Myrtle Beach SkyWheel

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Myrtle Beach SkyWheel.jpg
General information
StatusComplete and operational
Type Ferris wheel
Location Myrtle Beach, SC Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade
Coordinates 33°41′31″N 78°52′46″W / 33.692035°N 78.87954°W / 33.692035; -78.87954
Latitude and Longitude:

33°41′31″N 78°52′46″W / 33.692035°N 78.87954°W / 33.692035; -78.87954
Construction started2011
InauguratedMay 20, 2011 [2]
Cost$12 million [1]
Height187 feet (57 m) [1]
Design and construction
Architect Ronald Bussink Professional Rides [3]
Engineer Chance Morgan [3]

SkyWheel is a 187-foot tall (57.0 m) [1] Observation wheel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. [1]

When it opened on May 20th, 2011, it was the second-tallest extant Ferris wheel in North America, after the 212-foot (64.6 m) Texas Star in Dallas, and the tallest wheel in the United States east of the Mississippi River. [4] [2] Since its opening it has become the sixth-tallest Ferris wheel in the United States.

Design and Safety

SkyWheel is a Ronald Bussink Professional Rides designed R60 Giant Wheel, and was manufactured by Chance Morgan. [3] It is similar in design to the Niagara SkyWheel on Canada's side of Niagara Falls, [4] and the Seattle Great Wheel, both of which are 175 feet (53.3 m) tall. Skywheel has "42 glass-enclosed, temperature controlled gondolas" [4] described as "ballooned-out square", [5] each with seating for six passengers. [3] [6] City manager Tom Leath said, "It's big enough to be an iconic feature for the city." [4]

The wheel operates year-round except for the day of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each gondola must be removed if high winds are predicted, completing a process that takes around eight to ten hours. [7]

Each gondola is equipped with temperature-controlled air conditioner units with hatch windows that allow airflow into the gondola. The gondolas are also equipped with a red "Emergency" button that alerts the ride operator.

Unrelated people are not required to sit together. [4]

If a child were to ride without their parents or guardian, they must be able to reach the top of the gondola where the emergency button is located. If the child does not meet this requirement, a staff member can be provided to ride with the child or the child may ride with another customer with the consent of the adult.


St. Louis-based developer Koch Development Company and Pacific Development had been looking for a site for a Ferris wheel; they chose Myrtle Beach because of its new boardwalk, which has its northern end near the site, next to Plyler Park. Architect James Hubbard, AIA a Principal with Pegram Associates, Inc. designed the site, which includes a 5,400-square-foot (500 m2) building with a restaurant, gift shop and the ticket booth. The Golden Villas motel was torn down and an alley was moved. [4]

The September 8, 2010 meeting of the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation included a discussion of SkyWheel. TLC planned a show about the wheel's construction, and a camera was positioned above the site at the Slingshot reverse bungee attraction across Ocean Boulevard. [8] Al Mers, a Pacific Development partner, said later in the month that the steel frame was being built outside St. Louis, while the gondolas were made in Switzerland. [5] The wheel went on a deck 20 feet (6.1 m) above sea level to protect it from possible hurricane storm surge. Construction of the building started in December, while the wheel's frame began work on February 23. [9] [10] Land Shark Bar & Grill opened the same day as SkyWheel, the third restaurant in the city connected with Jimmy Buffett. The others are Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Broadway at the Beach and Cheeseburger in Paradise on the city's north end. [11] [1]


In 2012, named SkyWheel "Best Scenic Experience in South Carolina". [12]


  1. ^ a b c d e Bryant, Dawn (2011-05-20). "SkyWheel, LandShark eatery debuted today in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  2. ^ a b NBC News Myrtle Beach gets super-tall SkyWheel
  3. ^ a b c d Myrtle Beach SkyWheel Press and News Archived 2012-01-20 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d e f Anderson, Lorena (2010-06-15). "Ferris wheel may roll to Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  5. ^ a b Anderson, Lorena (2010-09-16). "Hotel makes way for Ferris wheel in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  6. ^ Salinger, Adva (2011-08-23). "Hurricane Irene path veers east, but Myrtle Beach area not out of woods". The Sun News. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  7. ^ Salinger, Adva (2011-08-23). "Hurricane Irene path veers east, but Myrtle Beach area not out of woods". The Sun News. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  8. ^ Anderson, Lorena (2010-09-09). "Myrtle Beach boardwalk gets visitors' approval". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  9. ^ Bryant, Dawn (2011-02-24). "One giant ride, going up in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  10. ^ Bryant, Dawn (2010-11-30). "Construction under way for SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  11. ^ Bryant, Dawn (2010-12-09). "Jimmy Buffett eatery to land in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  12. ^ Bryant, Dawn (2012-03-20). "Myrtle Beach attraction gets nod from website". The Sun News. Archived from the original on 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2012-03-22.

External links