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6 Things To Know About Navy Pier's New Ferris Wheel, Opening Friday

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on May 25, 2016 8:40PM

Photo courtesy of Navy Pier

Navy Pier's new, 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel opens to the public on Friday at noon, and we have some updates on what you can expect from the Centennial Wheel. (It's so named because it's part of a larger remodel, or "reimagin[ing]," of the to the Pier for its 100th anniversary, a project called the Centennial Vision.)

1. The rides are more epic.

The new wheel is 50 feet taller than its predecessor (whose new home is in Branson, MO). Its rides also last longer—for 13 to 15 minutes, a Navy Pier spokesperson told Chicagoist. A ride on the old Ferris wheel took seven minutes, according to the Tribune. Rides on the new wheel cover more terrain, too: three rotations, a Navy Pier spokesperson said. Riders only got one rotation on the previous wheel, the Tribune reported.

2. It's more expensive to ride.

A ticket for one adult will be $15 now, compared to eight dollars on the previous wheel, according to a Navy Pier spokesperson. Visitors can also buy a $35 day pass for unlimited rides on the wheel and assorted other Pier rides.

3. It's probably more expensive to ride because it cost $26.5 million.

Yep. It cost $26.5 million. Don't worry, though—it wasn't built with taxpayer money. (The Tribune reports it was financed by a private loan to Navy Pier.)

4. It's from the same company that built Navy Pier's first-ever wheel.

The new model—titled, dully, the DW60—comes from Dutch Wheels, the same Netherlands company that built the Pier's original wheel.

5. It has higher-tech gondolas.

This Ferris wheel has swanky, high-tech gondolas—42 of them, to be exact, each of which can hold up to ten passengers, according to Navy Pier's spokesperson. The gondolas have both air conditioning and heat, and they're equipped with TVs (though those TVs will only play Navy Pier promotional materials).

6. It even has a higher-tech middle part.

The giant black circle at the center of the wheel is also a "video screen" and "digital board," a Navy Pier spokesperson told Chicagoist. The screen will show "special light shows, Navy Pier’s logo at times, historical images of the Pier over the past 100 years [and] tributes on special occasions and holidays. (Editor's note: It is so ugly.)

You can pre-purchase tickets to ride the Centennial Wheel here.