Please enjoy these photographs of early San Diego amusements.

A Brief History:


Wonderland was a beachfront amusement park in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego, California from 1913 to 1916. It was the first amusement park in San Diego. The 8-acre amusement park was built on or near the Pacific Ocean beach by the Ocean Bay Beach Amusement Center, owned by Herbert P. Snow and managed by Bert Snow. It opened on July 4, 1913 to a crowd of more than 20,000. It featured the largest roller coaster on the West Coast, called the Blue Streak Racer, as well as a carousel, water slide, and carnival games.

A menagerie featured "lions, bears, leopards, wolves, mountain lions, a hyena, and 56 varieties of monkeys". Additional amusements were a dance hall, bowling alley, roller skating rink, and salt-water bathing plunge. Patrons were dazzled by the 22,000 tungsten lights which illuminated the park and by the entrance gate with its towering minarets. The amusement park helped to put the community of Ocean Beach on the map for San Diegans. The formerly 2-1/2 hour trip to the beach from central San Diego had been reduced to a 40-minute trolley ride in 1909 by the construction of the Point Loma Railroad by developer D. C. Collier.

The park thrived for two seasons, but saw a massive drop-off in attendance in 1915 due to the opening of the Panama California Exposition in Balboa Park. The park fell into foreclosure and was sold at auction in March 1915. In January 1916, storm tides undermined the roller coaster, which had to be closed. It was dismantled and eventually shipped to Santa Monica's Pleasure Pier. The rest of the park was also damaged by winter storms and was eventually demolished.


Belmont Park is a historic oceanfront amusement park located in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, California. The park was developed by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels and opened on July 4, 1925 as the Mission Beach Amusement Center. In addition to providing recreation and amusement it also was intended as a way to help Spreckels sell land in Mission Beach.

Located on the beach, it attracts millions of people each year. The attractions and rides that remain from the original 1925 park include The Giant Dipper, a wooden roller coaster that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another historic facility is The Plunge, an indoor swimming pool. The Plunge was originally a salt water pool; it now contains fresh water and features a "Whaling Wall" painting by artist Wyland titled Orcas off Point Loma.

In 2013 the California Coastal Commission approved plans to remove a portion of the Wyland mural during planned renovations of The Plunge. Other amusements include a Tilt-A-Whirl, a three-story drop tower (the "Vertical Plunge"), the Liberty Carousel, and the Wave House Athletic Club. The Wave House Bar and Grill overlooks the ocean and features two artificial waves. The larger wave is a FlowBarrel called "Bruticus Maximus" (or "bmax") and features an 8-foot barreling wave. The other wave is a smaller sheet wave known as a FlowRider. Newer attractions for 2010 include a SkyRopes obstacle course, a Moser Gyro Loop dubbed "Control Freak" and a Chance Unicoaster dubbed "Octotron." The park's rides including the Giant Dipper, are operated by the San Diego Coaster Company. In 2002, businessman/surfer Tom Lochtefeld bought the master lease for the property and started development of the Wave House. In Spring 2006, the Wave House hosted MTV's Total Request Live.


In 1880, a group of San Diegans organized an agricultural Fair to bring county farmers together to share ideas, see who had the best citrus fruit, who baked the best pie, and who had the fastest horse. By the 1930s, faced with fairs that struggled each year for survival, voters approved pari-mutuel racetrack betting to help fund the state's agricultural fairs. In 1936, the 22nd District Agricultural Association bought land at the mouth of the San Dieguito River for a county fairgrounds. About the same time, the Del Mar Turf Club leased the racetrack from the 22nd DAA to operate an annual live racing meet. And so it continues today. The 22nd DAA, an agency of the State of California, still owns and operates the Fairgrounds. Its staff organizes four major annual events, including the annual San Diego County Fair, and runs Surfside Race Place, the year-round satellite horse racing facility. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club still leases the facilities for its live meet each summer. And hundreds of consumer and trade promoters rent the Fairgrounds facilities for home and garden shows, dog shows, antique fairs, sports shows, music festivals and much more. No tax dollars are used; the Fairgrounds is entirely self-supporting.