Navy Pier's centennial celebration gets rolling with a state-of-the-art new Ferris wheel.
Bigger is better: Designed by Netherlands-based firm Dutch Wheels, Navy Pier’s new Ferris wheel stands 50 feet taller and holds 180 more passengers than its predecessor.
Now that’s what we call a 100th birthday present: Nearly 200 feet high, weighing 992,000 pounds, and able to hold 420 passengers in 42 gondolas, Navy Pier’s brand-new Ferris wheel is making its debut just in time for the city’s most popular attraction to celebrate the big 1-0-0. And in keeping with our status as the Ferris wheel’s birthplace (George Ferris famously built the first for Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition), the Pier’s new ride is a doozy—a climate-controlled, year-round, 21st-century wonder designed by international masters Dutch Wheels and featuring an entertainment system with video screens that spout information about the park and surrounding areas during the ride.
“There are so many cool features,” says Navy Pier CEO Marilynn Gardner of the new attraction. “Even if you’re not interested in riding, it will be a beautiful thing to watch—[it’s] a show in and of itself.” The same could be said of this summer at the Pier, as the Ferris wheel’s opening kicks off a season of celebrations including biweekly fireworks, a July 15 birthday party, and the ever-popular Tall Ships Chicago fest July 27-31. “Like the Mayor likes to say,” adds Gardner, “[Navy Pier] is the city’s front porch… and we’re positioning ourselves for the next one hundred years.” 600 E. Grand Ave., 800-595-PIER