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Big Wheel Keeps on Turning Heads in Pensacola Beach

by S. Lynne on August 16th, 2012

Pensacola Beach 360 Ferris WheelUpdate on this story:  The wheel has been moved from Pensacola and is now part of the Atlanta, Georgia, skyline. Renamed SkyView Atlanta, it’s at 168 Luckie Street NW,

There’s a new addition to the Pensacola Beach skyline, one that dwarfs the city’s iconic beach-ball water tower. Called 360 Pensacola Beach, it’s a giant observation wheel – not to be confused with an ordinary Ferris wheel    ­ ­- that enables riders to enjoy 360-degree views spanning more than 17 miles in every direction. Located across the street from the Hilton, the wheel gives riders a bird’s-eye view of the Gulf of Mexico, the beaches, the bay, Santa Rosa Sound, and Pensacola’s historic downtown.

Its 42 climate-controlled gondolas, one of which is dubbed the VIP gondola and boasts leather seats and a TV, ensure riders’ comfort. The gondolas are enclosed with UV protective, non-reflective glass for optimal viewing. They each hold up to six people, except for the VIP gondola, which seats four.

For riders’ safety, the wheel, built by Pacific Development, the same company responsible for the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, has an emergency generator

View of the Pensacola Bay from the top of the wheel on Gulf Breeze.

in case of power failure and a back-up braking system.   Rides generally run 10 to 12 minutes and include at least four complete revolutions of the wheel. Illuminated at night by more than one million white LED lights, the 200-foot-tall wheel can be seen for miles. Rides are scheduled daily from noon to 11:30 p.m.

Rides for adults (aged 12 and up) cost $15, and tickets are available on-site. Rides in the VIP gondola cost $55. For more information, call 850-462-4360, log onto or e-mail

View of the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier and the Gulf of Mexico.

For places to stay and additional information about Pensacola, click on our links to Pensacola Beach vacation rentals, Pensacola Beach restaurants,   Pensacola Beach recreation and Pensacola Fishing.

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