The original look of the Pacific Park entrance.
|Slogan||"The Family Amusement Park on the Santa Monica Pier"
"LA's only admission-free amusement park"
|Location||Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Operated by||Santa Monica Amusements|
|Opened||May 25, 1996|
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 on the West Coast of the United States located on a pier and LA's only admission-free park. There are a total of twelve 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. It has appeared in over 500 movies and television shows such as Fat Albert, Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana: The Movie, 90210, Bean, and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, as well as the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V. It is owned by EPR Properties and operated by Santa Monica Amusements.
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.
The park is "non-gated" and there is no charge for admission; individual rides charge a fee. There are a dozen 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.
Pacific Park as seen from the end of Santa Monica Pier