A Dine-In Ferris Wheel May Be Heading Into San Diego's Balboa Park

October 12, 2020

San Diego's most prolific hospitality group has submitted plans with the city to install an upscale, dine-in Ferris wheel within Balboa Park.

The Cohn Restaurant Group, which operates more than 20 eateries around San Diego County, has submitted a proposal to the Balboa Park Committee to install a temporary Ferris wheel within Balboa Park. Sited within the Plaza de Panama between the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum, the Balboa Park Star would feature 36 enclosed gondolas that each can fit up to 8 passengers. Up to 288 passengers would be elevated nearly 150 feet in the air at the cost of $12-15 per rider. The Cohn Group hopes the installation would stay for 3-6 months and billed the idea as a safe dining option during the continued pandemic. Installation and removal of the wheel would take about 2 weeks each.

"Like the Ferris Wheel that anchored the Isthmus Entertainment District of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Balboa Park Star will re-energize the heart of Balboa Park with a spirit of excitement and discovery," reads the formal Balboa Park Star proposal. "Inspired by the Cohn Restaurant Group’s imaginative, award-winning cuisine, the Balboa Park Star will set the stage for unforgettable Sky Dining experiences, while taking dining in San Diego to new heights."

The R50 model Ferris wheel planned for the park would be operated by Sky Views of America, which is known locally for operating the San Diego County Fair's Grand Wheel. VIP gondolas would provide a "luxury dining experience", with meals being prepared at Cohn Restaurant Group's nearby Prado Restaurant. The wheel would also offer state-of-the-art light show capabilities and each gondola would be equipped with wireless communication technology and sound systems.