Factory tours and corporate museums are popular with tourists for a variety of reasons: they are educational and interesting, each is unique, and typically they are free.
The Wall Street Journal reports that many companies are eager to take advantage of what amounts to a great and inexpensive marketing opportunity.
“Corporate museums aren’t a new idea, and hundreds have popped up throughout the world as marketing tools thinly disguised as tourist attractions. Corporate museums once weren’t much flashier than a dusty set of exhibits packed into a few rooms at headquarters and visited by just a handful of bored employees or clients. World of Coca-Cola shows how companies are becoming increasingly aggressive at using museums and interactive technology to promote their corporate namesakes. From the theater to a 29%-foot-high contour bottle encased in a glass tower to more than 1,000 pieces of memorabilia, elaborately orchestrated schmaltz pervades the World of Coca-Cola.”
The Wall Street Journal
The following links to a list of factory tours and corporate museums: www.rkma.com/factorytours.pdf.
A directory of over 500 factory tours is available online at www.factorytoursusa.com.
Seven large Ferris wheels have opened at U.S. tourist destinations since 2011, as follows:
Factory Tours & Corporate Visitor Centers in USA Photo Gallery
Capital Wheel (National Harbor, MD)
• The 175-foot Capital Wheel, a Ferris wheel at National Harbor, Maryland, opened in May 2014. Capital Wheel sits on a 770-foot pier and has 1.6 million LED lights.
Great Smoky Mountain Wheel (Pigeon Forge, TN)
• Located at The Island in Pigeon Forge, the 200-foot Great Smoky Mountain Wheel (http://islandinpigeonforge.com/great-smoky-mountain-wheel/) opened in 2013. It has 42 glass gondolas, each seating up to eight people (six adults).
High Roller (Las Vegas, NV; www.caesars.com/thelinq/high-roller.html)
• High Roller, a giant Ferris wheel at Caesar’s Palace Casino and Hotel, opened in March 2014. The 550-foot tall Ferris wheel is the world’s tallest observation wheel. The High Roller has 28 spherical passenger cabins which can accommodate up to 40 passengers each.
Orlando Eye (Orlando, FL)
• The 400-foot Orlando Eye opened in April 2015 and is the second tallest Ferris wheel in the United States and 5th highest in the world. Since July 2016, it has been known as Coca-Cola Orlando Eye.
Seattle Great Wheel (Seattle, WA; http://seattleg reatwheel.com)
• Seattle Great Wheel opened at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay in June 2012. At 175 feet, it was the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast when it opened. It has 42 gondolas, each able to carry up to eight passengers.
SkyView Atlanta (Atlanta, GA; www.skyviewatlanta.com)
• The 200-foot tall SkyView Atlanta opened in Centennial Olympic Park in July 2013. The wheel has 42 climate-controlled gondolas, each carrying up to six people.
SkyWheel Myrtle Beach (Myrtle Beach, SC; www.myrtlebeachskywheel.com)
• The 187-foot-tall SkyWheel Myrtle Beach opened on the Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade in May 2011 at a cost of $12 million. SkyWheel has 42 glass-enclosed gondolas, each with seating for six passengers. Officialbestof.com named SkyWheel “Best Scenic Experience in South Carolina.”
The following are other large Ferris wheels in the United States:
• Mickey’s Fun Wheel, a 160-foot replica of Wonder Wheel, opened at Disney California Adventure Park in 2009.
• The 150-foot Navy Pier Ferris Wheel (www.navypier.com) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in downtown Chicago. The Ferris Wheel, which opened in 1995, has 40 gondolas, each seating up to six passengers.
• Colossus opened in 1984 at Six Flags St. Louis; it is 180-feet tall.
• The 156-foot Giant Wheel opened at Morey’s Piers (Wildwood, NJ) in 1985.
• The 136-foot Giant Wheel opened at Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH) in 1972.
• Wonder Wheel (www.wonderwheel.com) at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, in the Coney Island (Brooklyn, NY), opened in 1927; it is 150-feet tall.
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