The tallest Ferris wheel in the world, the High Roller, opened this week in — where else — Las Vegas. People are lining up to pay $25 ($35 at night) to climb aboard one of the 28 glass-enclosed gondolas and take a 30-minute ride to reach the top – 550 feet! The ride is part of Caesars’ latest $550 million restaurant/retail/entertainment development on the strip.
The original Ferris Wheel (226 ft.) was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was meant to rival the Eiffel Tower which was the centerpiece at the recent World’s Fair in Paris. Although it didn’t reach the height of the Eiffel Tower (1000 ft.), Ferris’ “observation wheel” included 36 cars, each fitted with 40 revolving chairs and able to accommodate up to 60 people. For 19 weeks the Ferris wheel made over 10,000 revolutions without incident (that Chicago wind is no joke) and carried more than 1.5 million passengers who paid 50 cents for a 20-minute ride.