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Amid the rich history of Chicago's Navy Pier stands its impossible-to-resist centerpiece: a 150-foot tall Ferris wheel. Riders enjoy one very slow revolution of the Ferris wheel, and it provides one of the best views of the city and the lake.

Navy Pier stretches 3,000 feet into Lake Michigan, and was originally built in 1916 as a cargo facility for lake freighters. It went by the name Municipal Pier. During World War II, the city leased the pier to the United States Navy, who used it to dock the U.S.S. Wolverine and the U.S.S. Sable, and train some 60,000 soldiers and 15,000 pilots. In honor of this service, the city then changed Municipal Pier's name to Navy Pier.

After the war ended, the pier was used by the University of Illinois for a two-year undergraduate program for returning war veterans. In 1965, the university moved to its current location, just west of the downtown financial district. The pier went unused from 1965-1989. In 1989, renovation and construction on the pier began and continued into the 90s. Navy Pier now includes many shops, restaurants, a ballroom, a concert stage, exhibition halls, an IMAX theatre, the Ferris wheel, a miniature golf course, a carrousel, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Chicago Children's Museum, the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, and embarkation points for tour and excursion boats.

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