In Pensacola, Florida

The Pensacola Beach Ferris Wheel

Pensacola beach ferris wheel

Since I’m home in Florida for the week, I’ve decided to rediscover my hometown, look at it through new eyes. My best friend Lindsey and I reunited last Thursday for the first time in six months and spent an entire day doing exciting things in Pensacola that somehow I never did in my 18 years of living here, so expect posts this week on the following:

  1. Driving jet skis
  2. Driving mopeds along the beach
  3. Climbing the Pensacola Lighthouse
  4. Riding the Ferris wheel

It’s a sad fact of life that we appreciate things only when we stand a chance of losing them–and so it is with 360 Pensacola, a Ferris wheel on Pensacola Beach. After about a year of being here, the wheel is being snatched up by Atlanta. (But what’s more baffling is how Pensacola ever landed something that used to be situated by the Louvre in Paris, but I digress.) So of course, only with its impending departure did I take the time to ride it.

This isn’t your typical Ferris wheel; it’s 20 stories high and decked out with air conditioning, plush seats, fully-enclosed gondolas, and if you’re feeling REALLY fancy, a VIP gondola at 50 bucks a pop, complete with leather seats and a TV.

Lindsey and I wanted to ride the Ferris wheel as the sun was setting over Pensacola Beach. In our rush to get there before it closed at 8, Lindsey didn’t get a chance to stop by the bathroom. This made the ride painful for her, and very entertaining for me.

As we boarded, an attendant left us with these words, “If for some reason you need to get off, press the red Emergency button at the top.” I didn’t think it might actually come down to that.

The ride went a little like this…

Me: “Oh look at that beautiful sunset over the beach.”

sunset Pensacola Beach

Lindsey: “I NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.”

Me: “We’re almost done, just three more revolutions. My goodness, isn’t this great?”

Ferris wheel pensacola beach view

Lindsey: “AMY, I’M SCARED OF HEIGHTS, AND I NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.”

I considered arguing with her, but being encased in a gondola suspended 200 feet in the air seemed like a bad time to pick a fight with someone. So I went with the only coping mechanism I know: distraction. I pointed out the pictures inside the gondola depicting what you’re not supposed to do, and we made fun of them.

prohibited on ferris wheel

The distraction seemed to be working; she looked content.

Lindsey inside ferris wheel

But then her shrieks continued, and I caught her eyeing the red button.

Emergency button

To my delight, and her horror, they let us go around one extra time. I thought Lindsey might pass out. I’m happy to report we made it the whole ride without needing to press the Emergency button, and yes, Lindsey found a bathroom.

[hr]

Tips to Know Before You Know Go

**Note: The Ferris wheel will soon be relocated to Atlanta, Georgia.

Recommended for: Couples (since no single riders are allowed). It’s great if you want to get a panoramic view of Pensacola Beach.

Sorry, single ladies.

Sorry, single ladies.

Websitehttp://360pensacolabeach.com/

Hours:

Sun-Thu  Noon-9pm
Fri-Sat Noon-11pm
Tuesday nights the wheel stays open until 10pm for “Bands on the Beach”

Cost:

Adult (ages 12+)  $13.95 plus tax

Child (ages 3-11) $4.65 plus tax

Military (with valid I.D.) $12.55 plus tax

Senior (ages 65+) $12.55 plus tax

Baby (ages 2 and under) Free

How to get tickets: Buy them when you get to the Ferris wheel

Other tips: Please use the bathroom before you board; there are no toilets in the gondolas. Oh, and if you’re afraid of heights, you might want to reconsider riding a 20-story Ferris wheel.

Pensacola ferris wheel at night

You Might Also Like

  • Tyliag
    June 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Awesome post Amy. Sounds like a wonderful and fun time.

    • Amy
      June 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I think the bathroom fiasco added to the fun…

  • Jeannie
    July 13, 2013 at 7:47 am

    This post was great, it sounds very similar to my experience when I rode it in June. My husband and I rode and it was so much fun….at least for me. My husband is a little afraid of heights so he also was telling me to abide by the rules and sit still. We were sad to hear that the wheel was being torn down just 2 days after we rode it. So glad we did this and sorry for Pensacola to lose a great attraction.

    • Amy
      July 16, 2013 at 12:02 am

      Hey Jeannie, I’m glad you got to experience the wheel before it leaves! I’ve actually seen quite a few Pensacola natives claim that the wheel was an “eyesore,” but I thought it made the beach look more fun and festive. Thanks for the comment!

    Wanna make your first $1K blogging? Join my FREE 7-day challengeYES, SHOW ME HOW!
    + +