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Pacific Ocean Park, Venice, CA (other)

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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!


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



here's another pic

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!


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.




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...



I went there once when I was 5 in 1966, cool place!. We don't even have marineland anymore.....whimper


I just found out about this place today..looks pretty cool!

hey Joe,
how much were ride tickets?



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...

JOHN-O posted on Mon, Sep 7, 2009 8:54 PM

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. :(

[ Edited by: JOHN-O 2009-09-09 21:45 ]

TikiG posted on Tue, Sep 8, 2009 4:53 AM

If anyone is interested in talking P.O.P. - PM me

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.


JOHN-O posted on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 9:44 PM

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 !!

JOHN-O posted on Sat, Mar 6, 2010 7:19 PM

Hey, check out the fantastic POP art that I just got. It's the shuttered Mr. Dolphin aerial ride.

Guess who the artist is?

Tiki Central's very own TikiG !!

TikiG posted on Mon, Mar 8, 2010 9:47 AM

My derelict P.O.P. painting in juxtaposition to a Hawaiiannette LP cover and requisite reading materials?
The paintins' in good company at the John-O residence :)

Thanks for posting the pics John-O

Cheers! G

TikiG posted on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 2:18 PM

Did you know that the "South Seas Island" at the tip of Pacific Ocean Park became an honorary member of the Samoan Islands during a dedication and ceremony held on Thursday, July 10, 1958?

This is a piece of Polynesian pop-culture history worth documenting here on Tiki Central :wink: Enjoy!

GREAT find! I soooo could have used this info to flesh out the P.O.P. page in the BOT! Which doesn't mean I still could use for a future book. :D

Chub posted on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 6:07 PM

From the Los Angeles Public Library Collection. Photograph dated July 18, 1958. Bonnie Manchester and Virginia Nelson walk up to a South Seas adventure on the South Seas Island section of Pacific Ocean Park. The entrance is under a South Seas Island Polynesian Island stilt house.

Photograph caption dated July 19, 1958 reads, "One of the most picturesque rides of the park is the trip through jungle lands on a banana train. Visitors see "wild animals," enter a "live" volcano and ride through a tropical storm."

[ Edited by: Chub 2012-08-21 18:21 ]

I'm sorry if this was already posted, but my computer isn't showing all of the pictures that have been posted.

TV show Route 66, an episode called "Between Hello and Goodbye" from Season 2 (Originally aired May 11, 1962) was filmed at Pacific Ocean Park.

Route 66: Between Hello and Goodbye

There is a tiki at the one minute mark.

Chub posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 9:56 AM


On 2013-07-09 23:16, King Bushwich the 33rd wrote:
TV show Route 66, an episode called "Between Hello and Goodbye" from Season 2 (Originally aired May 11, 1962) was filmed at Pacific Ocean Park.

Route 66: Between Hello and Goodbye

There is a tiki at the one minute mark.

That was awesome !! Thanks King Bushwich. I really appreciated the "behind the scenes" of King Neptune's Lair. That was very valuable historical footage of POP.

1961 photo of the coconut throw at POP. You can see some tikis in the picture.

The banana train ride is called the US Rubber Train Ride in this photo. :lol:


[ Edited by: tikilongbeach 2014-12-04 11:41 ]


Nice finds on the old POP photos. From a historical photo website?


On 2014-12-05 11:25, Dustycajun wrote:

Nice finds on the old POP photos. From a historical photo website?


The Los Angeles Public Library photo archives website. You will love it!


Zephyr surfboard founder Jeff Ho talks about P.O.P. and it's transition to a surf spot

Ghosts of the POP with Jeff Ho

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