DARK IN THE PARK

"MEMORIES OF WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY"

HUNT'S PIER

[golden nugget mine shaft]

A 1991 view of the Golden Nugget Mine Ride.  This ride was a custom dark ride roller coaster designed by John Allen of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1960.  The ride contained many classic Bill Tracy stunts including falling barrels, a trick waterfall and a spinning barrel.  The ride remained on Hunt's Pier up until 2009, although it hadn't operated since 1998.  On January 31, 2009, the Morey's Piers company held a farewell ceremony to honor the ride before removing it from the pier.  Click to see video and pictures from the farewell ceremony. 

Our favorite pier growing up was without a question Hunt's Pier. The rides and character of the pier made it a mini Disney World.  Our favorite rides were the Pirate Ship and the Golden Nugget Mine Shaft.  Most of the rides on this pier were built in the 1960s and were true classics.

[pirate ship]
A picture of our crew standing in front of the Pirate Ship during the early '80s.  This picture was taken before the new pirate face entrance was added to the ride.  Notice the covered opening for a TV monitor next to the skeleton hand.  This monitor used to show people on the inside of the ride.  I am second from the right of this picture.  My brother is to my right. 

No vacation to Wildwood was complete until we walked through the Pirate Ship.  This was by far our favorite ride on the pier.  It had a slanted room complete with padded walls for you to bounce up against.  The slanted room also had a shoot attached to the wall that sent a skeeball back and forth….I never really understood this stunt but it was neat.  Many of the stunts in the Pirate Ship ceased to function over its 27 years of existence.  I remember the cook on the deck of the ship that use to rock back and forth while trying to fight off the rats.  Eventually, he stopped rocking, and a few years after that, they closed off his kitchen from view.  I remember the skeleton pirate that would be drinking whiskey while it poured through his rib cage.  I remember the pirates stretching a poor soul on the rack as well as unfortunate pirates buried in the sand.  A highlight of the walkthrough attraction was the rotating barrel in the belly of the ship.  There was even a sissy route around the barrel in case you were too scared.  I guess because of liability reasons, even the barrel ceased to roll in the ship's latter years.

[pirate ship]
Another early '80s picture of the Pirate Ship.  We are looking down at my mom from the bow of the ship.  My father is holding me.

The Pirate Ship was expensive to operate because it required several people to be stationed throughout the ride.  I remember that there used to be at least five workers at various locations throughout the ride in the early 80s.  One worker used to make the captain stand up out of his chair in the captain's quarters after you said the magic word.  One year, there was no employee stationed at this stunt, so we found the hidden switch and made the captain stand up on our own.  The next year, there was still no employee stationed here, but the captain ceased to operate.

One tradition of ours was to hide a nickel up in the rafters of the Pirate Ship.  Amazingly, no matter where we hid it, we were always unable to find it the next year.  I guess the pirate ship was meticulously cleaned every year.

[hunt's pier]
VIDEO Relive the sights and sounds of Hunt's Pier by watching our 1988 home video of a stroll down the pier.  Although the footage is shaky, it still captures the essence of the pier.  This was the last season that all the classic rides were still intact.  (This file is over 5 megabytes so it may take awhile to download depending on your connection speed.)
[log flume]
A 1983 picture of the Hunt's Pier Log Flume.  This was a neat ride, but you would never really get wet on it.  In 2000, the log flume was donated to Arnold's Amusement Park in Iowa.

The pirate ship and many of the other classic Hunt's rides were torn down in 1989 to make room for the Kamikaze roller coaster.  I never really liked the Kamikaze because it was too slow and because it caused the demise of so many classic rides.  In a few years, the new owners of the pier went bankrupt and the Kamikaze was sold to Six Flags over Georgia were it remains today.

[kamikaze]
A 1991 picture of the Kamikaze roller coaster on the New Hunt's Pier.  Many of the classic Hunt's rides including the Pirate Ship, Jungle Land ride, Flyer, and Train Ride were demolished to make room for this coaster.  The Kamikaze only lasted a couple seasons before it was sold to Six Flags over Georgia where it remains today as the Ninja.
This ride-through dark ride was know as the Wacky Shack during our childhood.  After Hunt's Pier was sold in the late 80's, the ride became Hunt's Horror.  Although most of the inside stunts remained the same, gone were the classic moving Wacky Shack letters on the outside.  A couple years after this picture was taken, the ride was demolished.

Hunt's Pier has changed ownership several times since the Hunt family has owned it.  Currently, the Morey organization owns the pier and uses it primarily for storage and ride maintenance.   There is a possibility that a new coaster will take up a large portion of the pier, but plans have not been approved by the city.

 

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© 2005 Dark in the Park.  This site was created by Bill and Seph Cherkasky.