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The Sea Dragon ride on the Santa Monica Pier recedes into the retreat

For nearly 27 years, the green Sea Dragon ride swayed back and forth on the Santa Monica Pier, but on Thursday, the 6,000-pound, two-headed metal beast made its final ride 250 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

The famous Sea Dragon boat at Pacific Park was removed Thursday when a helicopter lifted it from the dock. bystanders captured photos and video as the dragon flew past Santa Monica.

“The original Sea Dragon has provided millions of Pacific Park visitors with fun memories with family and friends for the past 26 years,” Nathan Smithson, Pacific Park director of marketing and business development, said in a statement.

The classic ride, which opened on May 26, 1996, has been replaced by a new $1.5 million Sea Dragon that makes “riders feel like they’re riding the dragon over the open ocean,” the amusement park said. .

The ride was set up in the same space as the original Sea Dragon and has new features, such as seats that shake and a misting system to “replicate stormy seas,” Pacific Park announced in a statement.

“Guest enthusiasm for the original Sea Dragon and its extreme popularity prompted us to introduce the new Sea Dragon and reimagine the ride experience while providing the same classic swing ride guests know and love so much,” said Smithson.

The original 26-foot-long bright green dragon has drawn more than 12 million guests since it was installed in 1996, according to Pacific Park. For 10 days, the dragon was displayed outside the amusement park for guests to take pictures and share memories online.

But the great dragon is not heading to the junkyard.

The dragon was lifted by a civilian Blackhawk helicopter and taken to the Port of Hueneme, where it will be shipped to St. Louis. The dragon will live the rest of his days in Museum of the City in downtown St. Louis, where it is expected to be placed on the roof of the museum, next to the Big Eli Ferris wheel.