Visitors to Las Vegas now have a new way to take in the famous Las Vegas Strip with the official opening of the world's tallest observation wheel on Monday. Standing 550 feet (167.6 m) tall, the aptly named High Roller is 9 ft (2.7 m) taller than the previous record holder, the 541-ft (164.8 m) tall Singapore Flyer.

The High Roller is the centerpiece of The LINQ, a new outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment district constructed for Caesars Entertainment by Arup Engineering. Located on Las Vegas Boulevard across from Caesars Palace, the wheel features 28 spherical, glass-enclosed cabins providing 360-degree views.

Each cabin weighs 44,000 lb (19,958 kg) and holds up to 40 people, giving the High Roller a maximum capacity of 1,120. The wheel itself has a diameter of 520 ft (158.5 m) and would likely look out of place on the glittering Vegas Strip if it wasn't covered in a 2,000 LED lighting system that puts on a light show from dusk till dawn.

Unlike the Ferris wheels you'll find at your local fair that hang the passenger cabins on the rim so that they stay upright thanks to gravity, the High Roller's cabins are mounted externally on the rim of the wheel and rely on motors to keep the capsules, and their occupants, the right way up.

There are currently only three other observation wheels with motorized cabins in the world: the aforementioned Singapore Flyer; the 443-ft (135 m) tall London Eye; and the 394-ft (120 m) tall Melbourne Star in Australia.

However, Vegas may not hold onto its title as the home of the world's tallest observation wheel for long with plans to construct the 625-ft (190.5 m) tall New York Wheel at Staten Island's Harbor Commons that is scheduled to open in 2016.

The High Roller takes 30 minutes to complete a rotation, with the price for a 30-minute ride starting at US$24.95 during the daytime, increasing up to $59.95 for an Express Pass that lets you skip the line at any time.

Source: The LINQ

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