Also known as observation wheels, Ferris wheels are popular attractions at amusement parks worldwide. Named after George Washington Gale Ferris, the designer of the original Ferris wheel, Ferris wheels feature rotating upright wheels that carry passengers in a giant loop. Ferris wheels vary in size from relatively small to giant contraptions hundreds of feet high. Keep reading to discover the 10 tallest Ferris wheels in the United States!
10. Colossus, Eureka, Missouri
Measuring 180 feet high, the Colossus ranks as the 10th-largest Ferris wheel in the United States. Located at Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka, Missouri, this large Ferris wheel opened on April 18, 1986. You can find the Ferris wheel at the 1904 World’s Fair section of the park. Prior to coming to Six Flags, Colossus debuted at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans.
The Colossus weighs approximately 180 short tons and can carry up to 320 people. It rotates at a speed of roughly 1.5 revolutions per minute, or 10 miles per hour.
9. Sky Wheel, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel is located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at the Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade. Manufactured by Chance Morgan, a roller coaster and ride manufacturer, the Sky Wheel measures approximately 187 feet tall. When it opened on May 20, 2011, it ranked as the 2nd-largest extant Ferris wheel in North America.
The Sky Wheel features 42 glass-enclosed gondolas that can each carry 6 passengers. The gondolas feature air conditioner units and hatch windows that facilitate airflow in the compartments. Children must be able to reach the “Emergency” button located in each gondola to ride the Sky Wheel without adult supervision.
8. Centennial Wheel, Chicago, Illinois
Located at Navy Pier in Chicago, the Centennial Wheel stands around 196 feet tall. It offers visitors amazing views of the city of Chicago and nearby Lake Michigan.
The first Ferris wheel at Navy Pier debuted on July 1, 1995. This original Ferris wheel measured 150 feet tall and featured 40 gondolas capable of carrying 6 people each.
To celebrate Navy Pier’s 100th anniversary, the pier replaced its original Ferris wheel with a new wheel in 2016. The current Centennial Wheel features enclosed, temperature-controlled gondolas, allowing passengers to ride in comfort year-round.
7. St. Louis Wheel, St. Louis, Missouri
Opened in September 2019, the St. Louis Wheel measures 200 feet tall. This giant wheel hearkens back to the giant Ferris Wheel that George Ferris brought to the city during the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
The updated Ferris wheel features 42 enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas capable of carrying 8 riders each. It even accommodates riders in wheelchairs, although pets and wheelchairs are not permitted. Each ride takes passengers on 3 to 4 loops for a total trip that lasts around 15 minutes. You can ride the Ferris wheel year-round at its location near Union Station.
6. The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel ties the St. Louis Wheel on our list of tallest Ferris wheels in the United States. Standing 200 feet tall, The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is located at The Island, a family fun center and shopping district in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. In addition to a giant Ferris wheel, The Island also boasts numerous stores, restaurants, rides, games, and live music.
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel debuted on June 21, 2013. It features 42 all-glass gondolas, each of which can hold up to 8 guests. This giant Ferris wheel offers riders amazing views of the Great Smoky Mountains, one of the top tourist destinations in the southeast.
5. Texas Star, Dallas, Texas
The 216-foot-tall Texas Star is located at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas. At the time of its maiden trip in 1985, it ranked as the tallest Ferris wheel in North America. Although it no longer holds this title, it still ranks as one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the United States.
Manufactured by SDC Corp. in northern Italy, the Texas Star cost nearly $2.2 million dollars. It first debuted at the 1985 State Fair of Texas. The ride continues to operate annually during the state fair and is one of the most popular attractions at the event.
The Texas Star can accommodate up to 264 passengers at a time, split between 44 gondolas. It offers amazing views and looks amazing at night with its thousands of LED lights.
4. The Wheel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
The Atlantic City Boardwalk is one of the oldest and most popular tourist attractions in the eastern United States. Opened in 2017, The Wheel at Steel Pier is one of the boardwalk’s newest and most popular attractions. This massive Ferris wheel measures 227 feet tall, making it the 4th-largest in the United States.
The Wheel provides visitors with breathtaking views of Atlantic City. It features 40 temperature-controlled gondolas for a total carrying capacity of 240 guests. This giant Ferris wheel boasts 14,000 LED lights that change color at night. Each ride lasts around 10 minutes.
3. Dream Wheel, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Located at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the American Dream Mall is one of the biggest malls in America. This massive shopping and entertainment complex features hundreds of shops, restaurants, and rides.
Opened in 2022, the 300-foot-tall Dream Wheel dwarfs every other attraction at the mall. This 850-metric-ton Ferris wheel does not stop to allow boarding, which means it turns continuously. In addition to ranking as one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the United States, it also offers one of the longest rides. Each trip lasts anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, offering guests plenty of time to take in views of nearby New York or the Hudson River.
The Dream Wheel boasts a maximum passenger capacity of 432 guests. Each of its 27 gondolas is completely enclosed and temperature controlled. It also features 2 VIP cabins that possess leather seats.
2. The Wheel at ICON Park, Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida, attracts millions of thrill seekers to its amusement parks every year. While most people know of SeaWorld, Disney World, and Universal Studios, there are plenty of other entertainment districts in the city.
Situated on 20 acres, ICON Park includes over 50 different attractions, including restaurants, shops, and rides. The park also boasts one of the tallest observation wheels in the United States. First opened on April 29, 2015, The Wheel at ICON Park measures 400 feet tall. At that time, it went by the Orlando Eye. The Ferris wheel underwent several name changes over the next few years, including the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye (2016), ICON Orlando (2018), and The Wheel at ICON Park Orlando (2019).
Development of this observation wheel began in March 2011. The Wheel at ICON Park utilizes a ski lift capsule design that provides guests with a smooth riding experience. It boasts 30 climate-controlled capsules that can hold up to 15 passengers each. The Wheel at ICON Park offers awesome views that make it one of the most memorable rides in Orlando.
1. High Roller, Las Vegas, Nevada
The High Roller ranks as the tallest Ferris wheel in the United States. This 550-foot-tall massive Ferris wheel is located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada.
Opened on March 31, 2014, the High Roller acts as the centerpiece of Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s The Linq casino and hotel. High Roller boasts an incredible 1,120-passenger carrying capacity. Each of the 28 cabins measures 225 square feet and can carry up to 40 guests or 44,000 pounds. Around 2,000 LED lights illuminate the Ferris wheel at night that feature several colors and custom displays.
Summary Of The 10 Tallest Ferris Wheels In The United States
|10||Colossus||Eureka, Missouri||180 feet tall|
|9||Sky Wheel||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina||187 feet tall|
|8||Centennial Wheel||Chicago, Illinois||196 feet tall|
|7||St. Louis Wheel||St. Louis, Missouri||200 feet tall|
|6||The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel||Pigeon Forge, Tennessee||200 feet tall|
|5||Texas Star||Dallas, Texas||216 feet tall|
|4||The Wheel||Atlantic City, New Jersey||227 feet tall|
|3||Dream Wheel||East Rutherford, New Jersey||300 feet tall|
|2||The Wheel at ICON Park||Orlando, Florida||400 feet tall|
|1||High Roller||Las Vegas, Nevada||550 feet tall|
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