Do Real Chicagoans Ride the Ferris Wheel?

| July 30, 2010 | Comments (5)

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel Sky ViewLast week, I introduced my kids to their new home in Chicago. I wanted the visit to go perfectly, wanted to sweep them off their feet and get them as excited as their parents for this new adventure. I began cheerleading from the moment we stepped off the plane, telling the kids about tall skyscrapers and a giant lake that looks like the ocean. Like a skilled PR hack, I steered clear of stories about wind and snow.

Our first day was spent scouting out the house and neighborhood. We practiced walking to school, sampled soft serve ice cream and corn dogs, and gave the playground a try. The unknown had been replaced by reality and the kids were delighted. They miraculously chose different bedrooms and spent the rest of the time spying on local kids from the porch, wondering aloud if they were looking at their future best friend. Spirits were high, and I was exceedingly proud of my ability to set the tone.

For the broader sightseeing portion of the trip, Navy Pier seemed like the idea destination. I imagined myself capturing award-winning shots of the kids staring slack-jawed at the dazzling Chicago skyline from the top of the Ferris Wheel. It was going to be the perfect finale to our quick intro visit.

After a quick drive in, auspiciously free of traffic, we found ourselves under the Ferris Wheel. And that’s when I realized that I’d forgotten one crucial detail in my master plan: Ferris wheels are high. Like, seriously high. 150 Feet high to be exact. I stood at the entrance, imagining crazy scenarios of one or more of my children plummeting to their death after their little hand slipped through mine, and I broke into a cold sweat. But even though I was terrified, the kids were game. I spent the entire 7 minute ride with a death grip on my squirmy 3 year old’s leg and never worked up the courage to take out my camera. The children, on the other hand, were amazed by the scintillating lake surface, wondering if I was mistaken and it wasn’t an ocean after all. When we jumped out of the car and my feet touched the ground, I almost cried with relief.

I hear that real Chicagoans avoid this tourist attraction like the plague. I can’t wait to become one! Our next sightseeing activity will take place on the ground, and be focused around food.

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Category: Chicago

About Chefdruck: Vanessa Druckman (@Chefdruck) is thrilled to be an editor of the Chicago Moms blog. She is a French Foodie Mom to three little monsters who drive her to the brink of sanity by claiming to prefer Kraft mac and cheese over the real deal. Her husband's job recently relocated their family from the New York area to the Midwest, and Vanessa has been busy exploring the region. When not throwing her kids in the back of her dirty minivan to check out markets and farms, Vanessa blogs about cooking and parenting at her blog Chefdruck Musings and writes about books and the stuff in her life at Chefdruck Reviews. She is also a cooking and parenting freelance writer for a number of publications and websites. View author profile.

Comments (5)

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  1. drlori71 says:

    We went to Navy Pier a few weeks ago and did the whole touristy thing. We walked the pier, took a boat ride and, yes, rode the ferris wheel. Normally I hate ferris wheels, but the Navy Pier ferris wheel goes so slow that I did ok…no crying and no vomiting :-)

  2. Shari says:

    I am totally with you on the ferris wheel fears. I will (and do) ride any roller coaster — the faster & crazier the better. I will not get on that ferris wheel. We’re at Navy Pier pretty often to attend shows at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Every time we pass the ferris wheel, my husband jokes about taking me on it.

  3. Lisa says:

    LOL, I won’t go on it either!! my stomach churns just thinking about it and I too imagine thosse video clips of the car tilting back and a person sliding out the back, if they are “lucky” they’re able to grab some pole before they fall completely to their doom.
    yeah, I’m a suburbanite and would rather send my kids on the Demon at Six Flags LOL

  4. We’re going to Navy Pier today. I’m a Chicago native who’s never been, but I won’t be riding the Ferris Wheel. Yikes that’s so high and what if….

  5. I went on it years ago with my older boy, who must have been less than 5 years old and that time. I recall the fact that it’s enclosed made me feel a lot safer. Looking for interesting photos? Try the free Architecture on the El tour. It’s offered weekends in the summer, I think. It takes place on the elevated train tracks, but you’re definitely not 150 feet up.

    Welcome to town!

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