Whether you are at the carnival with your kids and you want to give them a little thrill or you are hoping to steal a few minutes in privacy with the one you love, a Ferris wheel is a great thing to take a ride on. How could it not be when the first "pleasure wheels" were thought to exist as early as in the 17th century and it is still one of the most popular carnival attractions around? Add to that the fact that there are some very interesting Ferris wheels in use today all around the world.
The Singapore Flyer is remarkable especially due to its size. It is a massive 541 ft. (165 m) tall attraction. Imagine the view from the top of this Ferris wheel, which currently holds the title of the world's tallest. If the sheer size doesn't impress you enough to want to visit it, then imagine that it carries 28 air-conditioned capsules that can accommodate 28 passengers each. This monster includes restrooms, champagne and cocktail services.
One of Japan's contributions to extreme Ferris wheels comes in the form of the Big-O which is unique due to two simple facts. One being the way it looks. Unlike typical Ferris wheels, this one has no center axle or spokes. There is no visible internal support structure. It was designed this way and then to further emphasizes it there is a roller coaster track, the Thunder Dolphin to be exact, which will travel straight through the middle of the Ferris wheel.
Japan's other treasure is the Cosmo Clock 21, located in Yokohoma, which clocks in at 353 feet tall. It held the title of the world's tallest wheel for eight years. It was built in 1989 and to this day holds the title of world's largest clock. This one is a nice slow ride if you want a place to relax for a little while. It will take you about 15 minutes for just one rotation around.
You can't discuss unique Ferris wheels without mentioning The Wonder Wheel at Coney Island. It was built in 1920 and holds a total of 24 passenger cars in its 150 feet high wheel. The thing that makes it special isn't the size; it's the fact that only 8 cars remain stationary on the wheels outer ring. The other 16 slide on tracks located within the wheels frame while it rotates. It was the first of its kind to be built, though now duplicates also exist; none are quite as impressive as the original.
The United States tallest Ferris wheel is located in Dallas Texas and is aptly named the Texas Star. It is 21 stories high and holds 44 gondolas which can carry 6 people at a time. It is lit with LED lights and is one of the more popular rides at Dallas' 3 week long fair.
If you love bright lights reflecting on the water then perhaps you would enjoy taking a ride on the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. This one stands about 90 feet above the pier and 130 ft. above the ocean. If you ride it at night the view of the water crashing against the shore can be truly breathtaking and romantic if you're on a date with the one you love.
If you want to ensure you get a full 360 degree view from the top of a Ferris wheel so that you may take in all the sites it has to offer, you may want to consider the London Eye. Each rotation takes about 30 minutes and each capsule is attached to the outside of the rims structure by a rotating circular mount. It is only supported on one side of it and it is guaranteed to give you a clear view of the North Bank toward Westminster Palace or other landmarks.
The Tianjin Eye is located in Tianjin, China and it is a Ferris wheel like none other in existence today. The thing that makes it so special is the simple fact that it stands on a bridge over water. It was built in 2007. It will accommodate 770 passengers and each one will have a beautiful view in every direction they look.
No matter which type of thrill you seek, there is a Ferris wheel to give it to you somewhere in the world. The Ferris wheel, the pleasure wheel, no matter what you choose to call it, can be as fun and as exciting as any other ride and all will offer you a bird's eye view of the world around you.