Capital Wheel to Open May 23 at National Harbor

The newest addition to the National Harbor skyline is set to debut over Memorial Day weekend.

The 180-foot Capital Wheel will get rolling Friday, May 23, and will be open daily year-round. As the tallest observation wheel east of the Mississippi River, it will offer riders a bird's eye view of the Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, Potomac River, Alexandria and Prince George's County, Maryland.

The wheel consists of 42 heated and air-conditioned gondolas that seat up to eight people.

General admission tickets will set you back $15 for adults and $11.25 for kids ages 3-11. Children under age 2 are admitted free with a paying adult.

Those looking to live it up can opt for a trip in a VIP gondola, which features leather bucket seats, a glass floor, and a retracting monitor/DVD player. The gondola seats up to four; tickets are $50 each.

You can enter for a chance to win a family four-pack of tickets for the Capital Wheel on opening day. The prize package also includes four tickets to the exclusive grand opening and lighting ceremony, and a $250 gift card for dining and entertainment at National Harbor.

Each trip lasts about 12-15 minutes, and pace is brisk, about 1.5 rotations per minute. Check the website for hours.

The announcement of the wheel's official opening date came Monday, the same day the Washington Monument reopened to visitors after a nearly three-year hiatus while crews assessed and repaired damage from the 2011 earthquake that rocked the region.

On Twitter, @capitalwheel made several friendly overtures to its fellow sightseeing destination:

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