Taking a spin on Chicago’s new Centennial Wheel as Navy Pier turns 100 (photos)

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BRANSON MO NEWS: CHICAGO, Illinois – Flying high, nearly 200 feet above ground, I marvel at the view of Chicago’s skyscrapers to the west, and lovely Lake Michigan to the east.
I also have a pretty good view of more than a century of Chicago history from my perch atop the Centennial Wheel, the city’s newest/oldest tourist attraction.
It was 1893, not far from here, that the world’s first Ferris wheel debuted, at the World’s Columbian Exposition. Designed by engineer George Ferris, it was a gigantic creation, 264 feet high, with a capacity for more than 2,000 passengers.
That wheel is long gone, demolished in St. Louis in the early 1900s. But several miles north, a new wheel spins in Chicago, on Navy Pier, a celebration of both the city’s past and its future.
The new Centennial Wheel replaces an earlier, more modest version, which was relocated to Branson, Missouri last year.
This new wheel – 196 feet high, with a capacity for more than 400 passengers – is part of the first phase of a dramatic makeover planned for Navy Pier, Illinois’ top tourist attraction which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
“We felt like it was the right time to set the pier up for the next 100 …


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