Last weekend to ride Navy Pier Ferris Wheel; will be torn down Monday

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It’s an icon that has spun along the Chicago lakefront for two decades, but you only have a couple more days to enjoy it.

The last ride for the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel will take place Sunday evening, and then it will be torn down on Monday to make room for a newer, bigger and much higher-tech wheel.

On Friday, Alex Andrade had a surprise for his girlfriend, Mayra Bailon.

"Created a little mystery about it and told her it was something that we would do for the last time and for the first time," Alex said.

Because Mayra had never been on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, Alex knew this last weekend was the right time.

"I made it through, I’m alive, yeah," Mayra said.

If this 150 foot wheel-of-fun takes your breath away, just wait until next summer!

“I was thinking about it and if it's going to be bigger, I’m probably going to be freaked out the next time around, but I’ll still go on it," Mayra said.

By Halloween, the Ferris Wheel that's lit up the Chicago skyline for 20 years will be gone.

"It’s kind of like a cultural icon to Chicago," said Chicagoan Bert Kavanaugh. "It’s just as identifiable as Hancock and the Willis Tower."

The replacement wheel will stand 196 feet tall and cost $26 and a half million. It will accommodate 180 more passengers per ride, and include temperature controlled gondolas and TV screens.

The wheel's spokes will also light up in a spectrum of colors.

"I think I will come, I will definitely come just because it will be different and change is great all the time," said Chicagoan Alba Saballos.

Navy Pier hopes if they build it, more people will come because attendance has been down over the past several years.

On Saturday and Sunday, riders will receive a commemorative ticket.

The last ride will be Sunday evening and it will be followed by fireworks. Then, the famous Ferris Wheel will go dark.

"Whenever you think about Navy Pier, it's one of the first things you think about is the Ferris Wheel. It represents kind of an iconic attraction in Chicago," Alex said.

The gondolas will be removed starting Monday morning.

Also, free rides will be given during an all-night spin-a-thon starting Saturday at 10 p.m. until Sunday at 9:45 a.m.