Whether you’re a VIP or not, you’ll feel pretty special when you hop aboard SkyView Atlanta, otherwise known as the Big Ferris Wheel beside Centennial Olympic Park downtown.

The experience is nothing like the old-school Ferris wheels of carnival days, though. The safe and secure gondolas are climate controlled – a huge selling point in Atlanta, where August heat can get the best of anyone. Seating is private for each party, so you will never be asked to ride with another couple or family.

As soon as your gondola starts to climb toward the sky, you’re impressed with how smooth the ride is and delighted by your views of Kennesaw Mountain and the skyline. My kids and I were lucky enough to be given the VIP treatment on this visit, but I’d previously been on a “regular” gondola and both experiences are fantastic. The VIP experience, though, is worth the extra price.

After checking through security, we were taken to the VIP and party area by SkyView General Manager Michael Montgomery. SkyView has a unique location for birthday parties and events that will win you cool points! After we relaxed in the VIP/event area, we were taken through the back entrance to the VIP gondola.

From my children’s perspective – they’re ages 6 and 3 – they loved the ride and they changed seats several times to see in all directions as we soared up. In the VIP gondola, we had leather seats and a see-through floor and they loved that, too. My youngest son pointed out cool things in the city, especially the Rings fountain in Centennial Park. As a parent, it was great to have this family experience – it gave my kids something to talk about for days!

Insider Tips: Parking is two blocks away at 100 Luckie St.; present your parking stub at the SkyView ticket window and parking is discounted to $5. Restrooms and snacks on site. Stroller parking near the base of the ride. Umbrella-shaded seating areas allow people to watch the ride. Lines can be longest on weekend evenings; weekday afternoons before 5 p.m. are best to avoid lines.
– Kim Curnutt

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