Though the Ferris Wheel has maintained a prominent place in its country of origin, in more recent years it has been European and Asian cities that have taken the lead in creating bigger and more spectacular observation wheels. Currently, the world’s two largest wheels are the 525 foot tall Star of Nanchang in Nanchang, China, and the 541 feet tall Singapore Flyer in Singapore. However, perhaps the most spectacular observation wheel currently in operation is the 443 feet tall London Eye, which sits on the banks of the River Thames in the city of London, England. Though not everyone is overly thrilled with the presence of the London Eye amidst the classic, subdued architecture of old London town, the wheel attracts more than 3.5 million visitors annually and is the most popular premium tourist attraction in all of the United Kingdom.
Thanks to the popularity of the original Chicago Wheel, carnivals and other travelling shows were quick to take advantage of smaller wheels that could be quickly disassembled and transported on trailers. These have been a staple of local fairs and carnivals around the world for over a century and will likely continue to hold a place for many years to come. However, they are no longer the mini versions of observation wheels they used to be. The current record for a transportable Ferris Wheel is 217 Ronald Bussink wheel.
Over the years, the classic Ferris Wheel with its single-wheel, round design with hanging baskets has been joined by more innovative designs. Among the most spectacular are the eccentric wheels. These wheels act like a combination roller coaster/Ferris Wheel as the individual passenger baskets slide along the rails of the wheel for a more dynamic ride.
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