By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

Sky High

You might have a memory of riding a giant Ferris Wheel on your first date, or your memory may involve getting sick from the motion and the height.

Good or bad, there aren't many of us who don't have childhood memories of riding on these carnival mainstays.

According to Ken Martin, an amusement ride safety analyst and consultant in Richmond, Va., these rides first appeared in America in 1893. Although rides have become more extreme over the past 120 years, these wheels have remained a staple at many amusement parks and boardwalks across the country.

Martin reminds riders it is important to note that "Ferris Wheel" is a brand name, and these wheels are also commonly referred to as the Century Wheel, the Expo Wheel, the Gondola Wheel, the Giant Wheel, and the Observation Wheel.

However you refer to them, MainStreet wants to help you make some memories of your own on a wheel in the sky. We've compiled 10 of the top wheels in the country, all of which have something that makes them special:


1.Giant Wheel at the Irvine Spectrum Center, Irvine, California:

This Giant Wheel seats 140 passengers and is illuminated with nearly 12,500 lights - primarily red white and blue - that adorn the center star. The chasing lights go through approximately 70 sequences every four minutes. This wheel is unique in that it's the only Giant Wheel in California with fully accessible gondolas, allowing those in wheelchairs to remain in their chairs while riding.