Shark Frenzy Ride Opens at Pacific Park

A toothy take on the Tilt-A-Whirl debuts in Santa Monica.

Our perennial fascination with the impressively teethed, stupendously sleek, tremendously jawed ocean denizens that fall under the header "shark" knows no bounds.

You could, in fact, say that sharkly obsession shown by many human beings is as big as the ocean itself, stoked by "Shark Week" and close-to-shore sightings, and made bigger every time we learn a new tidbit about fin length or see a palm-big tooth in person.

That we can remember all of our shark-based firsts, too — first shark documentary, first shark petted at an aquarium — further solidifies our devotion to these prehistoric-powerful, water-borne wonders.

Here's another first, sharkists: The "World's First Shark Frenzy" opened at Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier on Thursday, April 13, and while the experience is quite toothy, and you'll sit inside a shark's mouth, you'll be able to saunter away after it is all done.

What is it, exactly? It's a Tilt-O-Whirl-type ride, the world's first shark-themed Tilt-O-Whirl attraction, in fact, with each car serving as an enlarged, colorfully painted shark's maw.

Sharks run a wide gamut, though, as do the Shark Frenzy cars, which pay homage, in design, to "the ocean's most iconic sharks." Those superstars include the great white, the lemon, the mako, the sand tiger, the blue, the bull, and the tiger.

So now you'll have to ride Shark Frenzy enough times to make sure you've sat inside every shark's mouth.

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Pacific Park, that classic pier amusement park is, as always, free to enter. Rides are typically $5 to $10 each, and you'll want some extra cash for an ice cream cone, because sitting inside a breaching shark's mouth, and then exiting, laughing and hair-blown a few minutes later, probably deserves a treat of some sugary sort.

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