Waterfront Park is getting a giant Ferris wheel. | Courtesy of Waterfront Development Corp.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane — you’ll be able to see just about anything coming through Louisville when Waterfront Park gets a giant 137-foot Ferris wheel-like structure called SkyStar Observation starting Thursday, March 29.

At a news conference held Thursday afternoon on the soggy grounds of the Great Lawn, Waterfront Development Corporation president David Karem shared the news with media and a handful of city officials. Joining Karem were Todd Schneider of SkyView Atlanta, Mike Berry of the Kentucky Derby Festival and Stacy Owen of WFPK.

Each of the 36 units will be air conditioned. | Courtesy of SkyStar

“As we begin to recover from the recent flood, this is some good news for the city and the Waterfront,” he said.

The SkyStar will have 36 climate-controlled compartments that can hold up to six people each. There will be snacks and even drinks — including alcoholic beverages — available, and each “ride” will take about 12 minutes make four rotations.

The wheel also will feature a state-of-the-art LED light show each night using more than a million lights. It’ll operate every day of the week from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. starting March 29 and continuing through May 6, just after Derby. It’ll be used during Thunder Over Louisville in April and in conjunction with the Derby Festival’s Chow Wagon festivities and the first few WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays.

SkyStar is one of the tallest traveling wheels in the U.S. and also is the most agile observation wheel in the world.

“Spring is a busy season for tourism in Louisville, including the build-up to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Derby Festival, so this is an excellent time to enhance our unique offerings with an additional attraction,” said Karen Williams, president and CEO of the Louisville CVB, in a news release.

Admission to the SkyStar will be $14 for adults and $11 for kids 12 and younger, with discounts offered to students, seniors and veterans.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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