Visitors to Navy Pier on June 21 will be able to ride the Centennial Wheel for free.

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. The first Ferris wheel, standing 264 feet tall and illuminated by 2,500 lamps, was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.

Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel opened July 1, 1995. In 2016, that wheel was replaced with the Centennial Wheel 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 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. to the first 1,893 registered guests. For registration, visit the Eventbrite page.


Navy Pier’s new Centennial Wheel spins into motion
Richard Roeper takes first ride on Navy Pier’s bigger, smoother Ferris wheel