The Seattle Great Wheel
On June 29, 2012, the Seattle Great Wheel will open to the public on Seattle’s Central Boardwalk. Positioned at the end of Pier 58, the 175-foot high ride has 43 heated gondolas that can each hold up to eight passengers. One of the gondolas is a VIP gondola with red leather seats and a glass floor for four people. Each trip includes three full turns of the steering wheel and can take between 10 and 20 minutes. It will soon become a Seattle icon and photographic subject to rival the Space Needle.
The 175 feet tall, 170,000 Pound Ferris wheel was built in 2012 and is located on the Seattle Boardwalk above Puget Sound at Pier 58 near Pike Place Market and the Seattle Aquarium. 42 closed gondolas with heating and air conditioning for 8 people each. As passengers soar, they can take in the amazing view of the city, sound, and mountains even as listening to a narrative that describes Seattle’s riverside. The Ferris wheel also has a special reserve gondola with glass shelves for the best viewing experience.
Located at 1301 Alaskan Way, at the end of Pier 57 on the Seattle Waterfront, the Seattle Great Wheel has 42 air-conditioned gondolas, each of which can carry up to eight passengers; a luxurious VIP gondola with red leather seats and a glass floor for four people. In summer, travel times are between 12 and 20 minutes due to the time it takes to load and unload large crowds; In winter the trip usually takes 10-15 minutes.
While the Ferris wheel offers great views of Seattle, a boat tour of Puget Sound offers unique views of the Big Ferris Wheel. In 1989, businessman Hal Griffith bought Pier 57 from the city of Seattle. There he opened Miners Landing, a collection of restaurants and shops that were rented to tenants. Since the pier is next to Waterfront Park and near the Seattle Aquarium, Griffith thought a small Ferris wheel would be a good attraction for visitors to the area.
The Seattle Parks Department rejected several Griffith proposals to place a bike in Waterfront Park. In the early 2000s, when the city council was making plans to demolish the viaduct and rebuild the seawall, Griffith and his sons Kyle and Troy feared construction projects would have a big impact on their business and decided to build a big wheel for the Family to build a dock.
To support the massive journey, the pier had to be demolished and rebuilt with galvanized steel piles one meter in diameter. Then came the base of the Great Wheel, which was built from 550 tons of concrete by B and T Design and Engineering of Issaquah. The spring and base had to be strong enough to support the 280,300-pound wheel and 54,500-pound rider.
Seattle’s large Wheel is at the end of Pier 58 on the boardwalk and is within walking distance of most of the city’s top attractions including summit Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, Seattle, and more. It is approximately 25 minutes from Seattle Tacoma International Airport and the nearest light rail station, University Street Station Bay A, just blocks away.