As a Houston native who no longer has a home theme park, I am always on the lookout for anything entertaining or exciting coming to the area. As the fourth largest city in the U.S., there are a lot of people here who crave an amusement park and sadly, we're left with three to four hour drives to San Antonio or Dallas if we want thrills.
I can tell you right now that there is a market for rides and amusements here. Every year that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo comes in to town with their Carnival, that place gets PACKED. The Rodeo as a whole drew a record attendance last year of over 2.2 million people. While not all of this is because of the carnival, the Rodeo hosts things like live shows and concerts that an amusement park would have. Houstonians flock to the carnival to get their fix of rides and games. I have waited in long lines and maneuvered through crowds the past couple of years and can tell you that although we no longer have a theme park, we still have a desire for one.
Now located 45 minutes from Houston is Galveston, a nice island on the Gulf that serves as a retreat for locals and a home for others. I know a lot of friends that own vacation homes and beach houses for weekend trips to the island. The market in Galveston, just like Houston, craves fun attractions. The island is already host to a Schlitterbahn Water Park and the Moody Gardens, an educational and recreational park with signature glass pyramids. And coming this May is the all-new Pleasure Pier. With the addition of the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, Galveston is starting to become a real destination. We're talking a weekend stay to a weeklong stay upgrade. These pre-existing attractions paired with the beach and the new pier will make for a very fun vacation.
The man behind the Pleasure Pier is none other than Landry’s CEO Tilman Fertitta, a man who I look up to greatly. In the past, Fertitta has created great attractions such as Houston’s Downtown Aquarium, the Kemah Boardwalk, and various themed restaurants. If I had to pick anyone to revitalize the pier, which had been home to the Flagship Hotel until after hurricane Ike, I would firstly choose Fertitta. He knows what he’s doing and knows how to make a successful, fun, and entertaining attraction.
The pier’s lineup includes various flat rides, a 100 ft. Euro Fighter coaster, a log flume, a 230ft. Star Flyer, and a LED lit Ferris wheel. Sounds good to me. If you’re given a long, generally small portion of land (in this case, a pier) and are going to turn it into an amusement park, you are going to have to use the space to it’s absolute full potential. Do I believe Fertitta has done that? Definitely yes. If you take a look at the rendering it is actually pretty hard to see detail but you can tell that it is packed with numerous amusements. While the majority of the rides are your standard carnival flats, I respect Fertitta’s decision to use these rides’ small footprint in order to pack as many thrills onto the pier as possible. But he realized that you cannot simply have these. He knew there needed to be highlight attractions such as the Euro Fighter, log flume, star flyer, and Ferris wheel mentioned above. I believe the pier has a balanced variety of all sorts of thrills, which is perfect.
The pier has kept its Facebook page updated and from what I can tell, everyone is all onboard. Looks like everybody is just as excited as I am to welcome this new attraction to Galveston. I will be covering the pier’s opening in the near future so stay tuned for pictures and more reports later.