Giant Wheel (Six Flags Darien Lake)

Giant Wheel
Six Flags Darien Lake
Location Darien Center, New York, USA
Status Defunct
Operated 1983 to 2019
Height restriction 54 inches unaccompanied
Knoxville International Energy Exposition
Location Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Operated May 1, 1982 to October 31, 1982
Manufacturer Vekoma
Product Ferris Wheel
Capacity 40x 6-passenger gondolas
Height 165 feet

Giant Wheel was a Ferris Wheel built by Dutch manufacturer Vekoma previously located at Six Flags Darien Lake in Darien Center, New York, USA. The Giant Wheel was built for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville Tennessee, at which time it was the largest Ferris Wheel in the world.[1]

Darien Lake purchased the wheel in December 1982 for $1.5 million.[2]


On July 20, 2019 workers engaged an emergency stop of the Giant Wheel at 6:30pm due to a hydraulic line leak on a high pressure line that damaged one of the main hydraulic pumps for the ride. This resulted in riders being stuck on the ride for nearly two hours while a new line and emergency pump were installed to be able to remove the riders.[1]

Unexpected Closure

After being closed for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, guests returned to Six Flags Darien Lake in May of 2021 to discover all gondolas had been removed from the Giant Wheel and its ride sign was missing. A few days later, a sign from the park greeted visitors at the entrance to the wheel that stated:

"After 38 great years, The Giant Wheel has retired and will not re-open for our 2021 season. We celebrate the history and tradition of this icon and thank you for your patience while we evaluate alternatives for the future."

As of May 25, 2021, the ride remained standing but not operating with all gondolas and ride signage removed.[3][4]

Giant Wheel was demolished in April 2022.[5][6] After its removal, some gondolas were re-purposed as Halloween props.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Darien Lake Ferris Wheel Remains Closed After Stranding Riders". Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, NY). July 24, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  2. "$1.5 million for Ferris Wheel". Democrat and Chronicle. 1982-12-15. p. 17. Retrieved 2024-01-14.
  3. Hart, Lance (May 23, 2021). "Park News - Six Flags Darien Lake". Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  4. Owen, Chris (May 23, 2021). "Say Goodbye to the Giant Wheel at Six Flags Darien Lake". WYRK. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  5. Greenwood, Marcia. "'I loved that thing.' Iconic Darien Lake ride being dismantled and removed". Democrat and Chronicle (in English). Retrieved 2024-01-14.
  6. Wilcox, Jay (2022-04-10). "Hey @news4buffalo @WGRZ @WKBW why don't you go ask SixFlags Darien Lake if they will be replacing the historic Worlds Fair Giant Wheel with a new one???? They are torching this ride apart this weekend as I type this. 😢 #saddays #WNYHISTORY #SixFlags". Twitter. Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  7. "The Giant Wheel lives on... as FF props". Theme Park Review. Haymaker. 2022-09-17. Retrieved 2023-01-03.

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