Pacific Wheel: Lights Out (Temporarily)

A lighting system refresh is coming to the glowing symbol of Santa Monica Pier.

The real question isn't how cool the Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica Pier will be once its full-scale lighting update is complete, because the answer to that is "lavishly, hue-tastically cool."

Rather, the question is whether our city's large-scale attractions secretly plan to lend each other moral support during times of change, or if it is just coincidence.

Ponder the fact that Santa Monica Pier's famous Ferris wheel, seen in "Iron Man," "Hancock," and oodles of other films, is going lights-out for the rest of May, starting on May 5. That's a very similar window to the refurbishment of "Urban Light," the beloved lamps in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

But while "Urban Light" will remain half-lit through the end of June, Curbed LA reports that the Pacific Wheel will go fully dark as a "$1 million lighting upgrade" is installed.

The work should take about month, with the close of May as the expected finish. And when the switch is again flipped, the spinning classic will include "smoother animations, new effects, and a lot more colors," per Curbed. 

Indeed, a sophisticated new LED system means more "energy efficiency" for the solar-powered wheel, which arrived at the pier in 2008. Santa Monica Pier is a bit older than that, of course, having officially opened in September of 1909.

Nighttime pier partiers might wonder if this means that the ocean-adjacent wheel'll stop turning during the illumination renovation? Nope, it'll keep on keepin' on, meaning if you hold your honey's hand while riding it, the only true glow will be the glow from your hearts. (Please awww here, if you deem it an appropriate reaction.)

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Truly, it is kind of nice that both the Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel and LACMA's "Urban Light" are doing the whole #springhousework thing in unison.

Call it a coincidence, but our city has seen similar moments before. Remember how the Space Shuttle Endeavour and "Levitated Mass," LACMA's "floating" boulder, both rolled through our streets, in huge, photo-worthy fashion, in 2012? 

It's sweet to see local landmarks unknowingly fist bumping each other as they undergo updates and changes, all to shine on better than ever.

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