King Kong returns to North Wildwood

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After a decades-long absence, a giant gorilla will now be looming over North Wildwood, New Jersey. (WPVI)

After a decades-long absence, a giant gorilla will now be looming over North Wildwood, New Jersey.

A King Kong statue topped off a new $1.6 million ride at Surfside Pier in North Wildwood on Thursday.

"King is a significant wink back to the past, to the history, of not just a great ride - but the boardwalk is sort of about these old, classic attractions," said pier owner Jack Morey.

An old King Kong statue loomed over the boardwalk during the 1970s.

"Oh yeah I remember from when I was a kid, sure. when you were a little kid it's like a huge giant thing," said John Ficca of Wildwood.

Morey's did a survey, and 6,000 people weighed in on what they wanted to see in the new King Kong. The result is what you see now!

Kong now sports and "I love Wildwood" T-shirt, with the number 72 on his back to honor the year the original Kong came to the boardwalk.

Also new: instead of the Statue of Liberty, Kong is holding those iconic Wildwood tram cars in his grip.

"We were just posting pictures to our children to say 'you're going to come down this summer and see King Kong and ride on King Kong.' So they're going to be very excited," said Chris Griffith of Wildwood.

As for the ride itself: shark-themed cars will spin out into the air at up to 27 mph.

Designing and building the new King Kong has been a three year project.

"This is as close to a real birth experience a man can get," Morey said, "so I feel like I'm giving birth today!"

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