Gillians Wonderland Pier

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Gillian's Wonderland Pier
Gillian's Wonderland (7498562368).jpg
SloganAmusements with the family in Mind!
LocationOcean City, New Jersey, United States
Coordinates39°16′39″N 74°34′00″W / 39.277398°N 74.566757°W / 39.277398; -74.566757Coordinates: 39°16′39″N 74°34′00″W / 39.277398°N 74.566757°W / 39.277398; -74.566757
OwnerJay Gillian
Operating seasonApril to October
Roller coasters1 (Wacky Worm (minor))
Water rides1 (Canyon Falls Log Flume)

Gillians is a historic amusement park founded in 1929 by David Gillian, who first came to Ocean City in 1914.[1] It is located on the ocean boardwalk of the New Jersey shore.

David started his career in the orchestra at C. Elwood Carpenter's Dance Club (aka The Casino), located over the Moorlyn Theater on the old Boardwalk. In 1917 he transferred to the Hippodrome pier, where he played with Robin Robinson's Orchestra. The Hippodrome had a movie theatre, vaudeville, dancing and amusements for children.

In October 1927, a fire destroyed the Hippodrome,[2] after which the burned boardwalk was replaced in 1928. In 1930 David Gillian opened a Fun Deck at Plymouth Place and the Boardwalk. The two main attractions were a Ferris wheel and a Merry-Go-Round.

In honor of his 100th birthday in 1990, David Gillian donated a horse from the Merry-Go-Round to the Ocean City Historical Museum.[3] David Gillian died in March 1993 at the age of 102.

In 1957, David Gillian retired and his sons, Bob and Roy took over from 1957-1977. In 1965 Roy left the family business and started Wonderland Pier at 6th Street and the Boardwalk (where Stainton's Playland had burned down 10 years prior), with 10 rides and a parking lot.

Roy became mayor of Ocean City in 1985, and retired from politics in 1989.[4] In 1994, Roy became the president of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). His son, Jay Gillian, became mayor of Ocean City in 2010.

The Gillian family decided to expand their business beyond Ocean City by opening Gillian's Funland of Sea Isle City. Located on JFK Blvd.

Gillian's Wonderland Pier is mostly famous for its 144-foot (44 m) Giant Wheel, one of the largest Ferris wheels on the east coast.[citation needed]

Former rides[edit]

Indoor Rides[edit]

  • Carousel (Philadelphia Toboggan Company #75 1926) - A Wonderland Pier tradition since 1972. A decorative facade made to look like a Wurlitzer style #157 Military Band Organ by Kromer is included, but it does not provide the carousel's music.[10]
  • The Frontier Express Monorail - A Wonderland Pier tradition since 1965.
  • Balloon Race
  • Crazy Submarine
  • Fire Engines
  • Dune Buggies
  • Jumbo
  • Wet Boats
  • Frog Jump Around
  • NASCAR Speedway
  • The Man & Dog - A Wonderland Pier Animatronic tradition since 1992.

Midway Rides[edit]

  • Giant Wheel - 144 feet (44 m) tall, one of the tallest Ferris wheels on the east coast. A Wonderland Pier tradition since 1989.[citation needed]
  • Musik Express
  • Raiders
  • Trabant
  • Tilt -A- Whirl
  • Kite Flyer
  • Galleon
  • Bear Bounce
  • Bear Affair
  • Chopper Train
  • Wacky Worm Roller Coaster
  • Glass House
  • Mini-Skooters

Lower Lot Rides[edit]

  • Canyon Falls Log Flume - A Wonderland Pier tradition since 1992. Manufactured by Hopkins Rides.
  • Skooter Bumper Cars
  • Moby Dick
  • Drop Tower
  • Haunted House Dark Ride
  • Alien Abduction

Upper Deck Rides[edit]

  • Swings

1999 accident[edit]

On August 28, 1999, two people were killed and two injured when a roller-coaster car lost traction with the rails on a steep ascent and plunged backwards.[11][12] The ride involved with the accident was the Wild Wonder.


  1. ^ [1] Archived November 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ [2] Archived August 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Ocean City Historical Museum | Welcome!". Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  4. ^ "Mayor extends family legacy in Ocean City | Ocean Beats". 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  5. ^ "City Jet (Gillian's Wonderland Pier)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Runaway Train (Gillian's Wonderland Pier)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Miner Mike (Gillian's Wonderland Pier)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Fiesta Express (Gillian's Wonderland Pier)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Wild Wonder (Gillian's Wonderland Pier)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Gillian's Wonderland Pier, Ocean City, NJ". National Carousel Association. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  11. ^ Mcfadden, Robert D. (1999-08-30). "Roller Coaster Hurtles Wrong Way, Killing 2". Ocean City (Nj): Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  12. ^ "5 deadly roller coaster accidents". 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2015-12-26.

External links[edit]