The rebirth of lower Manhattan marks a major milestone Friday when the One World Trade Center observatory opens for visitors.

Catherine McVay Hughes, the chair of Manhattan Community Board 1, which includes the World Trade Center, said the neighborhood eagerly anticipates the opening.

The fun starts in the lobby, where guests will enter the welcome center. Large video panels display the preshow program "Voices," which features stories from the men and women who built the tower.

Another program, "Foundations," educates the visitors about the tower's bedrock. From there, they will effectively fly up to the 102nd floor on one of the building's five speed elevators, or "sky pods," in 60 seconds, according to Legends, the company that operates the observatory. A 9,300-square-foot special event space is on the 102nd floor while the observatory's cafe, and diner, can be found on the 101st. 

The main section of the attraction is on the 100th floor, including an interactive skyline "concierge," allowing guests to connect with the New York sites and surrounding neighborhoods they observe from above. 

Tickets will cost $32 for visitors between 13 to 64, $26 for children between 6 to 12, and $30 for seniors. Guests 5 and under are free. One World Observatory will also offer complimentary admission to 9/11 family members and first responders. 

Chris Heywood, a spokesman for the city's tourism wing NYC & Company, said the observatory is the "crown jewel" of new attractions this year. His team has been touting the opening at travel conventions and presentations all over the world and prospective toursits can't wait, he said. "It is an important demand generator for tourism for not only lower Manhattan but also the entire city," Heywood said.

McVay Hughes stressed the significance of the opening.

"It is a key step forward. It's another big mile marker for the revitalization for lower Manhattan," she said.

(with Stephanie Grella)