Bayside observation wheel gives thousands bird’s-eye views
For a little over two weeks, Bayside Marketplace’s observation wheel has been open to the public and offering views of the downtown Miami skyline, with crowds rising into the thousands on weekends.
The 176-foot wheel is operating at half capacity of its 42 enclosed and climate-controlled gondolas due to sanitation and safety procedures, said Charlene Leavitt of Skyviews Miami, the attraction company that is managing the observation wheel.
“We have seen about 400 to 500 visitors during the week and a couple of thousands during the weekends,” Ms. Leavitt said, since opening at the end of October.
An opening special has been extended to Jan. 4, with Florida residents riding with a $2 discount off regular $16.82 onsite purchased tickets. The VIP gondola, which features leather bucket seats, a custom LED light show, and a glass-bottom floor, starts at $50 apiece. The VIP food and beverage catered rides are 45 minutes.
Skyviews Miami said it initially had plans to open in October 2019 and then by the Super Bowl in February, but the process of obtaining permits and other factors kept delaying the opening night. March was the new set date, but then Covid-19 struck and once again halted all operations.
Last year, the Miami City Commission voted 3-1 to approve the observation wheel with the city getting 10% of the gross ticket sales and 6% of Bayside’s cut of gross revenue, Miami Today previously reported.
Vendors have been so welcoming, and the wheel is bringing awareness that Bayside Marketplace is open and ready to go, Ms. Leavitt said of the approximately 15-minute wheel ride currently open Wednesday-Sunday from 3-10 p.m. weekdays and noon-10 p.m. weekends.
“We are working on a few things and you never know,” she said. “Santa Claus might be visiting soon.”