Friday, January 10, 2014

The Island and The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

If you have visited Pigeon Forge, Tennessee within the last year or so, you might have noticed something new.  An entertainment complex opened on June 21, 2013 and is continuing to develop in phases, with eateries, arcades, shops and other attractions.

The development is called The Island. It is situated between the Parkway and Teaster Lane on Island Drive in Pigeon Forge. Locating it, however, is not a problem. Just look for "The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel." It certainly is not difficult to spot, as it towers some 200 feet(20 stories)high and it is covered with colorful LED lights!

Granted, it is not the largest permanent observation wheel(a term that seems to be preferred by wheel designers and developers over ferris wheel) in the world. No doubt, some of you may have seen larger ones, such as the London Eye in London, England. There is an enormous one called the Singapore Flyer, which is located in Singapore in Asia. The concept seems to be growing in popularity and more seem to be being constructed as this is being written. Nonetheless, it is the tallest wheel that I, personally, have had the experience of seeing for myself.

It is an impressive structure. As a matter of fact, it is so fascinating to me that I have made it the main topic of this post, which is an account of our first visit to The Island and the wheel. Here is how it went:

It is a cloudy late afternoon this past October when we arrive. We cross over this bridge to get to The Island.

Bridge Leading to The Island in Pigeon Forge
It is impossible to miss The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel from the moment we set foot into The Island Complex. This photo is taken quite a distance from the wheel. According to FAQs on The Island's website,, there are 45 gondolas on the wheel.

Here is a close up shot. This better illustrates the size of these gondolas which are said to accommodate up to 8(eight) passengers per unit. Can you imagine that some 360 passengers could ride at once?

Close Up of Gondolas on The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
Another close up of the gondolas:
Another View of the Gondolas
Another view of the wheel taken in the late afternoon. We begin to get some idea of how the lights change color on the structure, while some daylight still remains.
Light Appear Blue in This Photo
The lights are turning to a red hue:

Lights Turning to Red on the Wheel
Here we have green and bright yellow:
Lights to Green and Yellow
Now a mix of pink, yellow and white:
Pink, Yellow and White Lights on the Wheel
Dusk has arrived and the lights are beginning to appear more vivid. If you will, try for a moment to envision yourself standing at the very bottom and quite close to the wheel, head tilted back and looking straight up while the lights appear to be dancing. Meanwhile, the wheel is turning. Then, perhaps you will begin to get some idea the case of dizziness or vertigo I am experiencing while attempting to capture the colors as they dance. Here we have white, turning to pink:

Wheel in White Lights
And here dressed in green:
Wheel in Green Lights
Then, yellow, white, blue and red: 
Lights of Yellow, White, Blue and Red

Night has fallen and the dance starts on a cool and sultry blue note: 

On this chilly night on The Island, things start heating up:
And, then, culminate with this mesmerizing ensemble of lights dancing in a glorious blaze of spectacular colors.

Hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog and checking out The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel! I am sorry to say that I could not convince my husband to ride with me and I was not quite brave enough to go it alone. Maybe, next time, as long as I don't get dizzy, like at the bottom! We still had a great time touring The Island with its great wheel and all the other fun things.

If you like observation(dare I say ferris?) wheels, shopping and fun day and night time entertainment and, if you happen to be in the area of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, The Island has a lot to offer! If you care to find out more about it, you might want to try their Facebook link:


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