Meeting attendees at the 2013 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Atlanta earlier this month may have noticed a new attraction towering over the downtown skyline. SkyView Atlanta, a 20-story Ferris wheel located in Centennial Olympic Park, opened in July—just in time for ASAE attendees to catch a ride in one of its 42 gondolas during the event’s closing ceremony.
SkyView, recently named the second most popular Ferris wheel in the world by CNN, offers visitors your typical observation wheel experience. Two to six people enter a climate-controlled gondola that takes them on a 15-minute flight reaching heights of 200 feet. The atypical part is the location of the Ferris wheel, strategically placed in the downtown to give passengers a view of the buildings below.
“We’re the only ferris wheel located inside a cityscape,” says Jesse Lirette, director of sales/marketing as well as the person in charge of all event planning at the attraction. “There’s no other wheel like it. Other popular ones are either in an amusement park or outside of the city.”
Meeting planners can opt to buy attendees the VIP flight, which makes the ride that much more important. It gives visitors the power of skipping the line and includes a double flight in a VIP gondola equipped with a glass floor and leather seats.
At the foot of the Ferris wheel, event space is available for planners to coordinate a cocktail reception or luncheon in the property’s two event spaces. The VIP tent can host groups up to 60 pax, while the block party area can host up to 100. Catering is provided by locally based Proof of the Pudding, which creates dishes using seasonal, local ingredients. An added value: Rental costs include one ride per attendee.
“Nothing’s been done like this in Atlanta. We’re not a ballroom. We’re not a club. We’re a venue with a huge attraction attached to it,” Lirette says. “Plus, you get to see the skyline and see what Atlanta’s really about from a different perspective.”
That perspective includes seeing surrounding attractions such as the World of Coca-Cola and the Olympic rings in Centennial Olympic Park, as well as Kennesaw Mountain in the distance.