Perhaps you’ve noticed the shift in tourism attractions? As zoos and marine parks are receiving widespread negative attention, Ferris wheels are going up, getting taller and spinning round by day and by night. Borrowing some ideas from the London Eye, visitors will be purchasing packages for champagne toasts, private capsules, wedding ceremonies and whatever else is dreamt up — which could be risqué in Vegas. Unless you suffer from a fear of heights, here’s the latest roundup to look forward to as the Ferris wheel frenzy catches on
Over the Top on the Vegas Strip
Does Las Vegas do anything in a small way? The world’s largest Ferris wheel is called High Roller. At 550 feet tall, the wheel squeezes out the big Singapore Flyer for the title of tallest by just 9 feet. The brand new attraction is expected to be revolving behind Caesar’s Palace Hotel just behind the famous Strip by the time you read this. The 28 cabins have a capacity of 40 people each, making a 100 percent capacity of 1,120 passengers every 30 minutes. Considering the charge of at $25 or so per person, it sounds like another Las Vegas money spinner. Looking for a Vegas skyline view for free? That’s tricky. But you can sip a cocktail in the lounge atop the Mandarin Oriental where floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the city. Or splash out at the rooftop pool club which turns into an ice skating rink in winter at The Cosmopolitan.
Wait a New York Minute
In keeping with the Ferris wheel construction frenzy, look for an even newer — and bigger — New York Wheel to top the Vegas one. What’s the location? Surprise, it’s Staten Island, the most residential and overlooked by tourists of all The Big Apple’s five boroughs. Now we’re talking about 630 feet in the sky accommodating 1,440 people per ride. Doing the math, that comes to 30,000 people a day, or more than 4 million people a year. Opening day is targeted as Labor Day 2016. Prefer a view for free? New York visitors are reminded that the Staten Island Ferry ride from Lower Manhattan right past the Statue of Liberty is pretty cool, too.
She’s Got a Ticket to Ride
Perhaps sensing that ostentatious is not the way to go in Washington, D.C., at 175 feet high The Capital Wheel pales in comparison to the Vegas and New York City monster wheels. From May 2014, visitors to National Harbor can take a ride in one of 42 capsules for eight passengers each. Tickets for an eagle’s eye view of the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, The Mall, Arlington Cemetery and more will cost $15. Of course, if you prefer to pay nothing for an even better view, the National Park Service has just announced the re-opening of the Washington Monument following the post-earthquake repairs which has kept it closed to the public since August 2011. From May 12, 2014, the National Park Service once again greets visitors wishing to climb the 897 steps (or ride the elevator) in the building which was the world’s tallest for five years before the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. Tickets are available from April 16, 2014 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.