Navy Pier Ferris Wheel to Close to Make Way for New, Taller One

If you want to ride Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel before it closes, act fast.

The attraction will soon be saying "FerrWell." Anybody who visits the Ferris wheel from Saturday Sept. 26 to Sunday, Sept. 27 from 10 p.m. to 9:45 a.m. will be able to ride for free. The final ride will be offered just before 8 p.m.

Navy Pier is due to get a taller Ferris wheel that will be 196 feet tall and is expected to debut in 2016, according to the mayor’s office.

"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," Emanuel said in a statement. "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 be the first of its kind in the U.S., with similar wheels currently being used in Hong Kong and Baku, Azerbaijan. It will feature two-sided cars, a structure that can withstand winds of 115 miles per hour, and safety glass capable of weathering intense storms, officials said. New gondolas can also hold up to 10 people-- the current wheel holds six—and will include padded seats, TV screens and speakers.

"One of our goals was to be sure the new wheel would provide our guests with a significantly enhanced year-round experience," Marilynn K. Gardner, President and CEO, Navy Pier, Inc., said in a statement. "The new wheel will deliver a smoother and more luxurious ride – increasing ride time from seven minutes to twelve minutes, and circling three times, not just once as the current wheel does."

Ferris wheel operations will be closed for construction during the off-season months beginning in late September and will reopen in the summer of 2016, in time for the wheel’s 2016 Centennial.

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