Seattle's newest attraction, a Ferris wheel known as the "Great Wheel," officially debuted last Friday.
While it might not overtake the Space Needle in popularity, it will provide an attraction for a neighborhood that is experiencing disruptions in the way of a new, $3.1 billion tunnel scheduled to open in 2016. That tunnel is being built to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. In the meantime, officials hope having a tourist anchor for the area will help ease the inevitable loss of traffic and business from the construction. As a result, a $20 million, privately-funded Ferris wheel can now be found along Pier 57.
In a Reuters report, the wheel's co-owner, Kyle Griffith, referred to it as being "like a baby London Eye." The wheel is 175 feet tall while London's reaches 443 feet. Singapore has the world's tallest, the Singapore Flyer, coming in at 541 feet tall.
The gondolas on the wheel are enclosed and climate-controlled with one car featuring a glass door and leather seats, able to host dinners and cocktails for special occasions.
A ride on the Great Wheel costs $13.50 and lasts 12-minutes. Via Reuters, images from the wheel's debut: