See the expansive Brookfield Zoo Chicago from a Ferris wheel


Ferris Wheel at Brookfield Zoo
Ferris Wheel at Brookfield Zoo (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo Chicago

Visitors to Brookfield Zoo Chicago can now get a sky-high view of the zoo from a Ferris wheel. Fully installed and available to zoo guests on March 15, the new attraction (open to the end of 2024) celebrates the zoo’s 90th anniversary.

Located east of the Roosevelt Fountain, it towers over the zoo at 110 feet. As the gondolas (there are two dozen of them) move around, guests will be able to see the animal habitats and gardens plus the Chicago skyline.

Plus, illuminated by 350,000 multicolored LED lights, the Ferris wheel can be seen from across the zoo as a location guide at night and during special events.

Rides take between 7 and 8 minutes and riders must be at least 3 feet tall with a supervised adult or 3½ feet tall with no supervision. Ticket cost is $8 per person (Zoo members $6).

To watch the Ferris wheel’s construction visit the video done by Brookfield Zoo Chicago.

The attraction took a year to manufacture in the Netherlands by Lamberink B.V. It was shipped in seven 40-foot containers to the United States which took about a month. Installation at the zoo was by Kissel Entertainment Company of Okeana, Ohio.

The original Ferris wheel was unveiled in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago’s World Fair). Designed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. as an engineering marvel, it measured 264 feet high, rotated on a 71-ton, 45½-foot axle, and featured 36 gondolas, with a total capacity of 2,160.

About Brookfield Zoo Chicago. Opened July 1934, it is managed by the Chicago Zoological Society as a private nonprofit organization on 235 acres of Cook County Forest Preserves property in the Brookfield, IL suburb of Chicago. It is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 species. For hours, admission and more information, visit

Brookfield Zoo Chicago main entrance is the North Gate at 8400 31st Street (1st Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, IL 60513.

Author: Jodie

Longtime Chicago Tribune contributor for news and features. Travel writer for What's Happening, Lakeland Boating and A&E for CBS