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Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze at Navy Pier

By

Amazing Chicago

In Brief:

Located on the popular Navy Pier, Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze is an entertaining 4,000 square foot "sensory experience."

Amazing Chicago Address:

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

Phone:

888-893-7300

Amazing Chicago Hours:

Memorial Day - Labor Day: Mon. - Thurs. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Fri., Sat. 10 a.m. - midnight; Sun. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
April 1st - Memorial Day/Labor Day - Oct. 31: Mon. - Thurs. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Fri., Sat. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Nov. 1 - March 31: Mon. - Thurs. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Fri., Sat. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Admission:

One time pass: Adults (13+), $10.95; Children, $9.95; Three time pass: Adults and Children, $12.95; "4 pack" admission: $39.95. Discounts available for active military and seniors.

(prices and hours as of 02/2009 -- subject to change)

Getting to Navy Pier by Public Transportation:

CTA bus lines #29 (State Street), #65 (Grand Avenue), and the #66 (Chicago Avenue) all serve Navy Pier.

Finding Amazing Chicago on Navy Pier:

From the main entrance at the west end of Navy Pier continue past the main hall, the maze is approximately half way down the pier.

Amazing Chicago Website:

About Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze:

Tucked about half way down Chicago's most popular tourist attraction Navy Pier, Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze is a fun and unique family diversion. After entering through the Rainbow Tunnel, visitors go into the "elevator." Obviously this area is a way to help control the flow of people entering the maze, but it's been turned into a fun experience as it pretends to take you up 120 stories to the observatory, but winds up back down "underground" -- and in a hurry. Once the doors open, visitors enter the Mirror Maze. The careful placement and angles of the mirrors and the decor make it a challenge and is a really neat optical effect. They aren't kidding when they warn visitors to keep their hands out in front of them -- what you think might be a long hallway will lead you walking face first into a mirror.

Next comes the Big Squeeze, a narrow hall that appears like it would be impossible to get through -- but don't worry if you're a bit hefty, it's easier than it looks. Following is the Blaze Maze, a large number of punching bags kids have to navigate through and find the one that when punched will ring the fire bell. After is Stomp It Out, a really cool interactive game. Various activities are projected on the floor such as the "Great Chicago Fire" where visitors race around stomping out the flames. It's basically a large computer "screen" and your feet act as the mouse -- pretty inventive.

The Psychedelic Mine Shaft comes next, a dark hall lined with funhouse mirrors. This leads to the Spinning Light Tunnel -- another incredible optical illusion, which tricks your brain into thinking the platform you are standing on is spinning upside down. This part of the maze was deemed the kids' favorite, it's a clever effect. Last is Lights Over Chicago, a "fireworks" finale with a special surprise at the end. Right before the exit is a short hallway that leads back to the Stomp It Out game, allowing visitors to re-enter in the middle of the maze for more fun -- a nice feature and a welcome change of pace from attractions that just try to hustle you in and out.

Amazing Chicago does not recommend the maze for kids under 5, and I would have to agree. It's dark, there's a sense of being lost, and parts of the floor move -- on my visit a couple brought their pre-schooler inside anyway, and wound up having to turn around at the Spinning Tunnel when he refused to enter it. But older kids will have a blast, and the maze is certainly one of the most fun activities on the pier.
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