The wheel would be designed to be COVID safe and each open-air pod reserved ahead of time would allow up to eight members of the same party to ride together.
SAN DIEGO — In 1915, San Diego hosted the Panama-California Exhibition in Balboa Park. The fair brought hundreds of thousands of people to San Diego and cemented Balboa Park as the jewel in the heart of the city. Among the attractions in the park was a Ferris wheel.
Over 100 years later, Balboa Park still sees millions of visitors every year. But some of the attractions in the park, like the Timken Museum and the Fleet Science Center, remain closed due to COVID-19.
“It would bring people into the park which is the ultimate goal,” said Lesley Cohn of the Cohn Restaurant Group.
The investment group’s idea to increase attendance and bring excitement back into the park is a temporary 140-foot observation wheel. The group takes inspiration from other cities with these wheels, like Paris, Dublin, and Antwerp. The wheel would be designed to be COVID safe and each open-air pod reserved ahead of time would allow up to eight members of the same party to ride together.
“We don’t know when the museums will be opened. We don’t know what the foot traffic is going to look like,” said Cohn. “We just figured that this was an opportunity to enhance a visitor experience in the park”
Cohn said there is lots of enthusiasm for the park but when News 8 took the idea to people in Balboa Park interest was mixed.
“It’s really kind of an eyesore. I don’t think it belongs with the park. It’s got a certain vibe – the architecture” said David Morton
“I think a permanent structure could ruin the integrity of this artsy space but temporarily it would be really fun,” said another parkgoer named Andy.