On a weekday in late October, I took my nephew and sister to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California. I thought it would be a fun experience for my nephew to experience amusement park rides while overlooking the Santa Cruz Beach and the Pacific Ocean. To my horror (then subsequent delight) the rides were closed during the week in the off-peak season.
While initially disappointed, we decided to stay and walk along the boardwalk. The amusement park was pleasantly devoid of rumbling roller coasters and screaming children. There were no visual distractions from rides in motion and people scrambling from place to place. Nor was there the unappetizing smell of greasy fast food.
Instead, the brilliant colors of the closed amusement rides, the fresh, salty smell of the ocean, and the serenity of the empty beach created a magical scene. I sensed the fading energy of the screams and laughter of long gone summer visitors. While I wouldn’t have planned to visit the Boardwalk when closed, I’m glad for the experience.