Outdoor Recreation

The Definitive Pleasure Pier Ride Ranking

Cyclone
Cyclone Photo by Jef Rouner
After the Kid With One F shot up three inches over the course of sixth grade and finally cleared the 48 inches mark, we decided that over the summer we were going to ride every ride available at Pleasure Pier Galveston. In case you, too, have a special someone of real rollercoaster height, here is the definitive ranking of everything you can ride at the mini theme park: Note: The Sea Dragon and Galaxy Wheel were closed for maintenance on our visit, but they likely would have ranked in the bottom regardless.

7. Revolution
AstroWorld Equivalent: Warp 2000


The rotating seats do get up to a pretty impressive speed and height on this ride. However, for some reason it just lacks any sort of real excitement. Because the movement is so constant, there just isn’t a very dynamic feel for it. The only exceptional thing about Revolution is watching the floor descend out from under your feet.

6. Cyclone
AstroWorld Equivalent: Greezed Lightnin’/Looping Starhip


Right next to Revolution is Cyclone, which works like a rollercoaster that only has one loop and no drop. The ride is exciting, no doubt. The horrid moments of dangling upside down will make your stomach turn flips, but it lacks any real personality. It’s functionally a slightly above-average carnival ride.

5. Rock N Roll
AstroWorld Equivalent: Wagon Wheel


Wagon Wheel was always my favorite ride as a kid, and the music-themed version at Pleasure Pier is a worthy substitute. It’s a nice couple/family centrifugal thrill that has the added bonus of running half of the time in reverse. The fact that the cars are suspended and can be rocked help put some flair in the experience. Of the lower-key thrills that aren’t outright kiddie rides, this is the best.

click to enlarge Texas Star Flyer - PHOTO BY JEF ROUNER
Texas Star Flyer
Photo by Jef Rouner
4. Pirate’s Plunge
AstroWorld Equivalent: Bamboo Shoot


The crown jewel of branding at Pleasure Pier is Pirate’s Plunge, which goes all out on the buccaneer theme right down to having bad pirate voice acting to explain the rules. Considering that we went on a very hot August day, it was nice to get splashed. Bonus points for the ride having the cleanest water I have ever seen in any water ride in my life. It was like being dropped down a slide into an Ozarka plant. The only downside to the ride is that it usually has the longest line because of the slow pace of the attraction.

3. Gulf Glider
AstroWorld Equivalent: Gunslinger


Don’t let the basic nature of Gulf Glider fool you. It may just look like your average swing carousel, but the speed and height of the ride are far more than the old Gunslinger at AstroWorld ever did. The force of the attraction turns it in to a heck of a thrill with a lot of free-swinging movement to give it that “am I going to fall” vibe. It’s also shaded with a fast line, so there’s no reason not to try it right off the entrance.

2. Texas Star Flyer
AstroWorld Equivalent: Gunslinger, but more so


Okay, quick confession. I am cripplingly afraid of heights, and the 200-foot suspension of the swings in the Texas Star Flyer was just a bit too much for me. So, I sent up the cub reporter to brave it in my stead, who reported that the ride was a lot of fun. It has a less speed and free movement than the Gulf Glider in the name of safety, but the height and the view over the water is spectacular and make up for it. The ride is highly recommend by children who enjoy being braver than their dads.

1. Iron Shark
AstroWorld Equivalent: Serial Thriller/Batman: The Escape


You can’t go wrong with Pleasure Pier’s one rollercoaster. It look far more intimidating than it actually is, especially with the first drop that is completely vertical after a small, harrowing undercut. The rest is a perfectly designed set of swoops and inversions that is exciting without being overwhelming. Pus, the line moves almost as fast as the coaster itself, meaning you can get multiple trips in a short time to make up for the relatively brief ride length. It’s one of the more unique coaster designs out there, and the only Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter in the state’s history that I’m aware of. Iron Shark is almost worth the price of admission all on its own.
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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner