The new Ferris wheel at Navy Pier
Photo: Martha Williams

Height: Two hundred feet—33 percent taller than before!

Scale: Laid end to end, the 21 spokes would stretch more than 250 feet higher than the Willis Tower (antenna included).

Look-alikes: Nearly identical rides stand in Hong Kong and Baku, Azerbaijan. How’s this one different? Fancier gondolas—i.e., video screens and doors that automatically open and close for loading. One even has a glass bottom (pack your Dramamine).

Spin: It’s expected to take about six minutes to load all 42 gondolas. Rides will now be three full revolutions, versus the single one before.

Bling: More than 50,000 colored LED nodes cover the rim and spokes.

Weight: At 525 tons, this Ferris wheel weighs twice as much as the old one, which means the roof of the parking deck on which it sits needed reinforcement. Between that and building the support walls underneath, workers poured 13,000 cubic feet of concrete—enough to pave almost a mile of sidewalk.

Strength: The frame can withstand winds of 90 miles an hour, or the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane. Eight support beams extend 110 feet from the base, through the pier, and into bedrock.

Origins: Dutch Wheels in the Netherlands designed the ride, and parts were built across Europe: the spokes and center hub in the Netherlands, motors in Germany, lighting in Denmark, and gondolas in France. Estimated total cost: $26.5 million.