What’s your favourite ride? Roller-coasters? Bumper cars? Or is it the mighty ferris wheel? The very first ferris wheel opened at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 — that's over 120 years ago! Invented by George Washington Gale ferris, Jr., the wheel stood 76.2 metres high, had 36 cars and took 20 minutes to do a full rotation. Back then, it only cost 50 cents a ride!
The original ferris wheel at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
That original ferris wheel is long gone, but there are many new ones around the world to take its place. Some of the larger rides are called observation wheels, but they use the same basic idea as the original ferris wheel. Let’s take a spin around the globe and look at some of the cooles and most unique wheels on the planet!
The tallest: At 167.6 metres, it's currently the world’s tallest ferris wheel. It carries about 1,120 people in its 28 futuristic looking observation pods.
The largest: This is the current record-holder for largest wheel in Europe, and carries about 800 people in its 32 cars. It's 135 metres tall.
Double-duty: What’s cool about this wheel is that it doesn’t have a centre, just a big opening in the middle… which has a roller coaster flying through it, which you can see from one of the 40 cars! Wow!
Wikimedia/Morio/CC BY-SA 4.0
Tick-tock: What makes this big wheel cool is the large clock in the centre, because time flies when you’re having fun on a ferris wheel!
The oldest: Built in 1897, the historic Riesenrad is the world’s oldest working ferris wheel. There are only 15 cars so you might have to wait a bit. The cars even have tables in them — you can have a private lunch or dinner while you watch the city go by.
Sun power: This is the only solar-powered ferris wheel in the world! It also has over 160,000 energy-efficient LED lights to brighten it up at night. Eco-riffic!
It's a swing too: This wheel, which opened in 1920, is super-fun (and super-thrilling!) because 16 of the cars swing along the centre rails.
Wave to the cars: This is the only ferris wheel in the world that is built on a bridge over a river — drivers on the bridge can actually wave at people on the ride as they go by!