National Ferris Wheel Day is celebrated on February 14 every year! If you love fun and adventures and you are not scared of heights, we’re sure you have fond childhood memories of riding on a Ferris wheel. Ferris wheels come in many sizes, they are fun to ride on and give a beautiful, bird’s eye view. Did you know that the ‘High Roller’ is the largest Ferris wheel in the world? The massive wheel is 550 feet tall and is found in Las Vegas!
History of National Ferris Wheel Day
While February 14 is more famous for being Valentine’s Day, it also doubles as the annual observance of National Ferris Wheel Day. George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., the inventor of the Ferris wheel, was born on February 14.
Ferris, a civil engineer, born 1859, in Galesburg, Illinois, introduced the world to the concept of the Ferris wheel and designed the original Chicago Ferris Wheel. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, in 1881.
Ferris constructed his prototype as a landmark for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, as the United States’ version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Originally called “the Chicago Wheel,” it took Ferris two years to plan and construct. Costing about $700,000 in 1893 and containing over 100,000 parts, Ferris’ massive wheel stood at an enormous 264 feet high, towering about 26 stories above Chicago. It had 36 gondolas (cars housed within glass and locked doors) and accommodated up to 60 (40 seated, 20 standing) passengers. Over 1.4 million people paid 50 cents for a 20-minute ride on the wheel through the next 19 weeks of the World’s Columbian Exposition.
After the exhibition, the Ferris wheel was moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904 for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and destroyed there on May 11, 1906, with dynamite for scrap metal. Some dismantled parts of Ferris’ original design were used to make the U.S.S. Illinois, a World War I battleship, and to construct a bridge over the Kankakee River, south of Chicago. Although Ferris lived a short life – dying at the age of 37 due to typhoid fever – his invention lives on, enjoyed by fun lovers around the world. Now, you could find Ferris wheels everywhere: in tourist parks, festivals, carnivals, and different kinds of celebrations.
National Ferris Wheel Day timeline
George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., a civil engineer and inventor, is born on February 14 in Galesburg, Illinois.
George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. graduates from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.
Ferris unveils his invention — the colossal circular wheel standing at over 260 feet tall powered by two steam engines — at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
High Roller, a 550-foot tall Ferris wheel, opens to the public on March 31 in Las Vegas.
National Ferris Wheel Day FAQs
Is the first Ferris wheel still standing?
The original 264-foot-tall massive Ferris wheel was unveiled at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. It was relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904 and dynamited for scrap metal in 1906 to be used in other construction projects.
Where is the world’s tallest Ferris wheel?
The world’s tallest Ferris wheel is in Dubai. The Ain Dubai is over 800 feet tall, and it takes more than half-hour for it to complete one rotation.
How much weight can a Ferris wheel cart hold?
A Ferris wheel cart, known as a gondola, can hold up to 1,300 pounds weight.
National Ferris Wheel Day Activities
If you live close enough to a Ferris wheel, this is just the perfect day to go out for a ride on one — especially if you’ve never been in a while. You could plan a lover’s date and use the opportunity to gain some intimacy or spend some great time with your friends and family. You’ll feel like a child again basking in the euphoria of the fun and excitement that come from the ride.
Read about the history
The design and development of the Ferris wheel make for quite an interesting history. You could spend time reading it up, taking time to understand the determination and dream Ferris had in a bid to entertain the world.
Eat a snack or two
Since Ferris wheels are usually found in theme parks, you could also use the opportunity to gobble up some carnival snacks. Think popsicles, buttered popcorn, corn dogs, cotton candy, and funnel cakes. Watch it though, none of these foods are healthy.
5 Fun Facts About The Ferris Wheel
A ride for 50 cents
The admission price to the original Ferris wheel was 50 cents.
Four times shorter
Although the original Ferris wheel was intended to rival the 1,063 feet Eiffel Tower in Paris, it was 264 feet high but four times shorter.
$25,000 for safety research
Fair officials believed Ferris’ 26-story tall ride would be too dangerous, so he spent $25,000 out of his pocket to pay for safety studies.
Sketches on a napkin
Ferris initially sketched out plans for his wheel on napkins at a Chicago restaurant, before he properly developed his concepts in actual blueprints.
1.5 million passengers
At the end of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, it was estimated that 1.5 million people had been on the first Ferris wheel.
Why We Love National Ferris Wheel Day
National Ferris Wheel Day encourages awareness about the importance and history of the amazing machine. While Ferris was discouraged by fair officials over the safety concerns of his proposed design, he persisted and funded the safety research by himself.
Ferris wheels are often associated with childhood. Most of the people you’ll find on it are kids. You may remember that you were on one as a child too, and reminisce about how breathtaking the adventure was.
The perfect excuse to ride
For everyone who's been too shy or busy to get on a Ferris wheel in recent times, National Ferris Wheel Day is a perfect opportunity to go on a groovy ride on one. It also serves as a great way to spend the coinciding Valentine’s Day with a date — if they’re up for it!
National Ferris Wheel Day dates