The Pacific Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier in California took her last spin on May 5th before crews dismantled the sun-faded behemoth piece by piece to make way for a shiny new wheel. And shiny it is, boasting 160,000 LED lights that will bring glittering visual performances to Santa Monica’s evening sky. The solar panels used for the old wheel will remain at the pier, providing clean energy for the 90-foot ride and its 800 passengers per hour.
The old wheel, shown in disassembly, has been auctioned off on eBay for over $130,000 dollars. The lucky recycler is Oklahoma City real-estate developer, Grant Humphreys. In time, Humphreys plans to incorporate the wheel into a mixed use residential community.
The Pacific Wheel, erected in 1996, was the world’s first and only solar powered ferris wheel making cameo appearances in many Hollywood films including A Night at the Roxbury, Titanic, and Thank You for Smoking. Pacific Park has donated half of the winning bid to Special Olympics Southern California. And, for each person who rode the wheel on its last day, $1 was donated to LA’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals. Inscribed with the words ‘Pacific Wheel,’ one of the hubs will be preserved at the Santa Monica Historical Society.
The new wheel, manufactured by Chance Morgan Rides, is a $1.5 million dollar investment for Pacific Park, debuting just in time for Santa Monica’s Memorial Day weekend festivities and the long California summer ahead. It’s use of LED lights will cut costs and energy consumption for the park, while a solar application generates up to 71,000 kilowatt hours of photovoltaic power.