The Story of Morey’s Piers
If you are visiting Wildwood, don’t miss Morey’s Piers — an amazing amusement park with five different parts located on three piers. The amusement park was established in 1969 by brothers Bill and Will Morey.
The original entertainment pier included a slide, a miniature golf course, and a restaurant. The slide was inspired by a giant twelve lane slide the brothers saw in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A slide of this size needed a BIG home, so the brothers built Surfside Pier to house the Wipe Out. By the middle of the 1970s, the pier had expanded, adding more rides and attractions. The King Kong ride was added in 1971 and a Haunted House in 1972.
In 1974, the city of Wildwood decided to auction the piece of land that separated the two halves of the Morey’s amusement park. The brothers managed to buy the land, unifying their operation. The pier was immediately expanded, and more rides were added. The Moreys developed unique attractions like the Poseidon Adventure (in 1974) and the Planet of the Apes (in 1975). The Planet of the Apes ride was later converted into a Star Wars attraction.
1976 saw the addition of the Jumbo Jet, a fifty-six foot high roller coaster manufactured in Europe. At the end of the season, the Moreys purchased Marine Pier, part of the oldest amusement facility in Wildwood — dating back to 1918! They spent more than 1.5 million dollars renovating the pier in 1977 and changed the name to Mariner’s Landing. Half of the surviving rides from Marine Pier were scrapped and new rides were added. The next year, the Moreys expanded their piers to add a waterslide complex.
King Kong left the boardwalk in 1980, collapsing under its own weight as it was being moved.
Disaster struck in 1981, when a fire on the boardwalk caused one million dollars in damage to Mariner’s Landing. The pier managed to bounce back quickly, opening in 1982 with four new rides and the addition of Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Over the next few years, expansion was the name of the game. Morey’s Pier and Mariner’s Landing both got new roller coasters in the mid-eighties. 1985 saw another huge expansion, adding five million dollars worth of new attractions to both piers. Mariner’s Landing grew 95 feet longer; old water slides were replaced by Raging Waters waterpark. Morey’s Pier said goodbye to older attractions and added new ones. Morey’s Pier eventually got its own Raging Waters in 1988.
In 1984, the Morey brothers purchased Fun Pier, located next to Mariner’s Pier. The pier had been built in 1927 to serve as Wildwood’s convention center but was in decline by the 1980s. Two fires in 1984 finished the pier off, and the Moreys eventually redeveloped the area as a racing and adventure pier in the 1990s. Rechristened the Wild Wheels Raceway and Adventure Pier, it offered go-carts, bungee jumping, rock climbing, and more.
1994 was a year for Waterpark expansion. Morey’s Pier added an attraction for kids called Hydroworks; Mariner’s Landing added Shipwreck Shoals. The next year welcomed a new signature roller coaster to the park: The Great Nor’Easter. This 115 foot tall monster came from a Dutch manufacturer and was carefully threaded over and under other rides. At the same time, a wood track coaster called the Great White was added to the Wild Wheels Pier.
Will Morey’s sons, Jack and Will, founded the Doo Wop Preservation League to help restore and expand the 1950s architecture in and around Wildwood. The Morey family wanted to help revitalize the whole town, not just their own piers. The piers continued to expand and add attractions throughout the 1990s. Ten new rides welcomed the new millennium; the water parks expanded again in 2001.
2004 marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of Morey’s Piers… but despite all the changes over the years, the Wipe Out slide still maintains its place of honor towering over Surfside Pier.