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Wheeler Ferris Wheel open for business

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OKLAHOMA CITY - "We drove by here yesterday, hoping it was open, but they told us it opened today at 11 o'clock, and we thought we'd try to come out here be the first ones," said Eddie Rivera.

A big day for the kiddos who are getting a new ride with a great view.

"The big city," said Riley Rivera.

"She calls downtown the big city," Eddie said.

The Wheeler Ferris Wheel just opened up today.

100 feet above the Oklahoma river, a new site for so many but, for some, it brings back old memories.

"Rode it out in Santa Monica years ago," said Ed Kostiuk.

Kostiuk spent 27 years in the military.

In the early 70s, he and three buddies took a spin on the Santa Monica Ferris wheel.

"Literally, when you get to the top, we rode it at night, and you could hear the waves in the Pacific Ocean, and you can look out and see ships way out in the distance and stuff. You think about it now, you can build city Oklahoma river. Who would've thought Oklahoma?" Kostiuk said.

When he saw the ride going up just south of downtown Oklahoma City, he had to check into it.

"Came home one day, and I was like 'Hey, they're building a Ferris wheel downtown,' and I kinda Googled it, and I was like 'Seriously, they're coming from Santa Monica?'" Kostiuk said.

His friends he took that ride with years ago have since passed away, so today's ride is a tribute to them.

"I said 'I'm just going to sit out here for five hours and be the first in line, be the first person to buy the ticket, I hope,'" Kostiuk said.

And, he was.

A ticket to ride down memory lane.

"There's a lot of good memories but, at the same time, it's sad that we lost three buddies," Kostiuk said.

And, just like Kostiuk, the Ferris wheel marks a time to celebrate life's little adventures.

"Fourth of July is a great day to celebrate family, and we hope that's what will do to be a place where families can get together and celebrate, celebrate with neighbors and celebrate with the city," said Blair Humphreys with the Wheeler District.