Navy Pier to Celebrate Its 107th Birthday with a Drone Light Show — And Free Ice Cream!

Attend a free ice cream social and watch 300 drones light up the sky this Saturday, July 15.

Navy Pier is partnering with ice cream brands Blue Bunny and Halo Top this weekend to throw a birthday party that will go down in Chicago history. 

On Saturday, July 15, Navy Pier will celebrate its 107th birthday with its first-ever drone light show. Visitors can expect to see 300 drones spinning at over 20,000 RPMs light up the night sky, followed by Navy Pier’s usual 10 p.m. fireworks display. 

To sweeten the deal, the drones will form ice cream-themed light displays in honor of National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, giving a new meaning to the phrase “ice cream social.”

But, you don’t have to wait around all day for the 9:45 p.m. show — which is appropriately titled “Sweeten Your Summer with Blue Bunny and Halo Top” — to begin. In addition to all of the family fun entertainment and attractions at Navy Pier, a free ice cream social with Bomb Pops and ice cream treats will be held in Polk Bros Park from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

If you want to add Chicago’s first drone light show to your weekend plans, read our suggestions for exploring Navy Pier as a family before you go. Grab a free frozen treat at the ice cream social in the afternoon, then check out all there is to see and do with the kids around Navy Pier. 

Looking for more things to do this weekend in Chicagoland? Check out our weekend picks for family fun!

Quick details about the Drone Light Show

  • When: Saturday, July 15, at 9:45 p.m. 
  • Cost: Free. Other attractions within Navy Pier may have admission fees. 

Other things to do with kids at Navy Pier

  • Stop by Pier Park and take a spin on the iconic Centennial Wheel, a nearly 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel that is air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. Other rides include Tea Cups, Wave Swinger and a carousel. 
  • Play at the Chicago Children’s Museum. With three floors of exhibits and hands-on attractions, including a water playground, an art and DIY studio, a toy car raceway and so much more, your kiddos will never want to leave! 
  • Dine at classic Chicago eateries like Billy Goat Tavern, Giordano’s, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Rainbow Cone, Harry Caray’s Tavern and more.

Things to do nearby

  • Enjoy a scenic walk along the Chicago Lakefront Trail, offering gorgeous views of Lake Michigan, its beaches and the city skyline, without the fuss and the crowds of Navy Pier.
  • Explore Lake Michigan with Shoreline Water Taxis, a sightseeing company that offers tours of Chicago’s famous landmarks while making it easy and exciting to get around town. Navy Pier partners with many boat tour companies, making it easy to arrange a cruise during your visit. 
  • Play tourist and introduce your kiddos to some of the city’s iconic landmarks, like the Willis Tower (we still call it the Sears) or the Bean in Millennium Park.

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Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Chicago Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for Chicagoland families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.


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