If you haven’t yet taken a ride on Navy Pier’s iconic Ferris wheel, act quickly.
The symbolic ride is set to close for good on September 27th, this coming weekend. As a farewell gift, the pier is offering free rides from 10 pm to 10 am Sept. 26-27, followed by a massive fireworks show to commemorate its tenure. The closing will also include “Last Ride, First Bite,” a food tasting event featuring free bites from restaurants on the Pier from 1-4pm both Saturday and Sunday. Our advice: don’t miss out on the “Wheel Miss You” deep dish from Giordano’s.
While it’s always sad to see the end of an era, the Pier will unveil a brand new, 196-foot-tall wheel in 2016, and they’ll begin construction on the larger structure this fall. The new wheel is unlike any other in the U.S., as it features two-sided cars, TV screens, and speakers. Its new padded seats will hold up to 10 people, up from the current maximum of six. With safety glass capable of enduring severe storms, the structure will be able to withstand winds of up to 115 mph. New ride times will increase from seven to twelve minutes, circling three times instead of just once.
“The redevelopment of Navy Pier is a vital to our ongoing efforts to attract 55 million visitors annually to the City of Chicago by 2020, creating new jobs and injecting millions of dollars into our local economy,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I commend Navy Pier on the purchase of this new Ferris wheel, as it will bring new energy to this one of a kind Chicago attraction.”
The new wheel will reopen in the summer of 2016 for the wheel’s centennial celebration. In the meantime, get your family over to Navy Pier this weekend for one last crack at the old one.
Interested in Navy Pier’s upcoming transformation? Check out 7 Standout Features from the Navy Pier Centennial Vision.
Photo Credit: Navy Pier