Gillian's Wonderland Pier, Ocean City

3.8
#2 of 7 in Theme Parks in Cape May County
Gillians is a historic amusement park founded in 1929 by David Gillian, who first came to Ocean City in 1914. It is located on the ocean boardwalk of the New Jersey shore.David started his career in the orchestra at C. Elwood Carpenter's Dance Club (aka The Casino), located over the Moorlyn Theater on the old Boardwalk. In 1917 he transferred to the Hippodrome pier, where he played with Robin Robinson's Orchestra. The Hippodrome had a movie theatre, vaudeville, dancing and amusements for children.In October 1927, a fire destroyed the Hippodrome, after which the burned boardwalk was replaced in 1928. In 1930 David Gillian opened a Fun Deck at Plymouth Place and the Boardwalk. The two main attractions were a Ferris wheel and a Merry-Go-Round.In honor of his 100th birthday in 1990, David Gillian donated a horse from the Merry-Go-Round to the Ocean City Historical Museum. David Gillian died in March 1993 at the age of 102.In 1957, David Gillian retired and his sons, Bob and Roy took over from 1957-1977. In 1965 Roy left the family business and started Wonderland Pier at 6th Street and the Boardwalk (where Stainton's Playland had burned down 10 years prior), with 10 rides and a parking lot.Roy became mayor of Ocean City in 1985, and retired from politics in 1989. In 1994, Roy became the president of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). His son, Jay Gillian, became mayor of Ocean City in 2010.The Gillian family decided to expand their business beyond Ocean City by opening Gillian's Funland of Sea Isle City. Located on JFK Blvd.Gillian's Wonderland Pier is mostly famous for its 144ft Giant Wheel, one of the largest Ferris wheels on the east coast.In 2009, Gillian's Wonderland Pier celebrated 80 years on the Ocean City, New Jersey Boardwalk.
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Gillian's Wonderland Pier Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
342 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • My 2 children at the time were under both under the age of 4. My 4 year old loved it and could have been there all night. My 1 year old was limited on the rides he could ride, but still had fun. Perfe...  more »
  • I was with my mom and teenage nieces so they weren't thrilled with the place. I enjoyed seeing all the excited children! They had a dance party and had workers dancing with the kids, also had prince/p...  more »
  • My son and I went on the Ferris Wheel, a Yellow Submarine ride, and the monorail. We both really enjoyed the monorail and the Ferris Wheel; the latter gives great views from the top.  more »
Google
  • I have always loved the Gillian's! It is great to be able to take my kids there now. There are many rides and games for all ages. The staff is always friendly and helpful. Even with the high volume of people, Gillian's keeps the pier clean. Well worth the trip if you're on the boardwalk!
  • An Ocean City Icon! This amusement park has been a staple for shore families for decades! Even though the rides have never changed in my lifetime, they feel delightfully consistent rather than old or outdated. I used to come here all the time as a kid, and I still bring the young kids in my life. Everything is well maintained, and the atmosphere is friendly and exciting, as an amusement park should be.
  • My parents brought me here as a child, now I'm bringing my children. Not a very big park, but they have enough for all ages to enjoy an evening out. There's a good amount of parking available within a few block radius (all paid parking of course), however if you're going on a mid-summer Friday or Saturday evening unless you arrive early evening finding a spot to park could be tough. Snack, small food items, beverages and ice cream are available on site. There are restrooms in a bath house outside the small north entrance. Most rides are 4 to 6 tickets, and they go quickly. Classic place for family summer memories at the shore.
  • The kids love it and the rides are fun. They even have some new ones this year, which is great. But why is almost every ride 4 tickets or more per person? Plus they charge for an adult to go on a ride with their child, even if they are required to ride because the child doesn't meet the height requirements. I suggest you buy the $100 ticket pack if you're a family of 4 and you plan/need to go on some rides with your kids. Something else worth mentioning... most of the staff now is rather inattentive. Many parents are now strapping their young kids in and out of rides as the attendants just stand by, often chit chatting with their coworkers. Not sure if this is sheer laziness or some kind of liability rule, but it happens quite often now. They also don't seem to mind if kids unstrap themselves and dismount the rides on their own.
  • I've been going here with the family for many, many years now. And after all these years, there has been a lot of change. Given it isn't as popular as Six Flags Great Adventure, the lines aren't very long which is nice. Being right along the beach on the boardwalk, there are many places to eat nearby. The rides aren't, of course, as good as Six Flags, but they are still fun for many ages. The only major issue is the tickets and prices. The tickets themselves aren't that expensive but once you realize that some rides take like six tickets, it's not very cost effective. It is definitely better than it's competition, Playland's Castaway Cove, for cost but the rides here are also for the younger ages. Overall, if your in the area and you have kids from the ages anywhere between 2 and 13 inclusive, this place is highly recommended. Anywhere from the ages 7 and 16+ inclusive, I would recommend Playland's Castaway Cove instead.

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