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What's new at area amusement parks

  • At Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, The Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster has been thrilling visitors for 90 years. (File photo)

The classic teacup ride takes on a new spin this summer at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.

You'll get drenched but you won't drown on the Tsunami Soaker. The new family ride opening May 31 pits nine round boats in a whirling water fight. Combatants, six to a boat, are armed with their own water cannon, their defense as they face fire from all sides, including from bystanders on shore.

“It's an epic water battle,” Six Flags spokeswoman Nancy Chen said of the newest ride. It joins White Water Safari and Monsoon Falls, as well as the traditional dolphin shows, to offer a cooling-off to park-goers on hot days.

California Great America in Santa Clara pulled out all the stops last year after introducing The Gold Striker, a woooden roller coaster that is deceivingly old-school only in appearance. It's updated with millennial thrills, including terrifying 85-degree banks.

The park this year unveils a new show, “Aerial Ice Extreme,” sort of a Cirque du Soleil meets Holiday on Ice, with aerial ice acrobatics and stunts that park spokesman Roger Ross described as “crazy” and apt to “keep people on the edges of their seats.”

Food continues to improve with the addition of some new concessions, including a fresh Churro Factory and an Icee Mix-It-Up machine to create your own frozen concoctions.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk this summer celebrates the anniversary of The Giant Dipper, an authentic wooden roller coaster that has faithfully served up thrills for 90 years.

“The Giant Dipper got a new paint job in red and white and it looks spectacular,” said spokeswoman Brigid Fuller.

The beloved coaster is a nostalgic counterpoint to the Undertow, a stomach-rattling spinning roller coaster that opened there at the end of last summer.

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