The landmark sky towers at the Marriott's GREAT AMERICA parks are Intamin Gyro towers. Passengers board a cabin at ground level. The cabin is lifted up the tower by cables and a counterweight system. As the cabin ascends and descends, it rotates, affording passengers a panoramic view of the park and the surrounding area. The Gurnee tower is approximately 300 feet tall. Because of its proximity to the San Josť airport's runway, the Santa Clara tower was limited to a height of approximately 200 feet. The shorter height and the lack of the tall flagpole atop the tower are key distinguishing features of the Santa Clara tower.
The Gurnee tower opened in 1977 as the Sky Trek Tower. The Santa Clara tower opened in 1979. I believe it opened as simply the Sky Tower. On clear days, the Chicago skyline is visible from the Gurnee tower. The Santa Clara tower is known as the tallest observation tower in Northern California.
- Carousel Plaza
- 1977 (Gurnee), 1979 (Santa Clara)