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8 fun ferris wheels from around the world


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!

archive photo of the original Ferris wheel

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!

High Roller — Las Vegas, USA

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.

a view from a viewing pod

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on / CC BY-NC

London Eye — London, England

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.

The London Eye on the Thames river

Photo credit: Jim Boud on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

The Big O — Tokyo, Japan

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!

roller-coaster going through a ferris wheel

Wikimedia/Morio/CC BY-SA 4.0

Cosmo Clock 21 — Yokohama, Japan

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!

ferris wheel lit up with a big clock

Photo credit: aotaro on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Riesenrad — Vienna, Austria

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.

old ferris wheel with wood cabins

Photo credit: girl/afraid on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Pacific Wheel — Santa Monica, California, USA

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!

ferris wheel on a wharf

Photo credit: José Pestana on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Wonder Wheel — Coney Island, New York, USA

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.

the wonder wheel on Coney Island

Photo credit: Kilgub on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Tianjin Eye — Tianjin, China

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!

a ferris wheel on a bridge

Photo by Comer Zhao licensed CC BY-SA 2.0