Navy Pier Chicago: A Complete Guide to Things to Do at Navy Pier from weekly fireworks to the giant Ferris Wheel.

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Don’t let summer pass you by without a trip to Chicago’s amazing Navy Pier.  Here’s some ideas on how to spend the day at the Pier without spending a fortune.  For other money saving ideas, check out the Go Chicago Card and Navy Pier’s Combo Pass (for rides). Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand.

1. Take a 7-minute ride on Navy Pier’s 150-foot tall Ferris Wheel outfitted with 40 gondolas, each seating up to 6 passengers.  Open year-round. Nary Pier Park.

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2. Take a spin on Navy Pier’s historical musical carousel featuring 36- hand-painted animals representing different sites found throughout the history of carousels. Navy Pier Park.

3. Putt your way around Navy Pier’s 18-Hole Miniature Golf Course, Navy Pier Park, beneath and around the Ferris Wheel.

4. Ride the Wave Swinger–a giant Old Fashion Swing–that towers nearly forty feet over a pond of water.  The forty-eight seat swing ride lifts visitors fourteen feet in the air and whisks them around for an amazing and thrilling view of the lakeside. Navy Pier Park.

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5. Visit the Amazing Chicago Fun House Maze. Located in the middle of Navy Pier.

6. Spend some time at the Chicago Children’s Museum, Daily 10:00a.m. to 5:00p.m., $10.00, or FREE the first Sunday of every month and Thursday evenings from 5:00p.m. to 8;00p.m.

7. Enjoy Free Fireworks. (Wednesday, 9:30p.m. and Saturday, 10:15p.m.). Through Labor Day.

8. Check out complimentary entertainment daily through September 6, Family Pavilion Stage.  Plus special Saturday night performances on the Dock Street Stage.

9. Grab a little culture at the Smith Museum of Stained Glass.  View the permanent display of 150 stained glass windows. Lower level, Festival Hall

10. Ride the free Trolley, to and from Navy Pier.  Route from State St. and Illinois to the pier and from Grand Ave. and the pier to State St.

11. Hop a boat:

  • Tall Ship Windy is Navy Pier’s resident 148-foot, four-masted schooner.  Several 90-minute cruises are offered daily. Adults, $24-$30; children ages 3 to 12, $10-$20.
  • Seadog offers a 30-minute Lakefront Speedboat rides through October, weather permitting. Hourly starting at 10:00a.m. $19.95.

12. See a performance of Cirque Shanghai: Cloud 9 an amazing and daring spectacle.

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$14.50 adults, $12.50, children, ages 3 to 11.   Through September 6.

13. Take the family to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of The Emperor’s New Clothes. This family musical by Hans Christian Andersen is great fun and something that both children and adults should enjoy.   Validated parking discount in Navy Pier parking garage. $18 children and $23 adults. www.chicagoshakes.com Through August 29, 2010.

14.  Stuff yourself with a variety of treats from funnel cakes and gelato to a number of cost conscious options in the Family Pavilion Food Court.

15. Bring a picnic and dine al fresco at Gateway Park, just west of Navy Pier. The kids are welcome to cool off by splashing in the park’s fountain.

16.  Dine in style at anyone of Navy Pier’s full service restaurants:  Billy Goat Tavern, Bubba Gump, Charlie’s Ale House, Capi’s Italian Kitchen, Harry Caray’s or Rivia/Riva Cafe.

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