|Location||Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Opened||May 25, 1996|
|Operated by||Premier Parks, LLC|
|Slogan||"The Family Amusement Park on the Santa Monica Pier"|
"LA's only admission-free amusement park"
Limited operation in off season
|Area||2 acres (0.81 ha)|
Pacific Park is an oceanfront amusement park located in Santa Monica, California. The park, located on the Santa Monica Pier, looks directly out on the Pacific Ocean, in the direction of Catalina Island. It is the only amusement park directly located on the West Coast of the United States located on a pier and LA's only admission-free park. There are a total of thirteen rides in Pacific Park, including the world's first and only solar powered Ferris wheel that provides a view of the Pacific Ocean and a roller coaster that circles the majority of the park. Pacific Park is also home to 14 midway games and over-the-ocean food and retail outlets. It has appeared in over 500 movies and television shows such as Fat Albert, Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana: The Movie, Kidsongs, 90210, Bean, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V. In 2020, it featured in the opening ident for the sky television channel Sky Comedy. It is operated by Premier Parks LLC.
Santa Monica Municipal Pier opened in 1909; it was primarily to carry sewer pipes out beyond the breakers and had no amenities. In 1916 Charles I. D. Looff, who built Coney Island's first carousel, started construction on an adjacent pier known as the Pleasure Pier, also called Newcomb Pier, for use as an amusement park. The two piers are now both considered to be part of Santa Monica Pier. Attractions on the Pleasure Pier eventually included the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome building (which now houses the current carousel and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the Blue Streak Racer wooden roller coaster (which was purchased from the defunct Wonderland amusement park in San Diego), the Whip, merry-go-rounds, Wurlitzer organs, and a funhouse. The Pleasure Pier thrived during the 1920s but faded during the Great Depression. During the 1930s, the pier was mainly used as a ferry landing, while most of the pier was closed down and its attractions sold off.
Over the next several decades the city of Santa Monica proposed various plans to tear down Newcomb Pier. The city council approved a plan to replace the pier with a resort island in Santa Monica Bay. Local activists formed Save Santa Monica Bay and shot down that plan, and in 1973, the city formally revoked a standing order to demolish the pier. The city acquired ownership of the privately owned pier in summer 1974. In the 1980s, the pier was almost destroyed by winter storms. In 1983, the city formed a Pier Restoration and Development Task Force (now the Pier Restoration Corporation), tasked with returning the pier to its former glory. Summer music concerts were held on the pier.
In 1989, the Pier Restoration Corporation decided to "make the pier a year-round commercial development with amusement rides, gift shops, nightclubs with live entertainment and restaurants" that would be "reminiscent of its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s". The current 2-acre (0.81 ha) park opened in 1996 as a full-scale family amusement park.
Rides and attractions
This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2020)
The park is "non-gated" and there is no charge for admission; individual rides charge a fee. There are thirteen rides as well as midway games, food outlets, and shopping. A Seaside Pavilion event space opened in 2009 for corporate and private events. This is a list of rides in operation at Pacific Park as of 2016.
- Santa Monica West Coaster – A steel roller coaster running around the perimeter of Pacific Park. West Coaster's maximum height is 55 feet (17 m), and the single train reaches speeds of 35 miles per hour.
- Inkie's Scrambler – A 12-car Scrambler, refurbished in 2013
- Sea Dragon – A pirate ship with a 180° swing.
- Pacific Plunge – A 45-foot (14 m) drop tower built by Moser Rides. Carries 10 seated people in two gondolas. Refurbished in 2012
- Shark Frenzy - A custom built shark-themed twist on a Tilt-a-whirl ride. Each seated shark "head" represents a different species of shark including the Blue, Bull, Great White, Lemon, Mako, Sand Tiger and Tiger species.
- Pacific Wheel – The original Pacific Wheel was listed on eBay with half the proceeds from the sale donated to the Special Olympics. It had 20 gondolas and was featured in the Steven Spielberg film 1941. The current Pacific Wheel measures 85 feet (26 m), and the vantage point at the top is more than 130 feet (40 m) above the pier. Pacific Park claims that the Pacific Wheel is the world's first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel.
- Sig Alert EV – A bumper car ride named for the traffic alert unique to California.
- Inkie's Frog Hopper – A scaled-down 'bouncing' drop tower reaching 18 feet (5.5 m)
- Inkie's Wave Jumper
- Inkie's Sea Planes
- Inkie's Air Lift
- Seaside Swing - Seats up to 16 guests on a two-sided bench that sways back and forth in a 45 degree arc.
- Inkie's Sig Alert - Kiddie version of bumper cars.
- Gyro Loop - Players use a joystick to control their speed and RPM while circling and rotating, in an attempt to win a prize.
Past rides and attractions
- Chaos: removed and replaced by Inkie's Scrambler
- Rock and Roll: removed for Chaos and later replaced by Inkie's Scrambler
- Swing Ride: removed for Pirates Pier Mini-Golf and later replaced by Sig Alert EV
- Inkie's Pirate Ship - Last day was in Q1 of 2017; removed and replaced by Shark Frenzy
- Pier Patrol – A 'train' of cars propelled around a beach-themed track. Removed and replaced by Seaside Swing
- Pirates Pier Mini-Golf: removed and replaced by Sig Alert EV
- Bumper Cars: removed and replaced by Inkie's Sea Planes and Inkie's Air Lift
- Mini Pirate Ship
- Lil' Scrambler
- Baron Planes: removed and replaced by Inkie's Wave Jumper
- Balloon Race
- Crazy Submarine: removed and replaced by Seaside Swing
- Mini Swing Ride
- Rock Climber
- Bungee Jumper
- Extraordinary Bike: removed and replaced by Gyro Loop
Pacific Plunge as seen from the end of Santa Monica Pier
- Bean (1997) (Amusement Simulator: It's Frightening!: Ride Of Doom – Volcano Mine Ride.)
- "Pacific Plunge Fact Sheet" (PDF). Pacific Plunge. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-06-08.
- "Pacific Plunge - The Rides". Retrieved 2007-06-08. (Pacpark.com)
- Pacific Park Fact Sheet
- "Films and TV Shows Filmed at the Santa Monica Pier in California". Pacific Park® | Amusement Park on the Santa Monica Pier. 2018-11-21. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
- "City Museum sold to Oklahoma-based theme park company"
- Conradt, Stacy (May 27, 2009). "The Quick 10: Santa Monica Pier". Mental Floss. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Magruder, Melonie. "Pacific Park celebrates 15th birthday". surfsantamonica.com. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Holst, Sanford. "Save Santa Monica Pier - 1972". boomerslife.org. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Beubis, Seymour (May 10, 1973). "S.M. Council Rescinds Order for Removal of Newcomb Pier". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Fanucchi, Kenneth (July 4, 1974). "S.M. Fences Unsafe Newcomb Pier Areas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Moran, Julio (November 21, 1989). "Santa Monica Pier Revival Plan Stirs Excitement". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- "Santa Monica beach park to open in '96". Daily News of Los Angeles. October 7, 1995. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- "Santa Monica's Pacific Park Debuts Seaside Pavilion Event Space". specialevents.com. July 1, 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- The Rides (Pacpark.com)
- James, Mitch (March 28, 2013). "A Look At The Refurbished Inkie's Scrambler At Pacific Park On Santa Monica Pier". Santa Monica Mirror. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Rooney, Brian; Song, Jung Hwa (April 16, 2008). "Ferris Wheel Goes From Santa Monica Bay to eBay". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- Pacific Park - the Rides Archived 2007-07-15 at the Wayback Machine