Seattle Great Wheel opens on waterfront

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SEATTLE —

Crowds lined up to ride a new attraction on Seattle’s waterfront Friday – a huge Ferris wheel known as the Seattle Great Wheel.

 

Dignitaries, bands and cheerleaders were there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the wheel on Pier 57 that offers views of the city and Puget Sound.

 

   The Seattle Great Wheel is 175 feet tall and carries 42 climate-controlled gondolas, which can each hold six people.    A VIP gondola has a glass floor.

 

   The wheel was built by Pier 57 owner Hal Griffith who hopes it will keep tourists and other visitors coming to the waterfront during the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and construction of a new Highway 99 tunnel.

 

The Griffith family was the first to ride the wheel after the ribbon was cut, but one couple got in line at 8 a.m. because they wanted to be there for the historic opening.

 

The Great wheel owners say the view is particularly good at night, and depending on demand, the wheel might stay open on a regular basis until about 1 a.m.

 

Griffith said he would like to eventually serve dinner and drinks on board the attraction.

 

 Tickets are $13.