Standing high above the Oklahoma River and overlooking downtown OKC, the Wheeler District Ferris Wheel offers a one-of-a-kind, incredible ride. The Wheel is best known for breathtaking views of central Oklahoma City, and its home is in one of the most unique communities in Oklahoma. But what is less commonly known is the unusual history of this remarkable relic.
The Santa Monica Era
Prior to becoming an OKC icon on the Oklahoma River, the Wheeler Ferris Wheel could be found on a much larger shoreline along the North Pacific Coast. That’s right! Before its adoption in 2008, the Ferris wheel welcomed guests to Pacific Park on the famous Santa Monica Pier – a historic amusement park more than 1,300 miles away from the wheel’s current home.
During its time on the West Coast, the wheel was featured in more than 200 commercials and movies, (including Iron Man!) became the first solar-powered Ferris wheel in the world, and earned accolades like “Best of America”, “Best Solar System”, and “World’s Coolest Ferris Wheel.”
The nine-story “Pacific Wheel” provided more than 3 million rides along the California shore before developers of Pacific Park decided to replace it with a newer model. They listed the Wheel for sale on eBay, where Wheeler District developers ended a 10-day bidding war with a winning bid of $132,400.
A Home In Oklahoma
After the purchase, the wheel was transported to Wichita, Kansas, for some TLC before making its way safely to Oklahoma. During its reconstruction, the wheel would undergo $1 million in renovations and upgrades, including the replacement of incandescent bulbs with LEDs. By July 2016, The Wheeler Ferris wheel, complete with 20 gondolas and 5,400 lights, was ready for riders.
Experience the Wheel and the Wheeler District
Today, guests can ride the Wheeler Ferris Wheel, take a selfie with the iconic O-K-C letters, relax in on-site hammocks, play lawn games like cornhole, and continue exploring the expanding district by grabbing a local beer at The Big Friendly.
The 2022 Season begins March 20th!