The roller coasters were rolling, the Frog Hopper was hopping, the carousel was spinning and the food was served up piping hot Sunday as hundreds enjoyed the day at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.
Despite all the activity, the much-anticipated opening of Landry’s Corp. $60 million attraction hasn’t happened — yet.
Sunday was training day at the pier. Landry’s employees and their families were the only one’s allowed on to put pleasure pier workers to the test as they prepare for the official opening.
Company officials said an announcement about opening day should come later this week.
The opening of the pleasure pier has been one of the most anticipated events on the island in years. The former home of the Flagship Hotel was converted into an amusement park in what Landry’s owner and CEO Tilman Fertitta said will rival the entertainment piers in Chicago and Santa Monica, Calif.
In addition to the 16 rides, the pleasure pier will be home to the first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in Texas. Landry’s acquired the 32-unit — soon to be 33 — Bubba Gump in 2010.
Activity at the pier wasn’t limited to the 1,130-foot long pier that juts into the Gulf of Mexico from 25th Street at Galveston’s seawall.
Landry’s developed a paid parking area across the street next to its Fishtails Restaurant and is building a retail center to the west of that.
The intersection at 25th Street and Seawall Boulevard has been converted into a more pedestrian-friendly area as well.
Fertitta said it’s his hope the pleasure pier will change how Galveston is viewed as a tourist destination. Combined with other attractions on the island, he said the pier should help extend the stays of visitors to Galveston, which, in turn, would book more hotel rooms and increase traffic at local restaurants.