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Light-up Seesaws Turn Navy Pier into a Playground

Seesaws aren’t just for kids anymore.

Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier is now the host of “Impulse,” an interactive art exhibit showcasing 15 large, light-up seesaws.

The outdoor, interactive art and music exhibit is the creation of Lateral Office, Montreal-based CS Design and Générique Design and produced by performing arts theater Quartier des Spectacles.

The seesaws have LED lights that change intensity when in use and create sounds similar to a piano keyboard as users change the seesaws’ angles.

The simultaneous combination of lights and sounds from the 15 seesaws transforms the public art into a large-scale instrument.

Olivia Wright, 20, said the seesaws are so popular that she had to wait in line for a chance to ride one of them, but it was well worth the wait.

“I think the whole concept of them is pretty cool,” Wright said. “I feel like they weren’t even made for little kids, which is the best part.”

The exhibit was first seen in the United States in Arizona, making Chicago the second U.S. city to host the traveling exhibit. The exhibit has also been in England, Belgium and Switzerland.

“Impulse” is the first exhibit in Chicago’s “Year of Public Art,” put in motion by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, representing a $1.5 million investment in neighborhood artwork projects led by artists.

The seesaws can be used by guests of all ages for free and will be open every day through May 21.

Polk Bros Park, located outside Navy Pier at 600 E. Grand Ave., is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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