A legendary icon and an indispensable feature of the Santa Monica coastline, the world’s first solar-powered Ferris Wheel arrived on this pier more than a decade ago.
Now in its second energy-efficient incarnation, the 85 ft wide wheel adorned with 160,000 dazzling LED lights is the shining star of a fair that never leaves town.
With a backdrop consisting of the Pacific Ocean and legendary California beach sunsets, the wheel competes with its own stunning visual performances. Dancing and twinkling with electric sparkles, visitors and residents alike find it hard to take their eyes off of the colorful display - so iconic when viewing the pier from a distance, and more enchanting the closer one approaches.
Its predecessor, which was erected in 1996, was the world’s first and only solar-powered ferris wheel. Replaced by the new wheel in 2008, the original solar panels remain, generating up to 71,000-kilowatt hours of photovoltaic power.
As amusement park rides go, the wheel’s relatively green status is enhanced by the LEDs themselves, which dramatically cut energy consumption for the park while still managing to thrill the crowds as they light up the Santa Monica coastline.
Visit California with Atlas Obscura Trips
Hip-Hop, Hippies, and Robots: Invention and Reinvention in San Francisco
We'll set out together, September 19-21, to explore unusual galleries, test our cocktail-making skills, and visit the city's best unofficial museum.