Paradise Pier expected to raise tourism numbers across coastal Mississippi

Bright lights and fast rides will attract thousands to the Gulf Coast.

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - There’s less than 24 hours from the debut of Margaritaville’s Paradise Pier. All week, you’ve seen glimpses from inside the amusement park. Now families can purchase tickets to ride.

The attraction will bring thousands to the coastal area.

Paradise Pier is expected to be the destination for thousands on Friday. The amusement park holds 15 rides and a handful of food vendors.

But after riders leave the pier, where to next?

“We’re really excited anything pops up on the coast. That just means more people in our backyard. We’re happy Margaritaville is going to be here and it’s so kid orientated,” said Molly Shea, Marketing Director at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum.

As Shea looks over her shoulder at Paradise Pier’s observation wheel, she’s reminded of the opportunity to welcome more faces to the OHR-O’Keefe Museum.

WLOX met with businesses located near the coastline of Point Cadet.

“We have so many families that come to the Ohr. We have so many great classes for kids and adults. Having Margaritaville here will be really great for us because we like to think we’re another option for people who want to get their hands dirty,” said Shea.

And if you travel east down Highway 90, you’re greeted by the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.

“Hopefully it will add another nights stay for our tourists coming into our area. They can spend a day at Margaritaville and they can purchase one of the day passes that coastal Mississippi sells. They can visit all the museums along the entire coastline,” said Robin David, Executive Director of the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.

David encourages visitors to check out the piers and docks too.

“That’s another added attraction with our Biloxi schooners that have started chartering and do walk on sales. So, maybe, if they want to go sailing and get out on the water, they can come to the Schooner Pier and get on one of our schooners,” said David.

Shea expresses her excitement for the continuation of booming business in East Biloxi. Soon, the empty lot next to the museum will hold a historic hotel.

“More development is always great for us. Having, Paradise Pier and soon we’re going to have Tullis Manor rebuild right here next door to us. Walking on the foundation of something that was completely obliterated by Hurricane Katrina. The museum was also impacted by Hurricane Katrina and seeing development now after all of this has happened is really encouraging,” said Shea.

The park is open 11 a.m. on weekends and 3 p.m. during the week.

Day passes start at $70 with non-rider ticket options available.

Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Stephanie Poole

Stephanie Poole

Stephanie Poole is a Gulfport native. She returns to South Mississippi after spending nearly four years as an Anchor/Reporter with WCBI-TV in Columbus, MS.