wurlitzer organ features a façade to hide its inner workings painted with scenes of historic California, including illustrations of the original San Francisco Cliff House. At the time of the Wurlitzer's installation the Ruth & Sohn organ was sent to Stinson for restoration. A new façade was fabricated that features historical illustrations of the Beach Boardwalk as well as figures playing drums. The Ruth & Sohn organ returned to the Boardwalk in October 2008. The Boardwalk owns a Wurlitzer Style 146 band organ and plans to have it restored.