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For all media requests, please contact Payal Patel (ppatel@navypier.org) or Anna Schapiro (aschapiro@navypier.org).

Media Information

Please see the links below for more information regarding film, photo, and public requests. To note, Navy Pier is only able to consider requests submitted 3 weeks in advance of the proposed filming date.

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Press Releases

Discover Chicagoland’s Favorite Winter Tradition: Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest

CHICAGO – ‘Tis the season for holiday fun at Navy Pier’s 19th annual Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest! For more than five weeks, guests can dash through an indoor winter wonderland as Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination transforms its Festival Hall into a dazzling spectacle with 170,000 square feet of holiday-themed fun. Kicking off on Friday, […]

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CHICAGO – ‘Tis the season for holiday fun at Navy Pier’s 19th annual Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest! For more than five weeks, guests can dash through an indoor winter wonderland as Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination transforms its Festival Hall into a dazzling spectacle with 170,000 square feet of holiday-themed fun. Kicking off on Friday, December 6, 2019 and running through Sunday, January 12, 2020, Chicagoland natives and seasonal travelers will have the opportunity to enjoy festive décor, returning favorites and this year’s brand-new attraction, The Wind Chill. 

Upon entry to Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest, guests will be greeted by abundant winter decorations and a twinkling forest of nearly 500 trees decorated with 25,000 ornaments hung on glittering wire. Dozens of classic rides and attractions will adorn the Pier’s Festival Hall under shimmering white lights and above a wintery blue carpet, including the Xfinity Ice Skating Rink, Polar Extreme Obstacle Course, Cliff Hanger, Polar Ice Peaks Climbing Walls, Winter WonderWhirl, Kringle Carousel and more. Families are welcome to take a ride around Winter WonderTown on the Arctic Express Train and decorate holiday cookies at the Aquafina Cookie Cottage. The “Sugar Plums” from Aerial Ataraxia will grace Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest with dazzling acrobatic performances each weekend (Saturdays and Sundays) at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

New this year, The Wind Chill will take holiday lovers on an exciting ride, soaring guests to heights of nearly 53 feet above the indoor winter playground in Festival Hall. On the way to Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest, guests can stroll through Winter Wonder Market near the front entrance of the Pier, where Navy Pier’s Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion will be transformed into an all-new holiday market featuring meet-and-greet opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus on select dates. A one-stop shop for all things holiday, find unique gifts and enjoy seasonal treats and food specials at onsite dining establishments. Winter Wonder Market will be unveiled on Black Friday (Friday, November 29) and run through Christmas Eve (Tuesday, December 24). Please visit here for more information and schedule updates.

Tickets to Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest can be purchased online or at the on-site box office. Ticket options vary based on date, height/age, time of sale (advance or day of) and location of sale (online or on site). The event will open at 10 a.m. every day and closing hours vary. On Thursday, January 9, Navy Pier will host sensory friendly hours from 4 – 8 p.m., consisting of discounted tickets, limited lighting, reduced sound, quiet zones and more to accommodate the special needs community. Click here to view all pricing options, calendar and hours.

In addition to access to Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest, every ticket purchase will include a complimentary pass to ride the iconic, 200-foot-tall Centennial Wheel – an $18 value. This treasured attraction features enclosed and temperature-controlled gondolas, offering guests comfortable, enjoyable rides and unparalleled views year round. Centennial Wheel tickets provided with admission are valid from the time of purchase through March 21, 2020.

Hosted by the Navy Pier Associate Board, Cheer at the Pier will return on Thursday, December 5 from 5 – 9 p.m. as an exclusive pre-opening celebration of Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest. Tickets include food, an open bar for guests 21 and older and access to all rides and activities at Chicago’s largest indoor winter attraction. Ticket information can be found here. All proceeds from Cheer at the Pier will support Navy Pier’s free, year-round public programming.

Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest also offers opportunities to host festive private events, from corporate holiday outings to birthday parties and special occasions, in an exclusive Navy Pier event space with all-inclusive package options. Please call (312) 595-5300 or email navypierevents@navypier.org to book a private event. Additionally, stay at any of the 98 Chicagoland Hilton hotels and save on admission, parking, food and more at Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest. Learn more here.

For the comfort and safety of all Navy Pier guests, those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Guests 18 years and older must present a valid driver’s license, state ID or military ID with their pass to enter Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest. Parents or guardians are responsible for the safety and conduct of minor guests in their respective parties.

For more information on Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest or to purchase tickets in advance, please visit www.navypier.org.

PHOTOS: Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest | Credit: Nick Ulivieri Photography


About Fifth Third

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, an Ohio-chartered bank. As of Sept.30, 2018,  Fifth Third had $142 billion in assets and operated 1,152 full-service Banking Centers and 2,443 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to approximately 53,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of Sept. 30, 2018, had $376 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $38 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Deposit and Credit products are offered by Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC.

About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2019, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with rooftop bar Offshore (now open), a marina and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a 501(c)(3) organization, in support of free public programs. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.

Navy Pier Mission Statement

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Navy Pier Hosts Third Annual Sequence Ch!cago to Showcase Chicago’s Arts and Culture Scene

The free, eclectic 10-part music and market series celebrates local artists, musicians and cultural organizations over select dates from October 5 – December 20

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CHICAGO – Sequence Ch!cago returns to Navy Pier this fall and winter, highlighting the city’s vibrant arts and cultural scene over 10 dates throughout the season. Presented by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the series includes performances from Chicago’s gifted musicians, handcrafted works by local artisans and special events, such as “Housegiving,” a house music celebration featuring a clothing drive for the homeless. The series kicks off on Saturday, October 5 and will conclude on Saturday, December 20 with “A Blues Christmas” in the spectacular Aon Grand Ballroom.

Please see below for the Sequence Ch!cago schedule. To note, musicians are listed in order of appearance, additional market vendors to be announced and events are subject to change:

Saturday, October 5
Kick-Off Concert: 5 – 8 p.m. South Dock
MUSIC: DJ Shazam Bangles; Ana Ewerling; Brian Hoyt

Saturday, October 12

Chicago Culture Market: 3 – 6 p.m. Food Experience Corridor

MUSIC: A Flor de Piel; The Darling Suns; Seres de Luz

MARKET VENDORS: Exotic Scents of Mind; Ankara Imports; Colores Mexicanos 

Saturday, October 19
Chicago Culture Market: 3 – 6 p.m. Food Experience Corridor
MUSIC: Mike Maimone; Priscila Carvalho; LeftJones

MARKET VENDORS: Hines Brines

Saturday, November 2
Chicago Culture Market: 3 – 6 p.m. Food Experience Corridor
MUSIC: Nine Worlds Ensemble; Somewhere Sunny; Erthe St. James

MARKET VENDORS: Exotik Wear, The Eclectic 1; SoulPäz Bath & Body 

Saturday, November 16
Chicago Culture Market: 3 – 6 p.m. Food Experience Corridor
MUSIC: Subhi; Violet Crime; TBA

MARKET VENDORS: Tendaji Body Oils; Connect with Tiffany

Wednesday, November 27

Housegiving: 8:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. (Thursday, November 28) Aon Grand Ballroom

MUSIC: “The King of House Music” Farley Funkmaster Flex; Special Guest – TBA on October 13; Dee Jay Alicia
*This event will also serve as a clothing drive for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Guests are encouraged to bring and drop off coats, hats, gloves, scarves, hand and foot warmers, socks, underwear, personal hygiene items, sleeping bags, dental kits, towels and blankets.  

Saturday, November 30
Chicago Culture Market: 3 – 6 p.m. Food Experience Corridor

MUSIC: Kyle Madsen Trio; Ashley Stevenson; Almond&Olive

MARKET VENDORS: Tangible Things Store

Saturday, December 7
Seasonal Concert: 5 – 6 p.m. Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion

MUSIC: TRIIO

Saturday, December 14
Seasonal Concert: 5 – 6 p.m. Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion
MUSIC: The Oh Yeahs 

Friday, December 20
A Blues Christmas: 7 – 8:30 p.m. Aon Grand Ballroom

MUSIC: Toronzo Cannon; Lil’ Ed; Lynne Jordan; Matthew Skoller

While attending Sequence Ch!cago, guests are encouraged to take advantage of the many other Pier-wide experiences in dining, retail, boats and other activities and attractions, including the iconic and year-round Centennial Wheel and the first-ever Pier Pumpkin Lights, a free pumpkin pop-up installation from Tuesday, October 1 through Saturday, November 2.

Sequence Ch!cago is part of the Pier’s ongoing commitment to offer guests free, one-of-a-kind arts and cultural programming, designed to inspire, educate and connect communities and guests across the city and globe. For more information, visit www.navypier.org. 

PHOTOS: Sequence Ch!cago | Credit: James Richards IV


About Paul M. Angell Family Foundation

The mission of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation is to advance society through the performing arts, conservation of the world’s oceans, and alleviation of poverty. The foundation was created in 2011 to honor Paul M. Angell, and strives to embody the legacy of his compassion, ingenuity and industriousness.

About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2019, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with rooftop bar Offshore (now open), a marina and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a 501(c)(3) organization, in support of free public programs. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.

Navy Pier Mission Statement

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Navy Pier Presents Pier Pumpkin Lights: Chicago’s Newest, Free Pumpkin Pop-up Experience

Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination will transform into an experiential fall spectacle with nearly 1,000 pumpkins from October 1 – November 2, along with food and drink specials and Halloween festivities throughout the month.

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CHICAGO – The first-ever Pier Pumpkin Lights is coming to Navy Pier this October, where guests will explore a variety of pumpkin pop-up installations and enjoy Pier-wide deals during the month-long seasonal celebration. From jack-o’-lantern towers to glowing light displays, the Pier will be decked out for autumn.

Designed by local Ivan Carlson Event Design, six installations will be displayed across the 50-acre Pier, stretching from the main entrance to past the iconic Centennial Wheel. Building on inspiration from traditional Halloween images as well as unique and original designs, featured stations include the Juggernaut of Jack-O-Lanterns in Polk Bros Park, Pumpkin Picasso, Garden of Totems, Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree, Pumpkin Dancers and Arachnids, as well as Skeleton Grave Dancers scattered throughout.

The creative designs are brought to Navy Pier with the help of artisans, carpenters, painters, designers and carvers to make up a truly stunning visual experience. The pop-up installations will be on exhibit daily during normal Pier operating hours but will best be experienced after dusk. Additionally, guests can enjoy Pier Pumpkin Lights food and drink specials at the following restaurant partners throughout the duration of the pop-up: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Giordano’s, Harry Caray’s Tavern, Tiny Tavern, Riva Crabhouse, Big Bowl, Billy Goat Tavern, Snow Dragon Shavery and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

Navy Pier will be full of fun and fright with several other Halloween festivities. Guests can enjoy three dates of free trick-or-treating on Saturday, October 26; Sunday, October 27; and on Halloween, Thursday, October 31. HalloWheel also returns this year, offering guests an opportunity to ride the Centennial Wheel free of charge. The first 1,031 guests to register for tickets will enjoy complimentary access to the iconic, year-round attraction during normal operating hours on Thursday, October 31. Tickets will be available one week prior to Halloween.

On select weekend dates and on Halloween, Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze will transform into a Haunted Maze, inspired by famous Chicago ghost stories for a spooky, twisty time. Finally, Navy Pier will host the inaugural Cosplay on the Pier: Halloween Fest 2019 on Saturday, October 26 from 2 – 10 p.m. With a designated cosplay photo area, the Chicago skyline, iconic Centennial Wheel and Pier Pumpkin Lights displays, the event will offer great views and backdrops for Halloween photos and fun. All cosplayers who register before the event will also receive a variety of perks, including a free Centennial Wheel ticket, discounted parking, a chance to win a $300 Visa gift card and more. 

While attending Pier Pumpkin Lights or other Halloween events, guests are encouraged to take advantage of the many other Pier-wide experiences in dining, retail, boats and other activities and attractions. Pier Pumpkin Lights is part of the Pier’s ongoing commitment to offer guests, free, one-of-a-kind experiences. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.

PHOTOS: Pier Pumpkin Lights | Credit: Navy Pier


About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2019, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with rooftop bar, a marina and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click hereto donate to Navy Pier, a 501(c)(3) organization, in support of free public programs. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.

Navy Pier Mission Statement

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

“The Ship of Tolerance” Sails onto Navy Pier Fall 2019 in Partnership with EXPO CHICAGO

Conceptual public art installation to arrive and “dock” in Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park from September 17 through October 6 as a visual representation and vessel of tolerance and peace.

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CHICAGO – Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination, is thrilled to partner again with EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Modern & Contemporary Art (September 19 – 22, 2019), to present a free, temporary public art installation at the City Stage lawn in Polk Bros Park. From Tuesday, September 17 through Sunday, October 6, guests will have the opportunity to view and interact with“The Ship of Tolerance,” a dual art installation and vessel presented by The Ilya & Emilia Kabakov Foundation.

The mission of “The Ship of Tolerance” is to educate and connect youth of different continents, cultures and identities through the language of art. The conceptual art piece reflects how divergent cultures interpret tolerance and how these understandings overlap. The ship’s sails are stitched together from drawings, painted on silk by local schoolchildren from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds to convey a message of tolerance and hope.

“We are all afraid of the unknown,” said artist Emilia Kabakov. “Like a child, you are afraid of something coming at you from the darkness of different religions, different races. We work with these fears—trying to eliminate them, trying to learn about the others—and trying to make our audience understand that knowledge is a tool, which helps with communication. You do not even need language, just cultural inheritance that we all have, by using dance, music, poetry and song. You just have to be tolerant and willing to learn how to trust each other.”

Over the course of nearly three weeks, “The Ship of Tolerance” will be on display at Navy Pier as the installation’s seventeenth exhibition site, inviting Chicagoans and guests to utilize the space to reflect and discuss the themes of tolerance and peace. Project partners and collaborators for this version include Chicago Children’s Museum, ChiArts, Chicago Public Libraries, Hyde Park Art Center, MacArthur Middle School and many others.

Originally built in Siwa, Egypt in 2005 to engage children and young adults in an active discussion surrounding tolerance, participants were exposed to different cultures and ideas while creating astonishing works of art. These drawings were later sewn together to form a mosaic sail, which was mounted atop a ship. Since then, past iterations of the project have taken place in Venice, Italy; St. Moritz, Switzerland; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Miami; Havana; Brooklyn, New York; Moscow; Samara, Russia; Zug, Switzerland; Cham, Switzerland; Rome; Capalbio, Italy; Rostock, Germany; and Duren, Germany. The ship will sail around London in early September 2019 before arriving to the Windy City.

The vessel will be available for public viewing beginning Tuesday, September 17. Additionally, on Saturday, September 21, Navy Pier will host a special “Ship of Tolerance Day,” featuring performances and workshops from 2 – 4 p.m. to offer a public forum of discussion on the work as part of the larger EXPO CHICAGO event schedule. Two concerts will be held on Tuesday, September 17 and Sunday, September 22 at the South Shore Cultural Center and the Preston Bradley Hall, respectively, featuring performances by children and young adults to showcase cooperation through music and dance across cultural barriers.

The installation is presented in collaboration with EXPO CHICAGO, and is a part of IN/SITU Outside, a citywide initiative that provides the opportunity for EXPO CHICAGO exhibitors to present temporary public art installations situated along the lakefront and throughout Chicago neighborhoods. In addition to Navy Pier, IN/SITU Outside partnerships include the Chicago Park District (CPD) and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).

“The Ship of Tolerance” is part of Navy Pier’s ongoing commitment to offer guests free, one-of-a-kind arts and cultural programming, designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. For more information, please visit www.navypier.org.

PHOTOS: Ship of Tolerance | Credit: Identified within Dropbox


About the Ship of Tolerance and the Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Foundation

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2012 with a mission to promote and support art and education. The Ship of Tolerance is one of the Foundation’s ambitious projects that is designed to bridge divisions, overcome segregation, racism and refugee problems by working with children through the universal language of music and art. www.shipoftolerance.org. Orliana Morag currently acts as ambassador for the Ship of Tolerance, the globally celebrated project dedicated to educating and connecting children from different continents, cultures and identities through the universal language of art. Orliana has traveled extensively to speak to young people about cooperation and overcoming prejudice and bias, giving talks and performing in New York, Moscow, Havana, Miami, Rome, Zug, and Rostock. She is thrilled that her newly adopted city of Chicago will host the Ship next September.

About EXPO CHICAGO
Opening the fall art season each September, EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art features leading international galleries alongside one of the highest quality platforms for contemporary art and culture. Hosted within Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, EXPO CHICAGO’s eighth edition will take place September 19 – 22, 2019, in alignment with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial (September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020). EXPO CHICAGO presents a diverse program, including /Dialogues (presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Exchange by Northern Trust, an unrivaled talks program for both public and VIP audiences; IN/SITU, dynamic on-site installations highlighting large-scale sculpture, film, and site-specific work; and major public art initiatives, including IN/SITU Outside, public art installed throughout Chicago Park District locations, and OVERRIDE, a curated selection of international artists throughout the city’s digital billboard network. The EXPO CHICAGO program also features an unprecedented commitment to host curatorial initiatives during the exposition, including the Curatorial Forum in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI), and the Curatorial Exchange, which partners with foreign agencies and consulates to expand the exposition’s global reach.

EXPO CHICAGO is the publisher of THE SEEN, Chicago’s only international journal of contemporary and modern art criticism, online and in print. EXPO CHICAGO is presented by Art Expositions, LLC. Under the leadership of President and Director Tony Karman, EXPO CHICAGO draws upon the city’s rich history as a vibrant international cultural destination, while highlighting the region’s contemporary arts community and inspiring its collector base. For more information on EXPO CHICAGO and EXPO ART WEEK (September 16 – 22, 2019) visit expochicago.com.

About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2019, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with rooftop bar Offshore (now open), a marina and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a 501(c)(3) organization, in support of free public programs. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.

Navy Pier Mission Statement

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Navy Pier Hosts Research Vessel Blue Heron on August 3

The R/V Blue Heron will dock at Navy Pier to provide free, public tours and scientific demonstrations surrounding Great Lakes quagga mussels research

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CHICAGO – Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination, is pleased to welcome the research vessel (R/V) Blue Heronon Saturday, August 3 for a day of interactive science opportunities in cooperation with leading researchers and academic institutions. From 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., the crew and scientific team from the University of Minnesota Duluth will conduct free, public tours of the ship and demonstrations of the unique scientific equipment in use for their latest research mission studying the impacts of quagga mussels on the Great Lakes.

Part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) and the only UNOLS vessel on the Great Lakes, the 86’ research vessel is owned by the University of Minnesota and operated by the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, MN. Housing eleven people (four crew, one marine technician and six scientists), the Blue Heron can be on the water for 21 continuous days and is the premier research vessel for fundamental scientific discovery on the Great Lakes.

Biologists and geochemists from the Large Lakes Observatory, funded by the National Science Foundation, are currently studying the effects of quagga mussels on the biology and chemistry of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. As quagga mussels invaded Lake Michigan in the early 2000s, they have since caused unprecedented changes to lake ecosystems, including shifts in water quality and recreational opportunities. By filtering lake water at staggering rates, these bottom-dwelling organisms remove particles from lake water and deposit them into sediments, altering the fluxes of essential nutrients. The project, which involves multiweek expeditions on the studied lakes, will quantify how mussels affect the chemistry of sediments and water, as well as the nutrient cycling in the Great Lakes.  

The R/V Blue Heron visit is part of the Pier’s ongoing commitment to offer guests free, one-of-a kind arts and cultural programming, designed to inspire, educate and connect communities and guests across the city and globe. For more information, please visit www.navypier.org.


 About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2019, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with rooftop bar Offshore (now open), a marina and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a 501(c)(3) organization, in support of free public programs. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.

Navy Pier Mission Statement

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Navy Pier in the News

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