Are you ready for some FREE FUN in the city? Make your way to Navy Pier on Thursday, June 21 and enjoy a FREE ride on the Ferris Wheel. Navy Pier is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Ferris wheel with free Centennial Wheel rides for the first 1,893 pre-registered guests in honor of the year it was invented! The free rides are in honor of the 125th anniversary of the original Ferris wheel, which debuted in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. You might remember that this is the second Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier as the first one was built in 1995, only to be replaced in 2016, by the Centennial Wheel, built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Navy Pier.
“The Ferris wheel holds a special place in the hearts of Chicagoans and serves as a beloved icon for our city,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “Navy Pier is proud to continue honoring the legacy and longstanding history of this treasured attraction in its birthplace, especially as it approaches a major milestone.”
Free Centennial Wheel rides will be offered on Thursday June 21 from 10a-10p to the first 1,893 registered guests. For registration, visit the Eventbrite page. Be sure to time your visit to the Pier so that you can take advantage of the free program at 1:25 p.m., featuring remarks from Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner and Jim Ferris, relative of George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., followed by a special dance performance by Mandala South Asian Performing Arts, who will recreate the performances from the 1893 World’s Fair at the Wave Wall Platform on the South Dock.
*Tickets for this event are limited. Must present valid Eventbrite ticket at the Pier Park Box Office to ride for free. Limit one free ride ticket per person. Additional tickets are available for purchase online and at the Pier Park box office. Ticket valid onThursday, June 21, 2018, only, during normal operating hours. The Centennial Wheel operates rain or shine. In the event of extreme weather conditions, the Centennial Wheel may close temporarily for the safety of our guests and our Pier Park staff. In the event of severely inclement weather conditions, please see twitter.com/navypier for operational updates. Navy Pier reserves the right to refuse entry for any reason.
Navy Pier is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Ferris wheel with free Centennial Wheel rides for the first 1,893 pre-registered guests in honor of the year it was invented!
Designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the first Ferris wheel opened to the public on June 21, 1893. One hundred and twenty-five years later, Chicago, home of the original Ferris wheel, is honoring the ingenuity and foresight of the engineering marvel with a day filled with live entertainment, free wheel rides, special appearances by Ferris family members, and more. A free commemorative 125th anniversary pressed penny is included with the free ride upon redemption of the reserved ticket.
George Washington Ferris, a civil engineer from Illinois, invented the Ferris wheel in the 1890’s. The first Ferris wheel was built for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The total Cost of the wheel was $300,000.00. Mr. Ferris’ invention was and still is the largest wheel ever built. It weighed 1,300 tons (that’s about how much a herd of 2,000 dairy cows would weigh !). The Ferris wheel stood 25 stories high and held over 1,400 passengers. From the top of the ride, passengers could see 50 miles. It took 20 minutes for the enormous wheel to make one complete turn. After the Chicago World’s Fair, the Ferris wheel was taken to the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.
After the Exposition, the wheel was returned to Chicago and dismantled because it was just too expensive to keep the wheel in operation. The metal from the Ferris wheel was used to build a large ship, the U.S.S. Illinois, during World War I.