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Riding the High Roller in Las Vegas

Some attractions lift you up, sending you hundreds of feet in the air, just to bring you back down at a high rate of speed. Although that can be extremely fun, there is one attraction (or maybe two) that I have been able to board that brings a sense of wonder, excitement and beauty. That would be the High Roller in Las Vegas, Nevada.

There are many thrill rides in Central Florida and throughout the country that I have experienced. From the tallest, the fastest, upside down and backwards or tumbling face down towards the ground, they all have a special way of making you feel either invigorated or terrified. However, the High Roller, located at the Linq Resort, gives you a sense of thrill as you climb, oh so slowly, high above the Las Vegas Strip, but also one of amazement as you look out for miles across the flashing lights, glittering buildings and towards the mountains.

The High Roller is a 550-foot tall (167.6 m), 520-foot (158.5 m) diameter giant Ferris wheel on the Las Vegas Strip. Owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, it opened to the public on March 31, 2014 and is currently the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. It is 9 ft (2.7 m) taller than its predecessor, the 541-foot (165 m) Singapore Flyer, which had held the record since 2008. The wheel rotates on a pair of custom-designed spherical roller bearings, each weighing approximately 19,400 lb (8,800 kg). Needless to say, when I thought of this wheel being supported by just two bearings, it sort of gave me the heebie jeebies, regardless of how much they weighed.

The passenger cabins (or capsules) are mounted on the wheel’s outboard rim and are individually rotated by electric motors to smoothly maintain a horizontal cabin floor throughout each full rotation. I can tell you that this is a very smooth ride and you really cannot feel the “rotation” or change of direction while the cabin is going up or coming down. The cabin is very large, air conditioned and has seating (just in case it gets a little overwhelming) and has huge windows all around so that you can catch every angle of the beautiful landscape. It also has eight flat-screen TVs bringing you announcements, reminders and letting you know information about the High Roller while you are aboard.

At night the wheel is illuminated by a 2,000-LED system which can display a single solid color, differently colored sections, multiple colors moving around the rim, and custom displays for special events and holidays. It truly is a beautiful attraction and I truly recommend to ride it twice if you can, once during the day to get all of the sights and long range views and at night, taking in the sparkle, glitter and glow of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Ain Dubai in the United Arab Emirates will be taller than High Roller if completed as proposed sometime in 2021. Maybe, someday, we will be taking a ride on that one as well!


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