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Navy Pier's Ferris wheel gets a new name and major upgrades

Written by
Sara Freund

Navy Pier is getting a much-needed facelift this year to celebrate its 100th anniversary. That includes upgrades to the newly named Centennial Wheel, which will open at noon on Friday, May 27.

The nearly 200-foot wheel is 50 feet taller than the previous wheel and can pack up to 180 passengers, who will ride in updated temperature-controlled gondola lifts. The Centennial Wheel will also illuminate the skyline with nightly light shows.

Then there are the additions of Original Rainbow Cone and Snow Dragon Shavery to the pier, plus renovations that will continue throughout the year. A redesigned entrance opening this summer will feature the elaborate Polk Bros Fountain with more than 150 programmable jets that can mimic the movements of waves, schools of fish and flocks of birds.

The yearlong Centennial Celebration will continue with inaugural activities, festivals and events. Further down the road, visitors can look forward to a Navy Pier hotel, a new performance venue from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, more free arts and cultural programming and redesigned public spaces inspired by the High Line Park in New York.

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