This blog post was updated on September 11, 2014.

Family Travel: L.A.’s Pacific Park Serves Up Old-Fashion Fun, Flickr: thesingingsailor

Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel

Pacific Park, located on the famous Santa Monica pier just outside Los Angeles, just above the beautiful Pacific Ocean and offers families a nostalgic and fun amusement park.

The West Coast boasts only one pier based amusement park: Pacific Park, dating back over 100 years.  The park is open year-round and offers guests 12 different rides, dining options, and games, all mixed in with the salty sea air.  

The largest & most prominent ride on the pier is the Pacific Wheel Ferris Wheel.  It is a beautiful wheel and a great place to spot some incredible views of both the city inland, and the sprawling coast around you.  Rising 130 feet above the pier, it isn’t for the faint at heart; however, its slow movement makes it a very family-friendly attraction.  Interesting fact: you wouldn’t guess it by its amazing display of nighttime colors, but it is the only solar-powered wheel in the world.  Don’t forget your sweaters on board- even on a hot day, the cool sea air and breezy winds make this a chilly ride.  

The title of the most thrilling ride in the park most certainly belongs to the “West Coaster” roller coaster.   Although it is not as extreme as many theme park rides today, the coaster is sure to get your heart racing.  Old-fashion rides like the Scrambler and the Sea Dragon brought back fun memories of my own childhood, and no doubt will do the same for you as you share them with your family.   

Toddler-friendly rides, including the flying “Sea Planes” and “Inky’s Air Lift” help keep the little ones both excited and interested in the park.

•    Parking rates change depending on volume and can vary from $6-$12; plan accordingly.
•    In off-peak seasons, some park attractions and rides might be closed.  Call ahead for detailed information.  
•    VIP passes are a great value if you plan on staying for more than a few rides.  Individual ride prices start at $3-$5/ride. 

Now you know you'll have no problem keeping the kids busy during a Los Angeles family vacation.

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photo: thesingingsailor

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