Seattle’s 175-foot, waterfront “Great Wheel” opens to the public Friday, offering riders a panoramic view of the Puget Sound, the city’s skyline, snow-capped Mount Rainier to the southeast and the Olympic Mountains to the west across Elliott Bay.
The giant, white wheel on Pier 57 is not technically a Ferris wheel, as there are no open chairs. With Seattle’s wet, windy and occasionally chilly weather, the amusement ride features 42 glass enclosed, gondola-style compartments for passengers. They have heat and air conditioning.
The wheel, which was built in less than a year, is owned by Seattle businessman and waterfront restaurateur Hal Griffith, who said he has envisioned a Ferris wheel in the city for nearly 30 years.
The cost of a ride will be $13 for adults, with discounts for the military and seniors, and $8.50 for children under 12.
The first public riders will be taken aboard about 5 p.m. Friday.
Click here to go to the Great Wheel’s website for information and to purchase tickets online.