One of the oldest and most cherished rides on the Santa Monica Pier, the original Sea Dragon, is bidding farewell to its prized Pacific view as it’s retired to make way for an all-new Sea Dragon ride. It’s on display until Wednesday March 8, 2023, in the upper pier parking lot adjacent to the east entrance of the amusement park, daily from 11am to 9pm.

A special send-off is planned for Thursday, March 9 at 8am during which the all-new Sea Dragon will also be making its debut. The swinging ride is based loosely on what’s referred to as a “pirate ship ride” since this was the appearance that early incarnations of the ride took. The dragon swings back and forth in a 180-degree arc, subjecting the rider to various levels of angular momentum together with a series of up to 40 ft plummets and thrilling launches.

“The original Sea Dragon is retiring to keep the park new and fresh for guests,” Cameron Andrews, a representative of Pier Communications said. “It’s being replaced with an updated version of the same ride and sports the familiar bright green, scaly exterior and has been installed in the identical space and delivers the same high-swinging ride experience.”

Since it opened in May 1996, it has provided more than 12 million rides to both locals and visiting tourists and now those very same visitors have the opportunity to share their favorite memories of the fairground ride by submitting a video, photos and-or text regarding their experience at

“We look forward to sharing the public’s memories of the Sea Dragon with our guests and team members as we celebrate the retirement of the original Sea Dragon ride,” said Nathan Smithson, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Pacific Park in a statement. “The Sea Dragon is an iconic piece of the amusement park ride experience for everyone including the film and music industries and numerous celebrities.”

This unassuming but iconic element of the pier can be spotted in a number of movies and television shows, including Iron Man (2008) directed by Jon Favreau and Her (2013) directed by Spike Jonze.

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Scott Snowden

Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.