The giant Ferris wheel installed in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in 2020 has been relocated to Pier 43 at Fisherman’s Wharf ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
While the 150-foot SkyStar Wheel was supposed to start running at the wharf today, the opening has been delayed until Tuesday pending inspections, according to the company.
Todd Schneider, a SkyStar Wheel managing partner, said the extra time is needed to smooth out the parking lot where the amusement ride will stand and to add a platform with steps and an accessible ramp.
“The parking lot was in pretty rough shape when we got it,” Schneider said. “It’ll just be a better experience for customers.”
The wheel will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, and SkyStar has a six-month contract to operate the wheel at Pier 43, Schneider said.
Pricing will be the same as when the ride operated at Golden Gate Park: $18 admission for adults and $12 for children, seniors and veterans. San Francisco residents get a 15% discount.
Schneider expects the wheel will be a popular attraction for the wharf, which is often packed with tourists.
“You get to look down on Alcatraz,” Schneider said. “Every time you’ve got a Ferris wheel by a waterfront, it’s a magical experience.”
The number of Ferris wheel riders could double at its new location, said Randall Scott, head of the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District.
“But the real impact isn’t just the [wheel’s] ticket sales and revenue for the port,” Scott said. “People are going to eat, they’ll hang out more, it’s going to bring more people and locals down to the wharf, and they’re going to spend money.”
Scott also said the wheel’s location gives it a 360-degree view of San Francisco’s most iconic destinations, including Telegraph Hill, the Financial District, the new span of the Bay Bridge and Alcatraz. Particularly during APEC, Scott said, the wheel is an opportunity to impress people visiting San Francisco.
“It might be tough to get around the city [during APEC], but at least you can see it,” Scott said.
Fisherman's Wharf business leaders, such as Boudin Bakery Chief Financial Officer Bill Dozier, expressed excitement over the ride taking a spin on the city's waterfront at a public meeting in September about the proposal.
"We believe that the attraction will help generate excitement and provide an activity destination, which will benefit all the tenants of the wharf with guests who want to eat, drink and shop," Dozier said at the time.
The SkyStar Wheel has a license to operate for six months, according to Port of San Francisco Communications Director Eric Young.
"The Port is open to extending that timeline, pending discussions with our stakeholders and our Port Commission," Young said, adding that SkyStar must still obtain approval from the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health before the Ferris wheel can carrying passengers.