Wheeler District Welcomes Historic Ferris Wheel

Wheeler District Welcomes Historic Ferris Wheel

The Wheeler Ferris Wheel, which once belonged to Santa Monica, is now an iconic destination for residents and visitors of OKC. Photo by David Terry, The Vista. 

Oklahoma City continues to grow as a new district known as the Wheeler Riverfront Plaza develops along the Oklahoma River. Although the area seems a bit bare right now, a new attraction installed along the river has locals ready to visit.

As the nation celebrated another year of independence on July 4, the Wheeler Riverfront Plaza had its grand opening for the Wheeler Ferris Wheel. Fireworks above the OKC skyline were seen from the Ferris wheel by more than a thousand visitors in its first day.

Although the attraction is new to OKC, its beginnings date back to the early 1900s. What was once the iconic Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel is now Oklahoma City’s own Wheeler Ferris Wheel.

The installation of this historical piece has made it possible for Oklahoma City to enjoy a little portion of the West Coast. Seen in films like Iron Man, Titanic, A Night at the Roxbury, and Forrest Gump, the Wheeler Ferris Wheel attraction brings a bit of Hollywood to the Midwest. 

Locals can take pride in knowing that when they see the Wheeler Ferris Wheel lights spinning against the Oklahoma City skyline, the iconic Forrest Gump once experienced the same in Santa Monica.

The Ferris wheel found its way to Oklahoma after it was purchased off of eBay by Grant Humphreys in 2008. Since its purchase, the Wheeler Ferris Wheel has been completely refurbished and enhanced.

Nearly 6,000 incandescent bulbs with over 100,000 programmable LED lights were added onto the iconic attraction.

Visitors can enjoy the ride in the Wheeler Riverfront Plaza Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The opening of Wheeler Ferris Wheel is the first step in the growth of the Wheeler Riverfront Plaza in Oklahoma City. It may just be a couple buildings and a Ferris wheel, but Wheeler Riverfront District has big plans for the area.

Project Developer Blair Humphreys said in a statement, “The opening of the Ferris wheel is just the first step towards a much broader vision for a new urban neighborhood on the south bank of the Oklahoma River.”

Wheeler Riverfront Plaza is just a small piece to a much larger plan for the Wheeler District. The district plans to build a neighborhood and open many businesses.

With developments of the new neighborhood starting in the Fall of 2016, Oklahoma City locals look forward to watching the growth of this new district.

“We are grateful the incredible interest and support we have received from our neighbors, city leaders, and the broader Oklahoma City community.  We are excited to get started on the next phase of development,” Humphreys said.

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