AP News

Facts about Ferris wheels and the 10 tallest


The world's biggest Ferris wheel will be built on Staten Island, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials announced Thursday. The $230 million attraction is to be called the New York Wheel. Here's a look at some facts about Ferris wheels and a list of the world's 10 tallest fixed Ferris wheels:

FERRIS WHEEL FACTS:

— The first Ferris wheel, 264 feet high (80.4 meters), was invented in the U.S. by Pittsburgh engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. Powered by steam engines, it was introduced at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 in Chicago.

— The proposed New York Wheel on Staten Island is planned to be 625 feet and expected to open by the end of 2015.

— Caesars Entertainment Corp. plans to build a Ferris-style wheel on the Las Vegas Strip. It is planned to stand 550 feet tall and open in late 2013.

— China began construction in 2007 on what was planned to be the world's tallest Ferris wheel, at 680 feet. Officially called the Observation Wheel, it's also referred to as the Beijing Great Wheel or the Great Beijing Wheel. Meant to be open for the 2008 Olympic games, it's still not completed because of design and financing problems.

WORLD'S 10 TALLEST FIXED FERRIS WHEELS:

— Singapore Flyer, 541 feet (165 meters) completed in 2008, in downtown Singapore, was said to cost $240 million. The original spinning direction was reversed on the advice of a group of feng shui masters, ostensibly to revolve wealth back into the financial district.

— Star of Nanchang, 525 feet (160 meters), completed in 2006, in Nanchang, China. Said to cost $7.1 million, it's decorated with 21,300 feet (6,500 meters) of fluorescent lights.

— London Eye, 443 feet (135 meters), inaugurated on Millennium Eve — Dec. 31, 1999 — in London. Because of a safety glitch, the first public ride took place a month later, on Feb. 1, 2000.

— Suzhou Ferris Wheel, 394 feet (120 meters), completed in 2009 in Suzhou, China, was the fourth 120-meter-tall Ferris wheel built in the country.

— Southern Star, 394 feet (120 meters), completed in 2008 in Melbourne, Australia, at a cost of $100 million, was closed after 40 days when cracks appeared, but it remains standing.

— Tianjin Eye, 394 feet (120 meters), completed in 2008. It was built over Yongle Bridge, with cars passing on either side, in Tianjin, China's fifth-largest city.

— Changsha Ferris Wheel, 394 feet (120 meters), completed in 2004 in Changsha, China.

— Zhengzhou Ferris Wheel, 394 feet (120 meters), was the tallest in China when completed in 2003 in Century Amusement Park, in Zhengzhou.

— Sky Dream Fukuoka, 394 feet (120 meters), completed in 2002 in Fukuoka, Japan. The slow pace of 20 minutes per revolution was used as a selling point, providing "maximum kissing time." It closed because of high maintenance costs in September 2009.

— Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel, 369 feet (117 meters), completed in 2001 in Tokyo, named for the patterns in its nighttime lighting.

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Sources: AP reporting and other newspapers. Compiled by AP News Researcher Jennifer Farrar.


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