I am a world traveller & a mom of two, (8 & 6). I love to meet people, and am fascinated that there are 7 billion stories out there to be explored. I think Melbourne is the most happening city to live in with all the fun activities around town.
Published December 21st 2013
Circular Landmarks in City Skylines
Observation wheels are rising up from the ground into the skylines of big cities around the world attracting tourists from all corners of the planet. Observation wheels, Giant Wheels and Ferris Wheels are beasts that belong to the same family, mainly differing with one another in their size, along with other features. The Ferris Wheel was first built in 1893 in Chicago, although its humble beginnings date to much earlier (1600s) when wooden riding wheels existed.
The main differences between the Ferris Wheel (usually limited to a height of 100m) and the Observation Wheel (averaging above 135m in height) apart from the size are:
1. Ferris Wheels have open air carriages, normally for up to eight people. Observation Wheels have capsules, which protect riders from external elements.
2. Ferris Wheels normally serve as temporary rides in fairs, whereas Observation Wheels serve a permanent purpose which is obviated by its name.
3. The cost of riding a Ferris Wheel is far more modest than that of an Observation Wheel.
4. An Observation Wheel boasts 360 degree views whereas Ferris Wheels do not.
5. Observation Wheels are technically far-advanced than their predecessor Ferris Wheels.
If you wish to visit one of these gigantic man-made structures to enjoy views while riding in these huge gondolas, you may wish to do so at any of the following locations amongst others:
1. The Singapore Flyer: The highest Observation Wheel as of December 2013, the Singapore Flyer opened in 2008 and is 165m high which equates to a 42-storey building. Each capsule carries up to 28 passengers and offers breath-taking views of the beautiful city of The Lion City. It is possible to book a capsule for special events (such as birthdays), romantic dinners (special occasions and festivals) and whatever your imagination fancies. The Journey of Dreams is a multimedia presentation of the interesting facts of this icon of Singapore. The Rainforest Discovery, located in the atrium of the Flyer offering visitors a treat to the body and soul, includes tropical trees and shrubs.
2. The London Eye:
Also known as The Millenium Wheel, this Observation Wheel reaching 135m in height, is ideally located on the River Thames close to the many tourist attractions in London. The first of the giant wheels opened in 2000, the London Eye attracts millions of tourists each year. There are plenty of things to do and see if you wish to remain on ground, like a skating rink during winter called frostival, a 4D experience, gift shops and cafe.
3. The Melbourne Star
Opened in December 2013, the Melbourne Star has the distinct honour of being the only Observation Wheel of the Southern Hemisphere at a spectacular height of 120m. Located in the shopping precinct of the Docklands, the Wheel has seven spokes, symbolizing the seven-pointed star of Australia. The capsules offer 360 degree views of the city up to 40km beyond.
Melbourne Star (Wikimedia Commons)
Man has been obsessed with building the biggest, the highest, the tallest, and other 'extreme' structures since the dawn of modern architecture. These Observation Wheels are a testament to the many feats of what man has been able to achieve in this arena. No matter where you live, it is well worth your while to find the most convenient / closest location for you and put it on your list of places to visit.