Pleasure Pier 'soft opening' this weekend

First Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Texas at Pier

Published On: Jan 30 2012 09:55:45 AM CST   Updated On: May 25 2012 05:39:25 PM CDT

While the planned grand opening won't happen, families can still enjoy the all-new Pleasure Pier at its "soft opening" on Memorial Day weekend.

The newest tourist attraction was supposed have its grand opening this weekend, but crews were still putting on the finishing touches Thursday.

The pier will feature family-oriented attractions, such as a 36-foot-wide double-decker carousel, 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel and a steel roller coaster with a 100-foot vertical climb. There will also be food vendors and shops.

"We have one of the finest attractions on the Gulf Coast," Mayor Joe Jaworski said.

The Pleasure Pier originally opened in May 1948 and was the largest of its kind in the country. It was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.

The Flagship Hotel once stood on the pier. It was destroyed in Hurricane Ike.

Tilman Fertitta, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Landry's, was the mastermind of the project.

"I worked here at the Flagship growing up," he said. "I've been on this pier all my life. Even though we do projects all over the world, to come back and do a project in your hometown is always fun."

The pier will hold between 6,000 and 7,000 people and more than 600 jobs will be created, officials said.

"There's a lot of room even though it's such a small area," one visitor said. "It's very wife and open. You can smell the newness in the air."

There will be no shortages of seafood restaurants to eat at along the waterfront, however the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is going to be the main spot to chow down on the pier. Restaurant-goers think having the restaurant on the pier is going to work out swimmingly.

"Our first store was in Monterey, Calif., and we've been trying to get to Texas ever since," General Manager Jonathan Wascom said.

The restaurant chain opened in 1996, two years after its namesake movie "Forrest Gump" was released. Its specialties? Isn't it obvious?

"Fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, grilled shrimp, shrimp gumbo, shrimp tempura, they got coconut shrimp, they got pineapple shrimp, they got marmalade to go with the shrimp," restaurant patron John Perez said.

An all-day adult pass for adults costs $21.99. It's $16.99 for children 4 feet tall and under 2 are free. Children under For more information on hours, visit