It’s been a rough year for Seattle. As if the pandemic or the many downtown protests weren’t enough, Mother Nature decided that she wanted to give her two cents as well when Pier 58 collapsed. Because of its close proximity, Pier 57 had to close too. The latter pier, also known as Miner’s Landing, is where Seattle’s iconic Great Wheel is located.
For safety reasons, the wheel stopped spinning about four months ago which made things even harder for the Griffith family who own Pier 57 and many of the features found within. But things are finally looking up for the Griffiths as most of Pier 58 has been removed and the family has been given the green light to allow guests to ride the wheel once again.
Although just eight years old, the Great Wheel has become one of Seattle’s most recognizable sights behind the Space Needle and one of the most popular destinations on the waterfront.
The average heigth of your standard Ferris wheel is about 75 feet tall. The Great Wheel stands proudly at 175 feet tall, is covered with 500,000 LED lights (give or take a few) and can hold over 300 riders at a time. It features 42 fully enclosed gondolas making it a true destination place regardless of the the weather. Each gondola can hold up to eight adults and during non-COVID times, you could expect to share the space with others, but for now, your party will have a little more room to spread out. However, if you really want to have a special event, you’ll want to spring for the VIP Experience.
Tickets for the Seattle Great Wheel are $14 for adults (age 12 and up); $12 for seniors (age 65 and up) and $9 for kids (between 3-9) and anyone age 2 or younger can experience the event for free, not that they will remember much. You can purchase tickets online or at the pier. At $50 for each participant, the VIP Experience is spendy, but it includes once-in-a-lifetime memories. You’ll get to ride in a luxury gondola with four leather bucket seats, a stereo system and (gulp) a glass floor. It also includes a cocktail while you ride, a souvenir t-shirt, photo booth photos and priority boarding. The only downside is that you cannot reservce the VIP gondola. It is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
There is actually a lot to check out at Miner’s Landings including restaurants and shops. However, due to COVID-19, the indoor “flying theater” known as Wings Over Washington and the indoor carousel is not in operation at this time.
The Seattle Great Wheel is located at 1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101. For more information, given them a call at 206.623.8607 or visit their website.
(Main Image: Ron Clausen/Wikimedia)
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