In 1893, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. built a 264-foot spinning wheel that would serve as the centerpiece of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Little did he know that he had created a ride that would transcend time and forever change the landscape of amusement parks.
Not many things recall the feeling of nostalgia like a ride on a massive Ferris wheel—a staple event for any first-time visit to the local carnival or major theme park. Ferris wheels give their riders a chance to see the world from a different perspective, vault children to new levels of excitement, and whisk adults back to their childhood. Since the first one was built in 1893, these wheels have popped up around the world in larger and more impressive forms.
On a rooftop in Matsuyama-shi, Japan, sits the Kururin Ferris wheel. The ride towers 433 feet above sea level atop the Iyotetsu-Takashimaya shopping center. As riders go around in gondola-style cars, they are treated to spectacular views of the mountainside town of Tobe, as well as the Seto Inland Sea. On the southern end of Brooklyn, New York, you can find one of the most famous Ferris wheels in the world. Deno’s Wonder Wheel first opened on Memorial Day in 1920 and has remained a mainstay of New York City for more than a century. From a solar-powered wheel of wonder to one that sits atop a skyscraper, these are eight Ferris wheels that offer spectacular views and unforgettable memories.