Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Galveston’s newest attraction, Pleasure Pier with my niece and two of my children. What a wonderful time we had!
Pleasure Pier was originally built in the late 1940′s and in 1965 became home to the historic Flagship Hotel, an island landmark which was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Landry’s purchased the pier from the city of Galveston and have transformed the area into an amusement park for visitors and locals to experience and enjoy. Pleasure Pier is expected to bring 1 million visitors to the island. I have no doubt it will.
Even though yesterday was a cloudy, rainy day, we decided to take our chances and head down to Galveston from our home in Houston. The drive is just a little over an hour. We arrived at Pleasure Pier and parked in the parking lot across the street. The streets looked crowded and with the threat of rain, I wanted to park the car close to the pier. Parking was a bit expensive, but if you eat at either Fish Tales (right next door) or Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company (at Pleasure Pier), they will validate your parking. I only paid $4.00 to park because of the validation. Regular parking prices during peak season is $10 for 3 hours and then $2 for every hour thereafter for a maximum of $16 for the day. There’s a $10 validation for diners spending $25 or more at Bubba Gump and Fish Tales restaurants.
The park passes cost $26.99 for adults (48″ and up) and $21.99 for children (under 48″). These are for all-day passes which allow you to ride all the rides as often as you’d like. While not cheap, the prices are in line with other amusement park prices.
If you’d just like to walk onto the pier and have a look around you’ll need to purchase a Pier Pass for $10.00. This pass only allows you to enjoy the pier, not experience any of the rides.
You can upgrade your pass or buy individual ride tickets at ticket booths throughout the park. The rides start at $4.00 per ticket.
We bought the all day park passes for the kids and I bought the walk on pier pass for myself. I’m not a huge roller coaster fan so I didn’t think I would ride as many rides to justify the price. At first, I was a little surprised that I would have to pay just to walk onto the pier, but after thinking about it, I understand the reasoning behind it. Having to pay a fee to walk on to the pier keeps the crowd levels down and provides a great place for families and visitors to enjoy.
There are quite a few nice rides for children, such as the bumper cars, a colorful double decker carousel, twirling teacups but the majority of the rides are for the thrill-seekers. For example, the Iron Shark Rollercoaster has an 100-foot vertical lift and a beyond vertical drop. This was my son’s favorite ride. Another favorite was the Pirate’s Plunge, a log flume with twists, turns and two drops. You will most definitely get wet! The kids all enjoyed the Galaxy Wheel, which is a giant ferris wheel that gives you an spectacular view of the island and Pleasure Pier. I’m told, the Galaxy Wheel is beautiful at night when it’s lit up. Full a complete list with descriptions of the rides, check out Pleasure Pier website here.
We loved the traditional Midway games such as the Whac-a-Mole, Balloon Pop, Ring Toss and many, many more. You’ll win a prize at almost all of them. These each cost extra and we paid about $3.00 per game.
You can also expect to find several places to eat at Pleasure Pier. There are several quick-service restaurants scattered throughout the pier that serve burgers, hot dogs and pizza as well as smoked turkey legs. You’ll also find soft drinks, Icees, beer and margaritas and of course, ice cream and cotton candy.
You’ll see Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company just outside the pier entrance and Fish Tales right across the street. With the purchase of the all-day pass, you can leave the pier and return later if you’d like.
I think Paradise Pier is going to be great for the Galveston economy. We certainly enjoyed our day here and look forward to returning soon.