Pacific Park celebrates its tenth anniversary on the Santa Monica Pier, Friday, May 26th.

Since opening in 1996, Pacific Park has entertained an estimated ten million guests, provided more than 24 million rides on its 12 amusement rides, and awarded more than 1.9 million pieces of plush toys at its Pier Pressure Zone games.

“Pacific Park has been a wonderful family-oriented addition to the Santa Monica Pier,” said Santa Monica City Councilwoman Pam O’Connor, who was mayor during the park’s inauguration.

“I have fond memories of the opening and can’t believe ten years have flown by. I look forward to the next ten, with Pacific Park continuing to help draw tourists and Santa Monica families to the Pier.”

The park’s Ferris wheel, which was selected by Reader’s Digest as one of the Best in America 2006, recently surpassed its three millionth rider. It underwent conversion to solar power in 1998.

The two-acre amusement park on the Pier has tallied many statistics from daily operations over the last ten years including:

n the spinning of more than 462,000 pieces of cotton candy;

n the scooping of more than 42,000 gallons of ice cream; and

n the brewing of 651,000 cups of coffee.

In addition, Pacific Park has served as the location for more than 200 television commercials and shows, music videos, feature films, and photo shoots.

The park is featured in the opening shots of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and served as the location for American Idol.

Park officials say a variety of celebrities have been spotted at the amusement park including Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Dustin Hoffman, Cher, Mark Wahlberg, Lily Tomlin, Vince Vaughn, Keanu Reeves, Adam Brody, and Paris Hilton.

“This is a momentous occasion for all of us associated with Pacific Park, its investors, the City of Santa Monica, the Pier Restoration Corporation, and Santa Monica residents,” said Mary Ann Powell, chief executive officer and general manager of the park.

“I’m very proud of our staff, employees, and vendors for their ability to continue to provide a great family entertainment value in such a dynamic and challenging environment.”

Since 1996, Pacific Park has donated more than $100,000 to charitable organizations and created the annual youth programs charity event PALpalooza with the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL).

The park has also hosted numerous private and special events for organizations, including Microsoft, Columbia Pictures, Pepsi, the Democratic National Convention, UCLA Children’s Hospital, and McDonald’s.

In addition to its 12 rides, there are 21 midway games and an oceanfront food plaza.

The Santa Monica Pier opened on September 9th, 1909. The Hippodrome building debuted in 1916, the Santa Monica Arch was dedicated in 1939, and the Carousel appeared in 1942.

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