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This Rare Footage Of A Southern California Amusement Park Will Have You Longing For The Good Old Days

Pacific Ocean Park, or POP as the locals in Southern California called it, was a magical place in Santa Monica from 1958-1967. Although it was rather short-lived, Pacific Ocean Park still lives on in memory for those who experienced this oceanfront wonderland.

When this nautical themed amusement park originally opened in 1958, it drew in even more visitors than Disneyland on several occasions. Things looked promising for POP in the beginning; its close proximity to Disneyland actually added to its popularity. With two of the top amusement parks in the country occupying space in Southern California, SoCal quickly became THE destination for families to visit. To give you a feel for how different things were back then, guess how much you had to pay for admission? A whopping ninety cents would get you into Pacific Ocean Park for an entire day.

So what exactly happened to Pacific Ocean Park and why did it close down as Disneyland continued to thrive? The City of Santa Monica started an urban renewal project in 1965. The project intended to boost the area long-term, but in the short-term there were many factors that made it challenging for people to reach the amusement park. Buildings were being demolished in the area and streets were being closed off; this impeded access to the entrance. In a very short time the number of visitors to the park dropped substantially – almost in half – and by 1967 Pacific Ocean Park had to close due to dwindling attendance.

Today there’s nothing remaining that would indicate there was once a thriving amusement park in that location. Although it’s no longer around, those who remember POP will always have fond memories. Here’s some rare footage of Pacific Ocean Park captured in the late ’50s. It sure was charming.

Do you remember Pacific Ocean Park? If you had a chance to visit, what year did you attend? If this amusement park is making you feel nostalgic, take a look at one of my favorite posts: Then and Now Photos of Southern California that show just how much it has changed. Get a tissue, folks, as it might make you tear up.

Angela
Angela is the staff writer for Only in Your State - Southern California.