While most ferry riders enjoy a sea-level perspective of the Bay, an aerial view is always welcome.
Could a new “Monuments of Golden Gate Park” be in the making?
SkyStar Wheel, the 150-ft. tall Observation Wheel located in the Music Concourse of Golden Gate Park, will reopen Thursday, March 4 at noon, SkyStar and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced.
News of the reopening follows health officials placing San Francisco into the less restrictive red tier, allowing for a return of some public outdoor and indoor activities.
With this news, the popular SkyStar Wheel will resume offering soaring rides high above the iconic San Francisco skyline after a 95-day hiatus due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Special to today’s announcement will be SkyStar and SF Rec and Park’s offer to all San Francisco public school graduating seniors to take a free ride on the Wheel this summer beginning June 2 through Sept. 6; students will need to show their SFUSD identification card at the on-site ticket booth for the free ride.
SkyView Managing Partner Todd Schneider said, “We welcome today’s positive news that San Francisco will be moving into the red tier this week and in response, we’re very pleased to announce SkyStar Observation Wheel will officially reopen for rides beginning Thursday, March 4. We look forward to reconnecting with Bay Area families and individuals by offering a wonderful, safe and memorable aerial experience while adhering to public health protocols for wearing masks, social distancing and more.”
“The pandemic has been especially hard on kids who are missing out on celebrating their milestones and achievements the way they’ve envisioned,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “The SkyStar Wheel allows them to rise above the fray and find inspiration in the exhilarating view.”
With this reopening, SkyStar is especially pleased to continue to provide the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department with 500 free tickets each month for families enrolled in the City’s Community which provide in-person support for distance learning for San Francisco’s highest needs children and youth.
Standing 15 stories, the state-of-the-art SkyStar Observation Wheel features 36 enclosed well-ventilated gondolas, boasting unparalleled views from downtown San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean. Health and safety modifications to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be maintained including thorough sanitizing of all gondolas between each use; only family and friends will share a gondola; social distancing in queues; onsite handwashing; and temperature testing for staff and riders.
The SkyStar Wheel was installed in March 2020 as part of Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary celebration beginning April 4, but was delayed in opening due to the coronavirus pandemic and the City’s initial shelter-in-place mandate. More than 200 days later, the Wheel opened Oct. 21 giving more than 65,000 rides over 39 days before having to cease operations on November 29 as the city moved into the highly restricted purple tier. As a result, the Wheel will have been shuttered for an additional 95 days prior to the March 4 reopening.
The Observation Wheel is located in the Music Concourse at Bowl Drive, the outdoor plaza near the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Japanese Tea Garden. Public parking is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the adjacent Music Concourse Garage, with entrance on the Fulton Street side.
SkyStar tickets are now available for purchase and may be reserved by ordering online at skystarwheel.com.
Tickets are $18 and $12 for seniors (65+) and children (12 and under). Operational hours are Monday through Friday, 12 Noon to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.