The Myrtle Beach Ferris wheel

  • Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012 4:45 p.m.
Bill Ward/Ward & Associates
This view was photographed 50 yards south of the Sky Wheel.
Bill Ward/Ward & Associates This view was photographed 50 yards south of the Sky Wheel.

Find a wheel, and it goes round, round, round

As it skims along with a happy sound...


When Perry Como sang his signature song, he probably had no idea that wheels would be getting bigger and bigger, and even bigger. Ferris wheels, we’re talking about, because now they’re reaching for the stars, like circular skyscrapers. At a mere 200 feet high, the ferris wheel at Myrtle Beach elevates you higher than most buildings along Ocean Boulevard.The Carolinas’ beaches, like the rest of the coastal water lands, have been reshaped over the years to resemble something more like a “Little Miami.” The stilted houses and small souvenir shops along the beach mostly have been replaced by high-rise motels and small boutiques. Oh, you can still get a tat or buy a T-shirt proclaiming that you were at Myrtle Beach. It’s just that the scenery is much different than from a few decades ago.

The newest addition — at least new to us — was the Sky Wheel, which you can see well before you arrive at Myrtle Beach. The Sky Wheel rotates up 200 feet above sea level, with waves from the Atlantic Ocean bathing the shore just 50 yards behind the wheel. Passengers are seated in gondolas, and each of the 46 gondolas can hold up to six adults comfortably. As an attendant closes your gondola door, you are told to “enjoy your flight.”

If you’re into ferris wheelology, the 200 footer at Myrtle Beach needs a growth spurt to compete with the truly big wheels. Currently, the tallest wheel in Europe and the Western Hemisphere is the “London Eye,” at 443 feet. But the Far East sets the record with the Singapore Flyer, which opened in 2008 and currently is the world’s tallest at 541 feet.

However, not to be outdone, the “High Roller,” scheduled for completion on the Las Vegas Strip in late 2013, will be 550 feet tall and feature externally mounted, motorized capsules of a transparent spherical design. The media has described this as a ferris wheel and as an observation wheel.

But it doesn’t stop there. No sir. The powers that be in New Yawk City have recently announced a whopper.

As part of a 350,000 square-foot shopping complex and motel on the Staten Island waterfront, this mega-wheel will be 625 feet high. Expected to open on New Year’s Eve 2015, the wheel will have 36 capsules, capable of carrying 40 people each. A ride on this giant wheel will take about 30 minutes.

Now, we have to wonder, what is Texas planning?

Bill Ward lives in Salisbury.

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