616,000-Pound Observation Wheel Arrives at the Queen Mary

Photo courtesy of the Queen Mary.

La Grande XL, said to be the largest traveling observation wheel in the Western Hemisphere, has been assembled at the Queen Mary and will be giving rides to eager view seekers starting Friday at 4:00PM.

Built in the Netherlands, the observation wheel arrived in the United States last year and was transported from the Coachella Valley to Long Beach where it will be activated through Sunday, June 17.

Each climate-controlled cabin seats six to eight people, where guests can sip on alcoholic beverages (for purchase) and take in a birds-eye view of the Queen Mary, downtown Long Beach and Los Angeles, as well as Catalina Island. The wheel also boasts over half a million LED lights for those experiencing it after dark.

“The Observation Wheel at the Queen Mary is the only wheel of its kind in the Western Hemisphere as it is portable,” said spokesperson Joy Pickett. “Every other wheel that is that size or bigger is stationary and can’t move.”

Built to a design by Ronald Bussink Professional Rides, the 164-feet tall structure was transported to the states on 22 containers. This will be the first time a wheel of this size, at approximately 616,000 pounds, has been in Long Beach.

The wheel leaves for the Orange County Fair following its Queen Mary stay.

Observation Wheel hours are daily, 11:00AM to 10:00PM with the exception of Friday, May 18 when the wheel will be open from 4:00PM to 10:00PM. For more information and to purchase tickets, which start at $10, visit the website here.

The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.