PHOTOS: After long wait, huge Ferris wheel debuts for Golden Gate Park's birthday

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The wait is finally over.

The SkyStar Observation Wheel offers dramatic views of the city, the bay, the Pacific Ocean and beyond. The huge Ferris wheel towers between the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.

The opening day line stretches well beyond the SkyStar Observation Wheel.
The opening day line stretches well beyond the SkyStar Observation Wheel. Photo credit Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio

The wheel has been sitting in the park unused since the city’s shelter-in-place order went into effect and finally made its debut to a long line of eager riders Wednesday. Todd Schneider is managing partner with SkyStar Wheel, the company that owns it.

"The SkyStar observation wheel is the largest movable modern Ferris wheel in the world," Schneider told KCBS Radio.

The SkyStar Observation Wheel was made in Holland. It has six-passenger gondolas, going to a height of 15 stories during a 12-minute ride.
The SkyStar Observation Wheel was made in Holland. It has six-passenger gondolas, going to a height of 15 stories during a 12-minute ride. Photo credit James Watkins

The Holland-made wheel is 150 feet tall and has 36 six-passenger, climate-controlled gondolas that operators are sanitizing after each ride. Those wanting to ride the Ferris wheel will see on-site handwashing stations, receive temperature checks and be required to wear masks.

It's reportedly the first Ferris wheel in Golden Gate Park since the World's Fair of 1894, when a 120-foot wheel was brought in.

There were already hundreds of people who had made online reservations waiting to board the SkyStar. Susie Tavana brought her three kids.

"San Francisco is my favorite place in the entire world and I want to support awesome, cool things coming into the city," she said.

Her son felt the same way.

"We’re gonna fly today," he exclaimed. "I can’t wait!"

The SkyStar Observation Wheel lights up the night at Golden Gate Park.
The SkyStar Observation Wheel lights up the night at Golden Gate Park. Photo credit James Watkins

Reservations are available through the end of December.