Steel Pier

Coordinates: 39°21′27″N 74°25′08″W / 39.3575°N 74.4190°W / 39.3575; -74.4190
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Steel Pier
Steel Pier c. 1915
Location1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
Coordinates39°21′27″N 74°25′08″W / 39.3575°N 74.4190°W / 39.3575; -74.4190
OpenedJune 18, 1898
OwnerSteel Pier Associates, LLC
Operating seasonApril through October (Observation Wheel open March–December)
Roller coasters2
Water rides0

The Steel Pier is a 1,000-foot-long (300 m) amusement park built on a pier of the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, across from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City (formerly the Trump Taj Mahal). Built in 1897 and opened in 1898, it was one of the most popular venues in the United States for the first seven decades of the twentieth century, featuring concerts, exhibits, and an amusement park. It billed itself as the Showplace of the Nation and at its peak measured 2,298 feet (700 m).

The pier is owned by the Catanoso Family and operates under the Steel Pier Associates, LLC name. The Catanosos had previously leased the pier to operate the amusement park before they purchased it.[1] The Steel Pier continues to operate as an amusement pier and is one of the most successful family-oriented attractions in the city. The pier has twenty-four rides, a helicopter station, an arcade, food stands, and more. The pier had also been connected to the former Trump Taj Mahal through an overhead walking bridge.


Steel Pier in 2012
Steel Pier Ferris wheel in Atlantic City with Trump Taj Mahal in background in 2009.

The pier was built by the Steel Pier Company and opened on June 18, 1898. It was built on iron pilings, using a concrete understructure with steel girders. In 1904, a storm washed away part of Steel Pier,[clarification needed] and many engineers stated that it could not be rebuilt. Atlantic City's future mayor, Edward L. Bader, and his company accepted the challenge to rebuild it. His success with that job led to more work for him in Atlantic City.[2]

In 1924, a fire caused significant damage to the pier. Frank Gravatt purchased the pier the following year and renovated it. He was called the "salt water Barnum" by the local newspaper. The restored pier hosted dance bands, three movie theaters, exhibits, operas, children's shows, a water circus, stunts, and other attractions. Gravatt signed John Philip Sousa for a series of annual concerts. The General Motors Exhibit opened in 1926 and continued through 1933, when it was replaced by Ford. (General Motors returned in 1947 and continued until 1968.) From 1935 through 1938, the Steel Pier was where Miss America was crowned.[3] It was described as "An Amusement City at Sea" and "A Vacation in Itself." It also was once called the "Showplace of the Nation" and included such acts as the High Diving horse; Rex the Wonder Dog, the Human Cannonball, a water-skiing canine in the 1930s; the diving bell; and musicians, including Frank Sinatra and Al Jolson, among others. Diana Ross and The Supremes played week-long engagements during the summer in 1965, 1966, and 1967, to sold-out business in the Steel Pier's Music Hall Theater and the Marine Ballroom.[4] "Rain or Shine ... There's Always a Good Show on Steel Pier" was another phrase used to describe the venue's varied entertainment.

In 1945, the pier was purchased by George Hamid, who operated the competing Million Dollar Pier. He brought popular and rock and roll music to the pier, starting with Bill Haley and the Comets in 1955. Parts of the pier were damaged or lost during the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962. The Beatles were booked in 1964, but overwhelming demand for tickets forced them to move to Boardwalk Hall. The pier used to be much longer, but a December 1969 fire six months before the opening of the 1970 season shortened its size by about a third.[5]

By the end of the 1960s, the pier was feeling the effects of declining tourism in Atlantic City. The pier was sold to a group of local businessmen in 1973. After gambling was legalized, a developer proposed turning the pier into a hotel-casino. However, the necessary governmental approvals could not be obtained, and the pier was sold to Resorts International in 1978, which mainly used the pier for storage. The original wooden pier with steel underpinnings was destroyed in a 1982 fire; the current concrete structure dates from 1993. Trump Entertainment acquired ownership of the pier when it acquired the Trump Taj Mahal in the late 1980s. The Trump Steel Pier opened in 1992, but had been reduced to about 1,000 ft (300 m) and featured mainly amusement rides. The Steel Pier continues to operate as an amusement park to this day. When Trump acquired the steel pier, he connected it to his main casino and built a hub for tram car rides.

In June 2008, the Steel Pier celebrated its 110th anniversary, having originally opened on Saturday, June 18, 1898. All rides were free that day from midnight on June 18 to midnight on June 19.[6]

In February 2012, it was announced that a diving horse act would return to the Steel Pier as part of the recently approved Tourism Master Plan,[7] but the plan was soon scrapped after public outcry.[8]

In 2017, a newer and bigger giant Ferris wheel was added to the pier. LEDs were also added to the new ferris wheel, and the ferris wheel shines from 4:30 to midnight every day.


Tickets for the Steel Pier cost $2.00 each. A book of 50 tickets with coupons is $65.00, amounting to a $35 discount. A book of 80 tickets with coupons is available as well for $85.00, amounting to $75 in savings. There are also special days of the weeks with deals associated with them, such as Two Ticket Thursdays and Two Ticket Tuesdays, which will begin on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 and Thursday, June 20th 2024. There will also be Family Fun Fridays, starting on Friday, June 21, 2024, where families can purchase a $45 unlimited ride wristband. A 10% military discount can also be received.


The entire Steel Pier complex contains twenty-four rides.[9]

Light rides (designed for kids 0-13)[edit]

Ride Name Height (with adult) Height (unaccompanied) Tickets
Balloon Wheel Height not required 36 inches 4
Beach Buggies 32 inches 36 inches 4
Carousel Height not required 42 inches 4
Dodge'm 42 inches minimum 59 inches maximum 4
Kite Flyer 36 inches 42 inches 4
Flying Ace Height not required 36 inches 4
Mighty Stampede Height not required 36 inches 4
Pirate Voyage Height not required 38 inches 4
Silly Steamer Height not required 36 inches 4
Sugar ~ Sugar 36 inches 42 inches 4

Medium rides (designed for kids 9-17)[edit]

Ride Name Height (with adult) Height (unaccompanied) Tickets
Surf's Up! 47 inches 51 inches 6
Flying Dutchman 48 inches 54 inches, maximum 75 inches 6
Rock and Roll 48 inches 48 inches 6
Swing Carousel 38 inches to ride with an adult in the same seat 44 inches 6
Twist n' Shout 36 inches 42 inches 6
Locomotion 42 inches 48 inches 6
Demo Derby 42 inches 50 inches 6
Diving Horse Height not required 47 inches 8

Heavy rides (designed for kids 10-18)[edit]

Ride Name Height (with adult) Height (unaccompanied) Tickets
Freedom Flyer 48 inches 56 inches 7
MIX 52 minimum 76 maximum 8
Tropical Storm 48 inches 55 inches 8

Special rides (special pricing)[edit]

Ride Name Height Weight Tickets
Slingshot 48 minimum 150 lbs maximum View
Helicopter Rides N/A N/A View
The Wheel 56 inches unaccompanied N/A View

In popular culture[edit]

In films[edit]

In music[edit]

"Steel Pier" - sung by Bobby Rydell on a 1963 promotional single.[11]

"Amusement Parks U.S.A." - sung by the Beach Boys, references the Steel Pier, along with many other American amusement parks

In theater[edit]

Steel Pier musical (1997) - set at Steel Pier during the 1930s. The plot centers around a dance marathon; however, dance marathons were featured instead at the Million Dollar Pier, not the Steel Pier.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ianieri, Brian (August 4, 2011). "Trump Entertainment sells Steel Pier to Catanoso family for $4.25 million". Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  2. ^ "Crossing the Goal Line". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  3. ^ Futrell, Jim (2004). Amusement Parks of New Jersey. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. p. 53.
  4. ^ " - Atlantic City's Steel Pier to Close Its Doors". CBS. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2006.
  5. ^ "Goodbye, Steel Pier". Press of Atlantic City. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2006.
  6. ^ Highsmith, Carol M. (2017). "Aerial view of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey". Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  7. ^ "Atlantic City taking a risky plunge with return of diving horses". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  8. ^ "That sinking feeling: Atlantic City plan to bring back diving horses tanks amid activists' outcry". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  9. ^ "Tickets & Rides". Steel Pier AC. July 1, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  10. ^ Brad Smith (February 24, 2012). "Three Stooges at Steel Pier, Atlantic City -- 1938". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  11. ^ Rydell, Bobby. "Steel Pier". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2017.[dead YouTube link]


  • Leibowitz. Steel (2009). Steel Pier, Atlantic City: Showplace of the Nation. West Creek, NJ: Down the Shore Publishing. ISBN 9781593220365.

External links[edit]