Discover the Top 10 Tallest Ferris Wheels in the World

Written by Kathryn Koehler
Updated: June 14, 2023
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Looking for a fresh perspective on the world? Look no further than the skies above, where the world’s tallest observation wheels offer breathtaking views from dizzying heights. These towering marvels of engineering and design offer a unique vantage point from which to view the world around us, taking us to new heights both literally and figuratively. Join us on a journey as we discover the top 10 tallest Ferris wheels in the world. From the glittering lights of Las Vegas to the vibrant cityscapes of Asia and beyond, you’re in for the ride of your life!

Tempozan Ferris wheel and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

At 367 feet (112 m) tall, the Tempozan Ferris wheel in Osaka isn’t among the 10 tallest Ferris wheels in the world.

©lapon pinta/Shutterstock.com

History

The Ferris wheel is named after its inventor, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. He designed and built the first Ferris wheel for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. The exposition was in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. The wheel was 264 feet (80 m) tall. It had 36 cars. Each car could hold up to 60 people, making a total capacity of 2,160 passengers per ride!

The Ferris wheel was a technological and engineering marvel. It served as a symbol of American ingenuity and innovation. The Ferris wheel was originally called the Chicago Wheel but eventually became known as the Ferris wheel after its inventor. Ferris’ creation was an engineering wonder and quickly became a popular attraction at fairs and amusement parks around the world. Today, the Ferris wheel is a beloved ride that continues to captivate and thrill people of all ages.

Black and white photograph of the original Ferris Wheel at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL

The first Ferris wheel was designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

©Arnold, C.D., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Innovations

Since the invention of the Ferris wheel in 1893, the design of the ride has undergone several changes and improvements. The design of the Ferris wheel has evolved over time to incorporate new technologies, while still maintaining the ride’s classic and timeless appeal. Some of the notable changes include:

  • Size: Ferris wheels have become much taller than the original design. Today, there are Ferris wheels that exceed 800 feet (245 m) in height.
  • Material: The original Ferris wheel was made of steel. Modern Ferris wheels use lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber, which allows for greater heights and speeds.
  • Lighting: Modern Ferris wheels often feature programmable LED lighting that can create dynamic light shows and displays.
  • Passenger cabins: Early Ferris wheels had open-air passenger cabins. Modern designs often feature enclosed cabins with air conditioning, heating, and even interactive displays.
  • Movement: The original Ferris wheel was powered by steam engines. Modern Ferris wheels use electric motors and computerized controls for smoother and more efficient movement.
Dream Wheel in East Rutherford, New Jersey
The Dream Wheel is the second largest Ferris wheel in the United States, but at 300 feet (91 m) it is not among the 10 tallest Ferris wheels in the world.

Categories

While all three types of wheels provide passengers with an elevated view, there are differences between Ferris wheels, observation wheels, and giant wheels. The key differences between these types of wheels relate to their size, design, and intended experience for passengers.

A Ferris wheel is typically a large, vertical wheel with passenger gondolas attached to the rim that rotate around a central axis. The design is often characterized by a series of spokes extending from the hub to the rim, which provide structural support. An observation wheel is similar to a Ferris wheel in that it features a large, vertical wheel with passenger gondolas attached to the rim. However, observation wheels are typically larger and have a more streamlined, modern design. They also tend to move more slowly, allowing passengers to take in the view without experiencing significant motion. A giant wheel is a type of Ferris wheel that typically has a larger diameter and fewer spokes than a traditional Ferris wheel. It is often designed to provide a more thrilling experience, with faster rotations and steeper inclines.

In the intervening 130 years since George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.’s original 264 feet (80 m) wheel wowed the crowds in Chicago, the competition has been fierce in attaining ever taller heights. Herewith are the top 10 tallest Ferris wheels in the world.

Ferris Wheel In St. Louis

The St. Louis Wheel is an observation wheel with 42 fully enclosed climate-controlled gondolas located in St. Louis, Missouri. At 200 feet tall, it is not even close to being one of the world’s tallest wheels.

©JulianMH/Shutterstock.com

1. Ain Dubai

Ain Dubai, also known as the Dubai Eye, is a giant observation wheel located on Bluewaters Island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is currently the tallest observation wheel in the world, standing at 820 feet (250 m) tall. The Dubai Eye has 48 passenger capsules. Each capsule can hold up to 40 people, offering stunning views of Dubai’s skyline and the Persian Gulf. The observation wheel features a state-of-the-art LED lighting system. The system displays an impressive range of colors and patterns, making it a striking addition to the city’s skyline at night.
Construction on the Dubai Eye began in 2013, and the ride was originally slated to open in 2015. However, due to various delays, the observation wheel opened to the public in 2021. Ain Dubai has quickly become a popular attraction in Dubai. Visitors come from around the world to experience the breathtaking views from the world’s tallest observation wheel.

Bluewaters island and Ain Dubai ferris wheel on in Dubai, United Arab Emirates aerial view. New leisure and residential area in Dubai marina area

Ain Dubai, also known as the Dubai Eye, is a giant observation wheel located on Bluewaters Island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

©Creative Family/Shutterstock.com

2. The High Roller

The High Roller is a giant observation wheel located on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. It opened to the public in 2014. At the time it was the tallest observation wheel in the world, standing at 550 feet (168 m). The wheel has 28 passenger cabins. Each cabin can hold up to 40 people. The seating provides stunning 360-degree views of the Las Vegas skyline and the surrounding desert landscape.
The High Roller features a state-of-the-art LED lighting system. The system displays an array of colors and patterns. This makes it a striking addition to the Las Vegas skyline at night. Unlike traditional Ferris wheels, the High Roller moves slowly and continuously, taking approximately 30 minutes to complete one full revolution. The ride is wheelchair accessible, and passengers can even reserve a private cabin for special events or celebrations.

Tallest Ferris Wheel in the United States

The High Roller is a giant observation wheel located on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada.

©iStock.com/Aneese

3. The Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is a giant observation wheel located in Singapore. It was once the tallest observation wheel in the world, standing at 541 feet (165 m). It opened in 2008 and has 28 air-conditioned passenger cabins, each of which can hold up to 28 people. The Flyer takes about 30 minutes to complete one full rotation. It offers stunning panoramic views of the Singapore skyline and Marina Bay.

This Ferris wheel features a unique design, with each passenger cabin rotating independently around the outer rim of the wheel. This allows passengers to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Singapore’s skyline. The cabins are mounted on a rim that is supported by a series of cables and struts. This allows them to rotate independently around the wheel’s central axis. The cabins are designed to remain level and stable throughout the rotation, providing a smooth and comfortable experience for passengers.

The base of the Singapore Flyer contains offices, restaurants, and shops. The Singapore Flyer features a range of attractions and experiences, including a virtual reality experience. A dining option allows guests to enjoy a meal while taking in the breathtaking views. The Singapore Flyer has become one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors each year.

The Singapore Flyer, a large Ferris Wheel in Singapore is visible against a cityscape across an expanse of water.

The Singapore Flyer has become one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors each year

©Lifestyle Travel Photo/Shutterstock.com

4. The Star of Nanchang

The Star of Nanchang is a giant Ferris wheel located in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. It opened to the public in 2006. At the time, the Star of Nanchang was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It stands at a height of 525 feet (160 m). The Ferris wheel has 60 passenger cabins. Each cabin can hold up to eight people, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The Gan River and the Tengwang Pavilion are visible from the wheel. Though the Star of Nanchang no longer holds the title of the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, it remains one of the most iconic and popular Ferris wheels in Asia, attracting millions of visitors each year.

The Star of Nanchang, China Night Ferris wheel and light, modern city landscape, Nanchang, China.

This Ferris wheel has 60 passenger cabins, each of which can hold up to eight people, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

©gyn9037/Shutterstock.com

5. The Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel

The Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel located in Weifang, Shandong Province, China. It opened to the public in 2017 and was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world at that time. It is 476 feet (145 m) tall. The Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel has 36 passenger cabins, each of which can hold up to 10 people.

The Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel is the largest spokeless Ferris wheel in the world. It has a unique design that does not require a central spoke or axle. Instead, it relies on a rim-driven design with the passenger cabins suspended from the rim. This allows for a smoother and more stable ride, as well as a unique and modern aesthetic. Riders are rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the nearby Bailang River and the city of Weifang. This unique design, with the passenger cabins mounted on the exterior of the wheel’s rim, offers unobstructed views. The Ferris wheel features a state-of-the-art LED lighting system, making it a striking addition to the Weifang skyline at night. You can check out this modern marvel in all its glory here.

6. The London Eye

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is a giant wheel located on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, England. It was opened to the public in 2000 to mark the start of the new millennium. It has since become one of the most iconic landmarks in London, attracting millions of visitors each year. The London Eye stands at a height of 443 feet (135 m). It has 32 air-conditioned passenger capsules, each of which can hold up to 25 people. The capsules rotate slowly, taking about 30 minutes to complete one full rotation. Riders are afforded breathtaking views of London’s skyline and famous landmarks. Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace are all visible from the London Eye.
The London Eye was the largest Ferris wheel in the world when it was first built. It has since been surpassed in height by several other giant wheels but remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. In addition to the standard passenger capsules, the London Eye also offers a range of special experiences. These include private capsules for romantic dinners or special events and a 4D cinema experience that provides a unique perspective on the history and culture of London. The London Eye has been recognized for its sustainable design and energy-efficient features. The use of recycled materials and a wind turbine located at the top of the wheel generate electricity. It has become a symbol of modern London and is an essential part of any visit to the city.

The London Eye, England

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is a giant wheel located on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, England.

©iStock.com/QQ7

7. The Shenzhen Eye/Bay Glory

The Shenzhen Eye, also known as Bay Glory, is a 420-foot (128 m) tall Ferris wheel located in the central business district of Shenzhen, China The Shenzhen Eye features 28 gondolas that can hold up to 25 people each. Passengers get to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city and its surrounding areas, including Qianhai Bay and the Pearl River Delta. The ride takes approximately 30 minutes to complete one full rotation, providing visitors with ample time to enjoy the spectacular views. The Shenzhen Eye was opened to the public in 2015 and quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Shenzhen. It was designed by a team of international architects and engineers, using cutting-edge technology and sustainable materials to ensure its longevity and safety.
Visitors to the Shenzhen Eye can also enjoy a range of other activities and attractions in the nearby area, including shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The Shenzhen Eye is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the city.

Giant Ferris Wheel Cityscape of Baoan District, Shenzhen, China

The Shenzhen Eye features 32 air-conditioned passenger cabins, each of which can hold up to 6 people.

©Lili.Q/Shutterstock.com

8. The Kaohsiung Eye

The Kaohsiung Eye stands at a height of 413 feet (126 m). It is located in the amusement park that is located on the roof of Dream Mall in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Dream Mall is the largest Western-style shopping mall in Taiwan. The Kaohsiung Eye has 36 cabins, each of which can accommodate up to 8 passengers, offering stunning views of Kaohsiung and the surrounding areas. The ride takes approximately 15 minutes to complete one full rotation and is a popular attraction for both tourists and locals alike.
The Dream Mall Ferris Wheel complex also includes a shopping mall, an ice skating rink, and other family-friendly attractions. The Kaohsiung Eye has become an iconic landmark of Kaohsiung.

New Year Eve Fireworks Display Show with blurred Ferris Wheel in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

The Kaohsiung Eye stands at a height of 413 feet (126 m). It is located in the amusement park that is located on the roof of Dream Mall in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

©Chung Min/Shutterstock.com

9. Redhorse Osaka

The Redhorse Osaka Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel located at Expocity in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. It stands at a height of 404 feet (123 m) and has a diameter of 388 feet (118 m). It was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Osaka’s founding in 1583, and it officially opened to the public on July 1, 2016. The wheel features 72 transparent gondolas that are air-conditioned and equipped with high-tech audio systems, providing visitors with an immersive experience during their ride.

The ride takes about 18 minutes to complete a full rotation, and visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Expo Commemoration Park and the surrounding area, including the iconic Tower of the Sun, which was designed by Japanese artist Taro Okamoto for the 1970 World Expo held in Osaka. The wheel also features a spectacular LED light show in the evening, with the gondolas and the wheel itself illuminated in vibrant colors and patterns. The Redhorse Osaka Wheel is one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the world and has become a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, offering a unique and memorable way to see the city of Osaka from above.

History

The Redhorse Osaka Wheel is the third Ferris wheel to be built at the same site in the Expo Commemoration Park, Suita, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The previous two Ferris wheels were the Wonder Wheel, which was built in 1970 for the Japan World Exposition, and the Technocosmos Wheel which was built in 1985, followed by the Redhorse Osaka Wheel in 2016. As a precaution due to the region’s susceptibility to earthquakes, the Redhorse Osaka Wheel was built with a seismic base designed to withstand earthquakes. This feature ensures that the wheel can continue to operate safely and efficiently even in the event of seismic activity.

The Redhorse Osaka Wheel Osaka bay at dusk, Osaka Japan

The Redhorse Osaka Wheel, also known as the Redhorse Exwheel, is a giant Ferris wheel located at Expocity in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, Japan.

©Patrick Foto/Shutterstock.com

10. The Wheel at Icon Park

The Wheel at Icon Park, formerly known as the Orlando Eye, is a Ferris wheel located in Orlando, Florida. It stands at a height of approximately 400 feet (122 m) and features 30 passenger capsules, each of which can hold up to 15 people, offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding areas. The ride takes approximately 18 minutes to complete one full rotation, offering visitors ample time to enjoy the views and take pictures. In addition to the Ferris wheel, Icon Park features a variety of other attractions, including restaurants, bars, and shops. The Wheel at Icon Park is a popular tourist attraction and has become an iconic landmark in Orlando since its opening in 2015. The ride is especially popular at night when the Ferris wheel is illuminated with 64,000 color-changing LED lights, creating a colorful light show.

Orlando Eye

The Wheel at Icon Park, formerly known as the Orlando Eye, is a Ferris wheel located in Orlando, Florida. It stands at a height of approximately 400 feet (122 m).

©Woody Woods/Shutterstock.com

Summary of the Top 10 Tallest Ferris Wheels in the World

RankFerris WheelLocationHeight
1Ain DubaiDubai, United Arab Emirates 820 feet (250 m)
2The High RollerLas Vegas, Nevada, United States550 feet (168 m)
3The Singapore FlyerSingapore541 feet (165 m)
4 The Star of NanchangNanchang, Jiangxi Province, China525 feet (160 m)
5The Bailang River Bridge Ferris WheelWeifang, Shandong Province, China476 feet (145 m)
6The London EyeLondon, England443 feet (135 m)
7The Shenzhen Eye/Bay GloryShenzhen, China420-foot (128 m)
8The Kaohsiung EyeKaohsiung, Taiwan413 feet (126 m)
9Redhorse OsakaSuita, Osaka Prefecture, Japan 404 feet (123 m)
10The Wheel at Icon ParkOrlando, Florida, United States400 feet (122 m)

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Aneese


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About the Author

Kathryn Koehler is a writer at A-Z-Animals where her focus is on unusual animals, places, and events. Kat has over 20 years of experience as a professional writer and educator. She holds a master's degree from Vanderbilt University. When she is not writing for A-Z-Animals, Kat enjoys puttering in her garden, baking deliciously healthful treats for her family, and playing with her two rescue mutts, Popcorn and Scooter. She resides in Tennessee.

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