||Pacific Ocean Park, Venice, CA (other)
Joined: Jul 06, 2004
From: North O.C.
|Posted: 2004-09-17 09:55 am  Permalink|
Name:Pacific Ocean Park
Opening day on Saturday July 28, 1958 drew 20,000 curious people and dozens of Hollywood celebrities. Sunday's 37,262 paying customers brought traffic jams to the area. During the first six days it out performed Disneyland in attracting customers.
Visitors entered the park through Neptune's Kingdom where they descended in a submarine elevator to the oceanic corridors below. Across from the elevator was an enormous sea tank where it appeared a shark and its prey shared the same tank. Beyond and covering one entire wall was a large diorama filled with creatures that couldn't live in captivity. Motorized artificial turtles, manta rays, sawfish and sharks glided by over coral reefs and hanging seaweed.
Pacific Ocean Park also had two dining and shopping areas. Inside the park was a recreation of a New England harbor called Fisherman's Cove. Outside along Ocean Front Walk was the International Promenade offering superb cuisine in authentic foreign restaurants, as well as exotic souvenirs, gifts and imports in various shops.
Check out this website: http://naid.sppsr.ucla.edu/venice/mapsdocs/poppier-map.htm for more info and GREAT pictures!! You should really check it out.
The reason I posted here is \"Mystery Island\" that was at the end of the pier. Check out the entrance!
Joined: Mar 26, 2002
From: So Cal
|Posted: 2004-09-17 3:47 pm  Permalink|
Great information Matt. I was only old enough to have several vauge memories of POP but your notes and attached web site info triggered many more.
Thanks for sharing
Grand Member (first year)
Joined: Mar 25, 2002
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
|Posted: 2004-09-17 5:39 pm  Permalink|
here's another pic
Joined: Nov 29, 2002
From: San Diego, CA
|Posted: 2004-09-17 6:39 pm  Permalink|
Thanks for posting this Tiki Matt. That link brings back a lot of childhood memories of my many trips to POP wid da fam. The Spaceship to Mars ride absolutely TERRIFIED me the 1st time I went on it. I think the Flying Dutchman might have been the inspiration for Pirates of the Carribean...ARRRR!
Joined: Jul 27, 2002
From: D.C. / Virginia
|Posted: 2006-09-25 06:40 am  Permalink|
A few more pictures of the Mystery Island 'tiki' portion of Pacific Ocean Park are located on the Dumb Angel blog. This site also features some cool 'mod' shots of the 1966 Cheetah night club
Pictures start about 1/3 the way down.
Joined: Jul 03, 2003
|Posted: 2007-09-16 5:40 pm  Permalink|
Lawrence Welk visits Pacific Ocean Park in 1959!
Watch the Sparklers sing "Yellow Bird" on (what must be) the Banana Boat Ride.
WOW, POP is all over YouTube...
Joined: Aug 04, 2006
|Posted: 2007-11-05 07:49 am  Permalink|
Joined: Nov 28, 2002
From: santa monica
|Posted: 2007-11-05 12:28 pm  Permalink|
I went there once when I was 5 in 1966, cool place!. We don't even have marineland anymore.....whimper
Joined: Sep 27, 2008
From: Los Angeles
|Posted: 2009-09-07 6:44 pm  Permalink|
I just found out about this place today..looks pretty cool!
Joined: Aug 10, 2004
|Posted: 2009-09-07 6:50 pm  Permalink|
how much were ride tickets?
Grand Member (first year)
Joined: Aug 31, 2009
From: Silver Lake, CA
|Posted: 2009-09-07 7:03 pm  Permalink|
this is the same POP pier featured in decay in the movie DogTown Z-Boys...what a great piece of Americana in its heyday and in its destruction...they surfed in the pilings and made it their own, locals only...
Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2009-09-07 8:54 pm  Permalink|
It's too bad most of the links in the older posts are dead. Here's a current YouTube video that has a nice overview of POP:
The UCLA link has since moved to this new location:
All of the source material was taken from a book "Venice California, Coney Island of the Pacific" written by Jeffrey Stanton. This encyclopedic book contains an entire chapter devoted to POP. The 1987 first edition has been out-of-print for some time. I actually ran into Stanton at an unrelated video screening a few years ago saying I've been looking for a copy. He answered "No one cares about my book" but proceeded to pull an updated 2005 copy out of his backpack. It's since been made available via this seller:
Or this site: http://www.westland.net/venicehistory/articles/bookstore.html
This is an amazing book covering the history of piers that existed in both Venice and Santa Monica from the turn of the century through the 1970's.
There's also a website devoted to POP memories (which is not reliable for always being up).
POP was built on top of the original Ocean Park Pier in 1957. If anyone wants to see what the pier (and carnival) were like prior to POP, it was featured in a 1950 film noir "Quicksand" starring Mickey Rooney. This movie also shows the fishing pier (which is now the existing SM Pier at the end of Colorado Ave). It's a great time machine back to the early days of Samo.
I live a few blocks away from where POP used to stand. It's hard to believe this massive amusement park used to exist since there is no evidence it was ever there. In its place are luxury condos and bare sand. I understand some metal pilings still exist beneath the surface of the water. Who knows, maybe some of the original Tikis of Mystery Island lie at the bottom of the ocean, waiting for Tiki archaeologists to discover them using scuba gear.
My mother claims she and my father took my sister and me to POP back in 1966. I have no memory of this and they never bothered to take any pictures. She also claims we visited Danny Balsz's THE TIKIS (BOT pg 107) in Monterey Park since we lived in nearby Rosemead but I can't remember this either.
[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-09-09 21:45 ]
Joined: Jun 17, 2008
From: Riverside, California
|Posted: 2009-09-08 04:53 am  Permalink|
If anyone is interested in talking P.O.P. - PM me
Joined: Nov 16, 2007
From: Santa Barbara, CA
|Posted: 2009-09-09 12:46 pm  Permalink|
Here are a few more from POP.
Here is a postcard I came across on ebay showing a concept of a ride through the volcano at the end of the South Sea Island area.
The Banana Train ran through the South Sea Island.
Looks like the South Sea Island started out as the "Mystic Isles".
Here are some great photos of the Banana Train in action.
Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2009-09-09 9:44 pm  Permalink|
POP and the original Ocean Park Pier might be history but the Santa Monica Pier just celebrated its 100 year anniversary.
Dick Dale even performed !!