Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is definitely one of Southern California’s gems. With so much fun to offer, the destination can be a day trip or even a weekend getaway. Restaurants, shopping and a full amusement park are among the possible pleasures after a day at the beach or a casual walk on the Pier.
If you want to learn about the 100-year history of the pier while you’re taking that walk, on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and noon you can partake in a free hour-long walking tour. Just meet up at the Pier Shop, located at the historic Merry-Go-Round Building, and a docent will lead the way.
Walking is probably the most subdued activity you can do at the pier. But would you believe if you’re looking for the other extreme, you can take a flying trapeze class at the Pier? LAinfo@trapezeschool.com.
While you’re taking a stroll, stop into some of the fun shops along the way. Check out Oatman Rock Shop which boasts a lot of 60’s merchandise, shells, crystals and the like.
At the Pier Shop there is some souvenir clothing. Marlene’s Beachcomber is where you can pick up towels, sunscreen and necessities for any beach trip and 66 to Cali is a small shop dedicated to Route 66 and American-made goods.
At the Bait and Tackle shop you can get whatever you need to do some fishing. Yep, that’s right, you can fish at the pier.
You can see 100 ocean species at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which actually has hands-on activities for kids in addition to educational programs. www.healthebay.org/smpa
Located in the Hippodrome, the oldest building on the pier (built in 1916) is the famous carousel. The carousel was built sometime in the 1920’s and consists of 46 wooden animals – 44 horses, 1 rabbit, 1 goat and two wooden sleighs – on which guests sit.
The icing on the cake is the amusement park. Although hours vary from season to season and weekdays and weekends, you can spend a large chunk of time just in Pacific Park alone, enjoying the 12 thrilling rides.
You won’t want to miss the famous lit up Pacific Wheel, the only solar-powered Ferris wheel in the world that gives guests a panoramic view of the Southern California coastline.
The West Coaster is the only roller coaster located on a pier over the Pacific coastline, escalating to heights of 55 feet while visitors experience a sea breeze.
For the kids there is no height requirement for rides such as Sea Planes and Santa Monica Pier Patrol.
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