The Santa Monica Pier is about to lose its most Instagrammable nighttime feature this month. Starting May 5 at 11 p.m., the Pacific Park ferris wheel will go dark as it undergoes a $1 million lighting upgrade, reports KPCC. The ferris wheel itself will remain open during the duration of the project, albeit less spectacularly lit.
The Ferris wheel is getting a brand new LED lighting system that promises smoother animations, new effects, and lots more colors. All 160,000 of the wheel's LED lights will be removed and replaced with 174,000 more advanced LEDs.
Not all of the benefits of the new LEDs will be captured on the social media posts of pier visitors. Behind the scenes, the new lighting system also marks an advance in energy efficiency. Not bad considering that it was already 75 percent more efficient than the last ferris wheel, which was already the world's only solar-powered ferris wheel. California, we know how to party...efficiently.
Pacific Park doesn't have a timeline for when they'll fire up the new LED system, but they hope to have it running by the end of May. In the meantime, ferris wheel enthusiasts who simply insist on a majestically lit ride have one saving grace. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the park, each night a different ferris wheel gondola will be lit to celebrate each year the park has been open.
In other ferris wheel news (a phrase not often written), the original Pacific Park ferris wheel has found a new home and is undergoing a similar upgrade in Oklahoma City. When Santa Monica's current ferris wheel was installed back in 2008, the original Pacific Park ferris wheel was sold on eBay for $134,000. Now, after eight years of restoration in Kansas, the 1996-era ferris wheel is almost ready to rise over a new body of water, the Oklahoma River.