by Lydia Schrandt for USA TODAY 10Best

Step inside the reimagined Space Needle in Seattle

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Seattle’s most iconic landmark got its start as a flying saucer sketch on a napkin.

It took 400 days to build the Space Needle, which officially opened to the public on April 21, 1962 for the space age-themed Century 21 Exposition World’s Fair.

Photo courtesy of Space Needle

Since then, nearly 60 million people have visited the building – among the most recognizable in the world.

While most Seattleites and visitors are already familiar with the tower’s curving, wasp-waisted silhouette, many might not recognize the interior, especially after undergoing a $100 million renovation.

The original pony walls and security caging on the outdoor observation level are gone, replaced with open-air glass walls that tilt out toward the city.

Photo courtesy of Space Needle

The 500-foot level that used to be a revolving restaurant is now The Loupe, an observation space with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and the world’s first and only revolving glass floor.

The Space Needle has always offered views of Seattle, but with the introduction of this 37-ton glass surface, visitors now enjoy downward views of the Space Needle itself, as well as the mechanics that help take The Loupe on a full rotation each 45 minutes.

While you can’t actually bungee jump off the Space Needle, you can experience the thrill virtually, thanks to a new photo-realistic VR experience on the first floor.

Video courtesy of Space Needle

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