Mission Beach is one of the most popular attractions in Southern California. One big reason: Belmont Park and the wonderful Giant Dipper roller coaster!
In my last blog post I walked south down the busy beach boardwalk to Hamel’s. Belmont Park stands just across the street. The historic amusement park was built in 1925 by wealthy sugar magnate John D. Spreckels, and was called the Mission Beach Amusement Center. The 2,600 foot Giant Dipper roller coaster, made entirely of wood, was built in less than two months. Over the ensuing years, the coaster fell into disrepair; it was then carefully restored in 1990 and became a huge success.
It’s interesting to walk around the perimeter of the Giant Dipper. You can peer beneath the rails and see the materials used to build and maintain the huge wooden construction.
Right next to Belmont Park’s amusement rides you’ll find The Plunge, originally called The Natatorium. The huge 12,000 square foot swimming pool originally contained salt water. It was the largest such pool in the world with 400,000 gallons of water!
The Plunge has also become famous for its Orcas off Point Loma whaling wall, painted in 1989 by famous marine artist, Wyland.
Today the pool and surrounding structure are being repaired. It’s scheduled to reopen by the end of this summer.
I hoped to get pictures of Belmont Park’s relatively new FlowRider wave machine, which allows thrill-seekers continuous surfing without entering the ocean! Unfortunately, it was down for maintenance.