Biggest and brightest ferris wheels in North America

With private and spectacular views of these destinations, what could be more romantic?


 

February 14 may be Valentine’s Day, but it’s also Ferris Wheel Day. Since the world’s first Ferris wheel, built in 1893, these beauties have been a staple at fairs and amusement parks. While few in North America exceed the 200 feet range, soon they will soar to new heights. New York City, Orlando and Las Vegas are all in the midst of building wheels that start at 400 ft—Staten Island’s will be 625 feet tall.

360 Pensacola Beach

Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Type: Fully enclosed, air conditioned gondolas that seat up to six people. VIP gondolas are also available with leather seats and a TV.

Height: 200 feet.

Lasts: Ten to 12 minutes.

View: The Gulf of Mexico.

Price: US$13.95.

Niagara SkyWheel

Niagara Falls, Ont.

Type: Fully enclosed, heated (air conditioned in the summer) gondolas.

Height: 175 feet.

Lasts: Eight to 12 minutes.

View: Niagara Falls skyline, the American and Canadian falls.

Price: Adult: $10.99.

Mickey’s Fun Wheel

Disney California Adventure Park, Calif.

528

Type: Eight traditional gondolas and 16 free mounted, swinging gondolas.

Take heed: this is one of the few attractions at Disney with a motion sickness bag.

Height: 150 feet.

Lasts: Nine minutes.

Views: Paradise Pier—the boardwalk section of the Adventure Park—and its bay.

Price: Included in park admission fee (US$87).

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Chicago, Ill. Type: Forty gondolas, each seat six.

Height: 150 feet.

Lasts: Seven minutes.

View: Chicago skyline and the lakefront.

Price: US$6.00.

Wonder Wheel

Coney Island, N.Y.

Type: Twenty-four gondolas, 16 of which swing.

Height: 150 feet.

Lasts: Around nine minutes.

View: The Atlantic Ocean and the NYC skyline.

Price: US$6.00.

Pacific Wheel

Santa Monica, Calif.

Type: The world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel.

Height: 130 feet above the Pacific Ocean, 90 feet above the pier.

Lasts: Less than 10 minutes.

View: Southern California coastline.

Price: US$5.00.

Texas Star

Dallas, Tex.

529

Type: Its 45 gondolas only run during the 3-week long State Fair of Texas in September and October.

Height: North America’s tallest at 212 feet high.

Lasts: Around 12 minutes.

View: Downtown Dallas and, on a clear day, downtown Fort Worth.

Price: Included in park admission fee (US$16).

SkyWheel

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Type: Forty-two glass-enclosed gondolas that seat up to six. VIP flights are also available and include double flight, leather seats and glass bottom floors.

Height: 187 feet tall, 200 feet above sea level.

Lasts: Ten to 12 minutes.

View: The boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean.

Price: US$13.

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