Galveston Pleasure Pier Reopens 51 Years After it was Destroyed by Hurricane Carla
Posted by Staff on Thursday, June 21st, 2012
The Galveston Pleasure Pier was once the king of pleasure piers in the United States. Located over the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas, the pier attracted an enormous number of tourists to Galveston Island beginning in the 1940s. The pier’s success continued until 1961 when the Texas coast was hit by Hurricane Carla and the Galveston Pleasure Pier was severely damaged. 51 years later, the pier has been reborn as the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. The pier reopened in May of this year and has been a big hit amongst those who are visiting it for the first time and those who have fond memories of the original pleasure pier.
Galveston has a long history of entertainment dating all the way back to the turn of the twentieth century. In 1906, just two blocks from the current Pleasure Pier, an amusement park called the Electric Park lit up Galveston. It featured many of the most exciting attractions of the day, including a roller coaster, a carousel, and The Aerial Swing. It wasn’t until WWII that the pier was built by the United States military. After the war, the pier was transformed into the Galveston Pleasure Pier and quickly became one of the most popular pleasure piers in the country alongside the Santa Monica Pier and Chicago’s Navy Pier.
Four years after Hurricane Carla put an end to the golden days of the Galveston Pleasure Pier, the Flagship Hotel opened on the pier and started drawing tourists back to the island. The hotel continued to operate for over forty years until 2009 when Hurricane Ike nearly destroyed it. Instead of repairing the hotel, the owner’s, Landry’s Restaurants, decided to demolish it and build an amusement park along the pier. Renovation of the pier began in early 2011 as Landry’s revealed plans to turn the former Pleasure Pier into a world-class amusement park.
Today, the pier, which protrudes 1,130 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, is home to 16 rides, as well as numerous games, restaurants, and retailers. So far, only 13 of the rides are in operation and the pier will be cutting the admission price until everything is up and running. The rides featured at the pier include one roller coaster (Iron Shark), a 100-foot-tall Ferris Wheel, a Log Flume ride, a swing ride, and many others. Between all the different rides, there is a wide range of thrills available, which is part of the pier’s appeal as a family-oriented destination.
The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a unique offering among all the other attractions opening throughout the United States this summer. It doesn’t rely on huge roller coasters and the latest in ride technology to attract tourists. Instead, it is all about creating a nostalgic atmosphere where families can relax, have fun, and interact with the past.