Disclosure: This post has been sponsored, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
A Mommy and Me Date at Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier
If you’re unfamiliar with the name Pacific Park, I’m sure you’re familiar with this theme park! Pacific Park is the amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier. The beach sunsets over the Pacific Park ferris wheel and roller coaster is truly iconic. I spent many weekends here as a teen, and realized I had never been with my daughter! With our frequent trips to Disneyland, LEGOLAND, and Universal Studios Hollywood, it’s no secret we love going to theme parks. This had me craving to want to enjoy another amusement park with my daughter. So I headed to explore this magical theme park overlooking the ocean to see what they had to offer for young kids at Pacific Park!
(Photography taken by @Stephishappening)
With the roller coaster being one of the most iconic rides at Pacific Park, I was initially wondering if there would be many rides for my four-year-old. I was pleasantly surprised that most of the rides she could go on, with the majority having a height requirement of 36 inches tall to ride alone, but no height requirement with a chaperone. The rides they have with no height requirement (but must be 36 inches to ride alone) are:
- Pacific Wheel (must be 42 inches to ride alone)
- Inkie’s Wave Jumper (this was my daughter’s favorite ride)
- Inkie’s Air Lift
- Sea Planes
Height Requirement of 36 inches or taller to ride:
- Frog Hopper
- Sea Dragon (must be 48 inches or taller to ride without a chaperone)
- Inkie’s Scrambler (must be accompanied by a chaperone if between 36-48 inches tall)
- Shark Frenzy (although must be accompanied by an adult if between 36-44 inches tall)
- Seaside Swing
- Sig Alert EV, must be ages 3-9
I was expecting just a couple of rides, so my daughter was thrilled she could go on all the ones listed above! The rides listed below we didn’t go on since my daughter is just barely 38 inches tall, but the remaining rides have the following height requirements:
- Pacific Plunge is 38 inches (must be accompanied with a chaperone, 42 inches without a chaperone)
- West Coaster (must be 42 inches tall)
Our favorites that we road more than once were Sea Planes and Inkie’s Wave Jumper! My daughter is a little bit of a thrill-seeker, so Inkie’s Wave Jumper was especially fun for her.
Of course a visit to an amusement park means lots of yummy food! Pacific Park delivers in the food department, with a food court filled with a wide variety of options. You might expect quick service restaurants on the beach to have subpar food, but the quality and taste of the food blew me away! At the food court, you can find:
- Beach Burger
- They had delicious veggie burgers, with crinkle cut fries. This was a win for this vegetarian family!
- Another favorite was the kid’s grilled cheese with crinkle fries.
- Pacific Wheel Pizza Company
- The vegetarian options included margherita pizza, veggie pizza, and cheese pizza.
- For kids, my daughter’s picks were the cheese pizza or side of mac & cheese
- Whac-a-Mole Tacos
- Vegetarian options included the cheese nachos, the Not So Loaded nachos (beans, sour cream, guacamole, jalapeno and crema), and the bean and cheese burrito.
- They also have vanilla or mango Dole Whips! (Or you can get a mango/vanilla Dole whip swirl)
- Scoops Ice Cream & Treats
- They have ice cream, floats, shakes, and funnel cakes. I had a scoop of their strawberry ice cream, and my daughter had a scoop of the cotton candy. They were both incredibly creamy and delicious!
- Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
- Dippin’ Dots
- Popcornopolis popcorn cart
In addition to treats and rides, there are also lots of boardwalk style games. The game attendants were so nice, and upon asking what games would be best for a four-year-old, they gave their recommendations of the best ones. It’s easy to win a prize plush when playing the games, ideal for a toddler who is eyeing one. It truly can make a kid’s day if they play a game at an amusement park and get to carry around their prize all day! We played $27 worth of games, and my daughter got three stuffed animals total!
What to Know Ahead of Time When Going with Young Kids
Since this was my first time spending a day at Pacific Park since my daughter was born, I started the day not knowing what to expect! I wanted to share some things that might be useful to know ahead of time when going to plan your day.
Where to Park? There is a parking lot on the Santa Monica Pier, which is right in front of the entrance to Pacific Park. It is $2 per half hour, with a daily max of $10. While there is no validation for parking on the pier, the $10 max isn’t much considering the convenience of how close it is to the entrance. I even parked there last week during Spring break and it was not a problem finding a spot.
Should I Bring a Stroller? I wondered if I need a stroller! While there is a lot to do at Pacific Park, you don’t have to exhaust yourself walking long distances. Since the rides are close together, we were stopping frequently to go on them. We also stopped at the food court. Between the two, we didn’t need a stroller for the four hours we were there. So I recommend leaving the stroller in the car and roam freely!
Is There a Cost for Admission? Admission to enter the park is free! Instead, you pay individually for rides and games. This is fantastic, since you can customize if you want to spend a whole day doing rides, games, the works…or you can maybe just buy a few games or a ride wristband or just stop for a cup of coffee and people watch!
How Can I Make the Most of My Trip? To experience all that Pacific Park has to offer, I highly recommend buying the unlimited ride wristband online before going to the park, since it has a discount if you purchase online. ($17.05 for 7 and younger, $31.45 for 8 and up). While there, you can also go to one of the ticket booths to purchase a game card. I found it nice to have a game card with money loaded on it, so you can easily just have your card scanned and play games throughout the day. They also have multi-day and annual passes available for purchase at the ticket window.
I was blown away by Pacific Park. The combination of the amazing food and ice cream, seeing my daughter thrilled to win prizes at the games, and going on rides together over and over again…all while enjoying the ocean breeze and beach sunsets was nothing short of magical. When we were going on Spring break, I thought we would be in for long lines and maybe a bit of a hard time seeing everything. The rides load and unload efficiently, meaning there’s pretty much no wait time for the lines. Short wait times, no strollers, and plenty that a four-year-old can enjoy? All these factors has now made Pacific Park one of my favorite amusement parks. Visit their site here to get your tickets ahead of time to start planning your visit to Pacific Park!