For years this classic Ferris wheel was the most recognizable feature of the iconic Santa Monica Pier. The famous amusement ride backdropped dozens of Hollywood movies including mega-blockbusters like “Titanic” and “Forrest Gump,” before being transplanted and reassembled just south of the Oklahoma River.
The historic Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel now bridges the downtown area and Capitol Hill district of Oklahoma City. It sits on a riverfront plaza in the city’s up-and-coming Wheeler district after being purchased in 2008—on eBay of all places—by an Oklahoma real estate developer. Over $1 million was poured into the ride to restore it to its former glory and kick off the revival of the not-so-coincidentally named neighborhood.
The Ferris wheel operated for 12 years on the California coast, from 1996 up until 2008, when it was replaced by a new wheel. Once stationed at the end of the trail for Route 66 travelers, the restored relic now carries Mother Road riders over 100 feet up in the air, with excellent views of the downtown skyline from the top. On the ground, it backdrops the giant white letters of the “OKC” sign, an icon once again.
Know Before You Go
The Ferris wheel is in the Wheeler Riverfront Plaza, which also has food, games, and other attractions. The ride is open evenings on Tuesday through Sunday starting at 4 p.m. It’s $6 per ride, or you can get a day pass or even season pass and ride it over and over again.