SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Round and round it will go, but where it finally ends up no one knows.
The new owner of the Santa Monica Pier's Ferris wheel said he plans to resurrect the attraction in Oklahoma City, though he's not sure exactly where. Grant Humphreys plunked down $132,400 for the ride in a 10-day eBay auction, beating out five others in a bidding war that went back and forth through 35 offers.
"The views from the top are fantastic," Humphreys said, after riding the attraction Sunday with his family.
Humphreys is chief executive officer of Humphreys Real Estate Investments of Oklahoma City, which specializes in building "walkable communities."
"When we saw this, we thought what an amazing, iconic, nostalgic experience," Humphreys said. He expects to find a good home for it in one of the communities he's developing.
The wheel, with its 20 gondolas and 5,392 light bulbs, has provided some 3 million ocean-view rides since it was installed in 1996. Ten years ago it was modified to become what was said to be the world's first solar-powered Ferris wheel.
Pacific Park is disposing of it to make way for a newer, $1.5 million model that it hopes to have installed by May 22.
Workers begin disassembling it for shipment to Oklahoma on Monday.
The amusement park plans to donate half of the winning bid to Special Olympics Southern California and $1 for each person who rode the wheel for the last time on Sunday to the Los Angeles chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.