SkyStar is not recommended for those afraid of heights or claustrophobic. | Photo by Sara Havens

I wasn’t nervous at all as I waited for the 137-foot spinning monolith to stop and let me on. After all, my feet were planted firmly on solid ground.

But as soon as those compartment doors shut and it began to ascend, I realized the ride wasn’t as stable as I had anticipated. And by the time it reached the pinnacle and stopped, I was shaking, quaking and clutching the handle so hard, my hand began to cramp.

If you’re a wimp like me, you’re going to need this handle. | Photo by Sara Havens

In between Lamaze-style breaths, I tried to take photos and document the experience of Louisville’s first SkyStar wheel, which now runs every day from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. through May 6 at Waterfront Park near the Big Four Bridge.

Each compartment can hold up to six people, and the ride takes about 12 minutes as you make your way around several times.

I assumed the ride would be pretty steady because the compartments were so large. But as I sat there at the very top, trying not to look down, I could feel my car slightly sway with the wind.

And when I stood up to get better photos, it definitely moved back and forth, causing me to jump back on the seat and once again grip the handle.

Although it was a gray, overcast afternoon, the views of the skyline, the bridges and the river were incredible — once I settled down enough to notice my surroundings. I even managed to Snapchat the experience.


SkyStar is one of the tallest traveling wheels in the U.S., and it also is the most agile observation wheel in the world. Admission is $14 for adults and $11 for children 12 and younger. There are discounts available for students, seniors and veterans.

See more shaky pictures of my ride below.