Great Wheel has Seattle waterfront all abuzz

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Seattle Great Wheel three
Staff Photo/Deborah Stone Seattle’s Great Wheel
London has the Eye, Singapore has the Flyer and now Seattle has the Great Wheel.

Located on Pier 57, the 175-feet tall Ferris wheel is the city’s newest waterfront attraction and it’s already attracting droves of locals and tourists alike.

The brainchild of owner Hal Griffith, the Great Wheel took years of planning to come to fruition. It was constructed to appeal to families with the idea that everyone from tykes to grandparents can enjoy the ride and the breathtaking views together.

It was also built with the hope that such a large attraction would draw patronage to all waterfront businesses, especially during upcoming construction projects on Alaskan Way.

According to developers, the Great Wheel is one of the largest of its kind in the country.

At its highest point, the wheel is about 200 feet above the water and extends out over Puget Sound nearly 40 feet.

It contains 42 climate-controlled gondolas which each seat six passengers, allowing for 252 riders at full capacity.

In entirety, the wheel weighs 280,300 pounds.

Though the skies were gray when I hopped on for a ride, I was still able to get an incredible bird’s eye view of our fair town and its surrounding area. I easily could see the entire city skyline, the buzz of activity at the Port of Seattle, a steady stream of cars making their way down the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the usual boat traffic out on picturesque Elliott Bay.

The only thing missing was the Olympic Mountains. I was amazed at how leisurely the experience was, as the Wheel moves slowly with each ride consisting of three full rotations, lasting a total of 12 minutes.

For those with Ferris wheel fears stemming from open seats, dangling legs and panic-inducing rock ‘n’ roll movement, you’ll find the Great Wheel a welcome change.

The ride is smooth and relatively calm, with just a few gentle sways, and most importantly, you are completely enclosed within the gondolas, fully protected from the elements. It’s relatively quiet as your car makes its rotations and a definite sense of peace and serenity dominates this special adventure.

For more information about the Seattle Great Wheel: www.seattlegreatwheelcom

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