Arts & Entertainment

Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel to go (mostly) dark in May

Along with more than a dozen landmarks across the U.S. and Canada, the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier will light up to promote next week's
Along with more than a dozen landmarks across the U.S. and Canada, the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier will light up to promote next week's "Stand Up to Cancer" telethon.
Photo by daynna/red.dahlia via Flickr Creative Commons

On the heels of LACMA’s announcement that its selfie-centric “Urban Light” installation will go dark for repair, Santa Monica has announced that its pier’s famous Pacific Park Ferris wheel will also go lights-out this month.

Starting on Thursday at 11 p.m., the prominent pier attraction will go dark so a new $1 million light system can be installed.

https://twitter.com/claudiabaillie/status/724476876383784960

“This new system is more energy efficient and the ultimate goal is we’ll be able to make a lot more colors on the Pacific Wheel,” Pacific Park marketing and sales manager Nathan Smithson told KPCC.

The over 174,000 new and more advanced LED lights will also make design transitions smoother and more appealing to the eye. Get ready, Instagrammers.

Though the Ferris wheel’s famed fancy light show will go dark for the duration of the upgrade, the wheel will still keep turning for guests to ride. It will also include a special feature: In honor of Pacific Park’s 20th birthday — which takes place May 26 — the park will light one of the wheel's 20 gondolas each night.

Pacific Park hopes to have the new lights fully installed on the Ferris wheel by the end of May but can’t yet estimate how long the work will take.

“Once we get there and start installation of the new lights we’ll be able to develop out a timeline,” said Smithson.

Pacific Park posted the video below to its Facebook page April 27, with the caption: "The ‪#‎pacificwheel‬ is getting a slight make over!"

https://www.facebook.com/pacificpark/videos/10153821482762599/

In addition to removing the existing 160,000 lights, the renovations will also require some repainting.  

The current Ferris wheel has only been on the pier since 2008, when it replaced an older model.

Back then the pier had a celebration for the new wheel but nothing similar is planned to mark Pacific Park’s 20th birthday this year.

“The celebration is really going to be the opportunity for everyone to come out this summer to Pacific Park and check out all the new animations and color and lighting effects we’ll be able to reproduce,” Smithson said.