Published in Theme Park University…NOVEMBER 1, 2016
Like me, you’ve probably been to a few scenic observatories in cities around the world. When was the last time you got to lie on a window that was hydraulically tilted toward the sidewalk below? That’s exactly what I got to do when I experienced Tilt at Chicago 360!
Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building, 360 Chicago is absolutely my favorite observatory out of any I have visited in the world.
More than just glass windows with a great view of the city, this is actually a multi-purpose attraction that starts with an extremely well done queue.
There is a lot of history involved and, being from the world of theme parks, I found this queue to be one of the best I have been to anywhere. It included lots of facts and tidbits about Chicago that I never knew.
The elevators for 360 Chicago travel 96 floors at a top speed of 20.5 mph. You arrive at your destination in less than 60 seconds!
Once you arrive at the observatory, the entire level is covered in floor to ceiling glass providing great views for the city. There are also interactive kiosks scattered throughout that play interactive games and provide trivia about Chicago.
Luckily on the day of my visit, the skies were fairly clear and my views were spectacular. I arrived in mid-afternoon and the shadows of the skyscrapers were creating their own skyline on the water.
One of the biggest surprises for me was what lied beyond this revolving door at Chicago 360.
The 360 Chicago Skywalk is included with admission and is actually an open-air observatory with a mesh screen separating you and the elements.
However, the real reason I visited 360 Chicago was Tilt. A unique add-on attraction that costs $7 and tickets may be bought once you’ve reached the observatory.
Tilt is a first-of-its-kind attraction in the world. Opened in 2014, it’s basically a set of eight glass windows connected to a hydraulic arm.
Three hydraulic arms slowly push outward, allowing the windows to slowly tilt outwards allowing patrons to look over 1,000 feet down on the city. You’ll notice that each window is divided by grab rails that you can choose to clench if you feel the need.
Is Tilt a thrill ride? I suppose it depends on your level of thrill. The arm does slowly lower you down, stop for a few seconds, and then continue to lower you even further. However, you can choose to hold your body away from the glass, lean on it, or step away from it entirely if you’re feeling vertigo or anxious. I found it extremely fun, but not the kind of heart-stopping thrills a roller coaster can bring. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Where else are you ever going to be able to say you did an attraction like this?
Also worth mentioning is that 360 Chicago has a bar located on the observation floor. Nearly every single person waiting in line opted for the “Cocktail And View” ticket, which was $25, just $5 more than regular admission and it gave you a ticket to enjoy an adult beverage. Lots of great viewing areas to relax up there. I highly recommend 360 Chicago and many thanks for having us!
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