The following history is an excerpt from the book Amusement Parks of New Jersey by Jim Futrell. Published by Stackpole Books of Mechanicsburg, PA, Amusement Parks of New Jersey features an in-depth history of Morey's Piers and 15 other amusement parks operating in the state. For ordering information, visit www.stackpolebooks.com or call (800) 732-3669.
Today, Morey's Piers represents the largest seaside amusement center in the Western Hemisphere. The sprawling complex is actually a collection of four different amusement piers strung along Wildwood's five-mile long beach and two-mile long boardwalk, featuring over 70 rides of all descriptions, two full scale water parks and a wide variety of other activities that can fill a vacation.
But when established in 1969, Morey's Piers had much simpler origins. In the 1950s and 1960s, brothers Bill and Will Morey were both successful entrepreneurs. Bill operated concessions along the boardwalk in Wildwood, while Will was a successful contractor and developer who took advantage of the development boom in Wildwood in the 1950s and 1960s changing the face of the town by building the "Doo Wop"-style motels that now characterize the town.
In 1968, the brothers spotted a giant 12-lane fiberglass slide operating near a shopping center in Fort Lauderdale, Flordia. The brothers knew that such an attraction would be a successful addition to the Wildwood boardwalk and they started making plans to acquire one of their own. Given the size of the slide, the brothers could only find one location large enough to accommodate it. The construction of a new pier and the purchase of a struggling restaurant and miniature golf complex located on the boardwalk became the site of Surfside Pier. The complex was actually two small piers separated by a swath of municipally owned land. The town also owned the boardwalk frontage, but permitted access to the piers via twenty-foot wide catwalks.