CHICAGO (WLS) --Navy Pier's new Ferris wheel is ready to roll this weekend. It's larger than the previous ride and expected to draw large crowds.
The wheel has been named the "Centennial Wheel" to celebrate Navy Pier's 100th anniversary. The view from atop the new 196-foot-tall ride is breathtaking - and it's 49 feet taller than the old one.
"We go a little higher and you can see a little farther. People seem to really love that, especially when you get a chance to look back at our city and the great skyline that we have, but also out to the lake. A lot of the boats are coming out now for the season and it's just a great view for people up there," said Brian Murphy, COO, Navy Pier.
The gondolas offer a much better rider experience. They're roomier, they have air conditioning and they have a multimedia entertainment system.
"They have monitors in there where we show a little bit of information about what's going on at the Pier, some historical information about Navy Pier as well. There's cushioned seats. It's a bigger, better ride," Murphy said.
The old Ferris wheel came down last fall. Construction begin on this one in January, and it took more than 10,000 bolts to connect all the components.
"It was a long process, but, really completed in a short period of time. If you think about it, we went back probably maybe a year or two years ago, we started thinking about is it time for a new wheel? And we finally made the decision that it is and we had to get it ready in time for the centennial celebration," Murphy said.
Now, the wait is almost over for the public. Many people are looking forward to their first ride.
"I am not afraid of heights and it will be awesome to go on the top," said Josh Quarta, Tinley Park.
"It looks like it's a really nice view, it looks like it's going to get the whole city. It looks like if it's windy - because you know, it's the Windy City I heard - it looks like it's blocked in so we're going to be OK," said Fartun Ali, who was visiting from Minneapolis.
Tickets for the new Ferris wheel cost $12 for children and $15 for adults. It opens at 12 p.m. on Friday, May 27.
To buy tickets, click here.