June 25, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Fun, sun, and nostalgia at Pacific Park on the Pier

Perhaps you visited as a child or a teenager. Maybe these days you enjoy it with your kids. Or maybe you’ve only seen the fun from a distance. Either way, you’re probably familiar with the iconic presence of Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier: the enormous silhouette of the Ferris wheel; the roller coaster emitting screams of delight; and the colorful swoop of the Sea Dragon ride.

Looking directly out on the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Park is an amusement park like no other. Millions of visitors enjoy it each year, and it’s not hard to see why, with a dozen rides, popular Midway arcade games and delicious over-ocean dining—including those classic funnel cakes of course!

And then there’s the weather. Those who live in Santa Monica know we enjoy an average of 280 days of sunshine a year, making this one of the sunniest amusement parks, as well as the only West Coast amusement park directly located on a pier. It’s also the only Los Angeles’ amusement park that you can enter totally free of charge.

Pacific Park’s purpose is to provide an authentic California amusement experience, where guests of all ages play together in a safe and unrivaled setting. And, over the years, the park has been continually upgraded and improved upon so that the fun never stops.

“We are always looking at new and exciting ways to improve the visitor experience,” says Nathan Smithson, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. “This means new rides including Shark Frenzy and the Seaside Swing, games such as Whac-A-Mole, and exciting new food offerings while staying true to guests’ favorites like burgers, hotdogs, and Scoops Icecream & Treats.”

The Park opened in 1996, and having a tight maintenance schedule is important to make sure everything stays in tip-top shape. This includes recently refurbishing the famous ‘Inkie’ octopus that sits above the entranceway welcoming visitors.

Among its many other attractions, the Park is perhaps most famous for its Pacific Wheel—the world’s first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel. Measuring 85 feet, the wheel moves at 2.5 revolutions per minute with intermittent stops to pick up passengers. 

Not only does the wheel provide incredible views of the Southern California coastline and Los Angeles skyline from more than 130 feet above the Pier, but it’s also lit up in the evenings by more than 174,000 energy-efficient LED lights. These lights provide spectacular computer-generated visual entertainment and special programming to commemorate holidays and special events.

Pacific Park also boasts the only West Coast steel roller coaster located on a Pier over the Pacific Coastline. Riders are treated to refreshing ocean sprays as they rise to 55 feet in the air, enjoying spectacular views before a thrilling drop and 35 mph ride that circles the park. Another ride, Inkie’s Scrambler, is a 12-car fast-paced ride that performs a series of roundabout moves and rotations at more than 11 revolutions per minute. And Pacific Plunge is a 44-foot exhilarating tower ride that leaves riders feeling weightless while providing a breathtaking view of the Pacific.

Pacific Park is so iconic it has appeared in over 500 movies and television shows, including Fat Albert, Hannah Montana, Kidsongs, 90210, Bean, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V. All of this makes for the quintessential Southern California experience. So, whether you want to test your skills on the Midway video games, win prizes at the Ring Toss and Water Race, be thrilled on the West Coaster, or make memories of a lifetime, you’ll be taking part in a little bit of SoCal history while you’re at it

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