The Rest of the Story

We had planned a grand tour of downtown Chicago, a kind of Ferris-Bueller's-Day-Off extravaganza. Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Gino's Pizza, Rock n Roll McDonald's, Navy Pier, John Hancock Observatory -- the works, plus some. As it turns out, we were overly ambitious -- and we had underestimated how much time it would take to get from Aunt Kathy's farm into the city, hindered by, among other things, railroad crossings and toll plazas and our inability to get up and at 'em at the crack of dawn as planned.

So we didn't manage to see everything we would've liked to see, but we saw enough. Sunday morning we started at the American Girl place on Michigan Avenue, where my children were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff available to purchase:

In the end, they each selected a "Look-Alike Doll" (a more difficult task than you would imagine):

Money spent, we went down the street to the famous Gino's East for some deep-dish goodness:

The fun thing about Gino's is that you're allowed to write on the walls and other available surfaces. The girls made their mark:

I liked this sign:

Full of pizza, we departed for Shedd Aquarium. Did I mention yet that it was incredibly hot and humid in Chicago that day? It was pretty awful, actually. The girls found shelter in this sculpture thingy:

The Aquarium itself was very impressive, and featured my favorite animal:

After we'd seen the penguins and fish and dolphins and otters, we called it a day. The next morning we headed back to the city to visit Lincoln Park Zoo. This is one of the nation's oldest zoos, and one of the few remaining free ones. It's gorgeous, too, with lovely landscaping and flora and fauna and whatnot. We stopped in at the Lincoln Park Conservatory on the way:

This fellow was probably the most comfortable creature at the zoo on that very hot day:

We saw bears and more penguins and tigers and rhinos, and then the kids wanted to ride on the carousel. The Endangered Species carousel, no less, which turned out to be absolutely beautiful. I loved the top panels:

It was at this point that my camera battery died, so I had to use my camera phone for these:

From the zoo, we sweltered over to Navy Pier. I would've liked to have gone on a riverboat cruise, but we were all pretty much out of pep (and money). So instead we boarded the Ferris Wheel:

Then we had some Chicago-style treats -- hot dogs and Garrett's popcorn -- and decided that we were done with tourism. We left the city and went back to the farm, where, for the next day and a half, the kids played with their cousins and the adults drank wine. Then we got in the car for the long, long drive back home.

It was a fun trip -- it was good to finally see all the places Chris has talked about all these years, good for the girls to see where their family comes from. The heat was atrocious, but the city was beautiful, and I hope someday to go back (in the spring, perhaps) and see all the things we missed this time around.


aimee said...

Chicago sounds wonderful. I want to go someday, but not in the summer.