May 26 anniversary for Pacific Park
By Chad Winthrop
After 15 million guests and 60 million rides, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier is celebrating its 25th Anniversary.
Pacific Park opened on May 26, 1996, becoming the first amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier since the 1930s.
Since 1996 the two-acre amusement park has entertained more than 25 million guests, provided over 60 million rides on its 12 classic boardwalk attractions–including the beloved Pacific Wheel and The West Coaster– awarded more than 4.75 million pieces of plush and prizes at the midway games. The Park also spun over 1.1 million pieces of cotton candy, scooped more than 105,000 gallons of ice cream and brewed over a perky 1.6 million cups of coffee.
All this month, Pacific Park has been sharing memories and archival photos on social media.
- 1998: Pacific Park and Southern California Edison Technology Solutions created the world’s first and still only solar-powered Ferris wheel.
- 2006: Pacific Park’s solar-powered Ferris wheel was named “Best of America” by the editors of Reader’s Digest magazine.
- 2008: Pacific Park introduced an all-new $1.5 million Ferris wheel featuring more than 160,000 energy-efficient LED lights. Pacific Park sold the previous Ferris wheel on eBay to benefit the Special Olympics of Southern California.
- 2012: Los Angeles Police Officer Gus Martinez set the Guinness World Records title of 25 hours on a Ferris wheel at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.
- 2013: Pacific Park’s Ferris wheel was selected by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the “World’s Coolest Ferris Wheels.”
- 2015: Yahoo! Travel announced its “The Best Amusement Park in Every State” with Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier taking top honors in California.
- 2016: In light of its 20th Birthday celebration, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier introduced a new Ferris wheel lighting package in 2016. Standing 130 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the nearly $1 million lighting system allows the Park to display dynamic, unique, and brilliant light programs every evening.
- 2018: Top competitive eaters competed in the first-ever Pacific Park World Taco-Eating Championship. The inaugural event took place on “National Taco Day” and set a new world record as the #1-Ranked Competitive Eater In The World Joey Chestnut ate 62 Pacific Park street-style carnita tacos in 8 minutes to claim the Major League Eating title.
- 2019: Netflix takes over the Santa Monica Pier with their “Stranger Things” premier celebration. Fans of the show were invited to walk through an immersive 1980s Hawkins, Indiana, experience complete with 1980s bands, theming from the show, and specially curated treats and prizes.
- 2020: Pacific Park honored doctors, nurses, medical staff and healthcare workers for more than 300 nights on the Pacific Wheel during the once-in-a-lifetime COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Following the closure of Pacific Parks for more than 13 months, with Los Angeles County now in the yellow tier the amusement park has welcomed guests back to the rides under limitations to allow for social distancing and safe enjoyment of the outdoor attractions.