A new tourist attraction has opened along the waterfront in Seattle, offering visitors a bird’s eye view over the Emerald City.
The 175-foot-tall Great Wheel is one of the largest of its kind in the United States, with a capacity of 252 passengers in 42 enclosed cars. The $20 million project is part of a larger initiative to regenerate Seattle’s waterfront area.
“Our whole idea was to create an attraction that was a neat thing to make people want to come down to the waterfront,” wheel co-owner Kyle Griffith told Reuters.
Already affectionately known as “a baby London Eye”, the wheel attracted large crowds on opening day, including local residents and high profile community members who came to see the panoramic views on the 12-minute Ferris wheel ride.
As the first passengers stepped onto the Great Wheel, developers worked furiously to put the finishing touches on the attraction.
“There’s a lot of unfinished details,” owner Hal Griffith told the Seattle Times. “This ride is done, it’s all of the other things.”
Even without the finishing touches, locals were still enthusiastic about the city’s newest attraction.
“I love it. My son’s screen saver is the (wheel) in London; we’re just so excited about it,” local resident, Jani Trousdale said, adding the impressive views over Seattle are what sets this wheel apart from the London Eye. “This one is going to be more spectacular.”
“This is going to look really beautiful lit up as you come in on the ferries,” local resident Jeremy Blum said. “This is a destination now – a legit party on the pier.”