The tallest Ferris wheel in the eastern unified States, a 200-foot-tall, $12 million wheel with a million LED lights and also 42 air-conditioned gondolas, began spinning Friday in this beach will on the south Carolina coast.

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The 200-foot-tall SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Is the tallest Ferris wheel in the eastern unified States. It functions a million LED lights and 42 air-conditioned gondolas.Bruce blacksmith / AP
The tallest Ferris wheel in the eastern joined States, a 200-foot-tall, $12 million wheel v a million LED lights and 42 air-conditioned gondolas, started spinning Friday in this beach resort on the southern Carolina coast.

The SkyWheel is intended to assist draw visitors to center of the downtown Myrtle Beach whereby a new 1.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk opened up last year however which 5 years back lost the oceanfront Pavilion amusement park.


The wheel takes riders for a 12-minute spin above the beach and each night will function a computerized light show.

"This yes, really going to be an icon for ours city and also I think we"re walk to have the ability to use it together a incredible commercial tool," said Myrtle beach Mayor john Rhodes.

The Myrtle coast attraction is of the same architecture as a wheel ~ above the Canadian next of Niagara Falls and dominates the skyline along the beach ar in a resort that is the love of southern Carolina"s $18.4 exchange rate tourism industry.

"Myrtle Beach was the appropriate audience because that the attraction," claimed David Busker, the chairman of Koch Development, which arisen the wheel along with Pacific Development. "Niagara falls has a similar profile to Myrtle Beach, 14 million visitors, organic attractions — they have the falls and we have the beach — and they have been an extremely successful."


One the the first riders top top the wheel to be 10-year-old Tad McCord of phibìc Myrtle Beach, S.C. He"s not scared that heights, having been much higher — his dad is one airline pilot and also flies smaller sized planes.

"I loved it. I favored the going-around part," Tad said, and, inquiry to compare it to an aircraft ride, added, "I think they"re both equally as fun."

The wheel is 12 feet shorter than the Ferris wheel at the Texas State same in Dallas, the tallest wheel in the nation, and smaller than the world"s first Ferris wheel, a 264-foot wheel built for the 1893 World"s fair in Chicago.

The 541-foot Singapore Flyer continues to be the world"s tallest, stated Norman Anderson, the Raleigh, N.C., a retired north Carolina State university professor who has actually written a history of Ferris wheels and also writes a monthly newsletter dealing largely with the rides.


"Roller coasters went v this in the "60s and "70s," the said. "Then through the introduction of steel roller coasters through corkscrews and also helixes, they do a real strong comeback."

When the Millennium Wheel — also known as the London Eye — was constructed in in London an ext than a te ago, larger Ferris wheels began being developed overseas. The an excellent Recession delayed construction on several large wheels, including one in Beijing planned to increase 682 feet.

In the unified States, the said, over there has constantly been an ext interest in roller coasters.


"In America I always say that v the young people, if they walk to one amusement park and also don"t have four near-death experience in a day, they space not happy," Anderson said.

Anderson estimates there room a pair of thousands Ferris wheel worldwide. They seem come be more popular in Asia due to the fact that rides seem come be more of a family affair there and "while they have actually roller coasters, they haven"t conquered the theme parks together they have in this country."

Ferris wheels likewise stand therefore tall, they advertise themselves.

"You deserve to see those things from a country mile and they irradiate up at night," he said. Still, the added, they aren"t that famous at layout parks because it"s hard to attach a theme to a wheel, the means you deserve to with a roller coaster like space Mountain at Walt Disney World. In addition, the procedure of loading and also unloading Ferris wheel passenger takes a lengthy time.


Still, there"s other romantic around a Ferris wheel, perhaps due to the fact that it evokes simpler times.

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"Older people might walk to a park or a fair and also before castle go, they ride a Ferris wheel since that"s what they did once they were younger," the said.