We went to Chicago over Labor Day this year. Last time we were in the City was a year ago, we really need to make an effort to go more often because there’s lots to do and it’s a quick little trip.
We only had to stop once on the way down this time, and it was a quickie stop at that, so we made it in about 2.5 hours. Not bad, considering our squirrely kids.
Our first Chicago stop was the Northcenter neighborhood. We popped into Half-Acre, sampled some beer and had a little picnic. Then walked around a little to get a feel for the area – it’s a super cute neighborhood.
I have a confession to make: my baby is a beer-sniffer. He loves to smell it, I know that sounds weird but he is really into it and gets pretty pissed off if we don’t comply. And he takes deep, loud whiffs, you guys. We always let him get a good smell when we have a fresh pour, and yeah – we watch him carefully when we have a beer around. Because he’s a sneaky, curious little thing.
Then we headed to the Museum of Science and Industry, which is always a hit. Moose loves Mighty Machines, so to say he was in heaven would be an understatement. We split up after an hour, and each took a kid. Scottie and Moose checked out all the vehicles and spent a good chunk of time in the Boeing 727.
Oh and they each got a Mold O Rama. I have another confession to make: I love to sniff freshly-made Mold O Ramas. So I was a nice mama and I held (and took deep whiffs) of their freshly molded thingies.
Pete and I explored the physical sciences for the longest time, and he got to see a working Tesla Coil (they fire it off every half hour), which was the part he was most looking forward to. To be honest he was scared before it went off, knowing it would be loud, but I coaxed him into watching. Definitely worth it.
After that we made our way to the Loop, checked into our hotel (Moose was obsessed with the shower), and hunted down some grub. A Sunday night in the West Loop over a holiday weekend = everything was closed. Errrrrrrr-thang, even most of the fast food. Our options were Giordano’s, or a few random fast-food joints. We decided not to tourist-it-up with the rest of our fellow tourists (also: did not want to wait 1-2 hours for pizza) and instead wandered until we found the next open ‘restaurant’ – Red Robin. No shame. It tasted GOOOOOD.
We got the kids ready for bed, and SHOCKER they were too excited to sleep, so Scottie and I hid in the bathroom at 10p and toasted his birthday with cheap Trader Joes Prosecco. That’s how you Adult, my friends.
The next morning we got up and strategized our day over breakfast. We had a set rate for 24 hours in our parking garage, so we decided to check out of the hotel, toss our stuff in the car, and head down to Millenium Park. Take advantage of our full 24 hours, you know? Except out of habit, neither of us batted an eye when we paid for our spot before throwing our luggage in the car… Ooops. You have 15 minutes to exit the garage after paying, so we decided to split up. Considering we now had to pay for more parking, we decided Scott would take the car to find a new parking garage closer to the museum campus, and I’d walk the boys down to Millenium Park on my own, then we’d meet up there.
I only walked in the wrong direction once and righted myself pretty quickly (I walked out of that garage thinking I was going east, but nope: north. Whoops), so I was proud of myself. I pretty much suck at directions but Chicago is easy to maneuver, that helped to save me. Also with the re-route we went right past The Picasso, which is my favoritest of the downtown sculptures. Total Win.
We hung out at the Bean and played there while we waited for Scott. Finally he found us (took awhile, that should have given me an idea of what we were soon in for…). We played a little longer, then began our trek to The Field. Uhhhh – it’s about 2 miles to the Field from where we were. I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me earlier. It was the longest, most miserable walk I have ever taken. Hot humid weather, without a cloud in the sky, + slow tired kids + little shade + I was wearing cheap sandals. Ouchie. I took a spin class on Tuesday night, and I thought the bottoms of my feet were going to straight-up slough off about 5 minutes into the class. They are not looking so pretty right now.
OMG I can’t believe no one died (or killed each other) on that walk. So usually I am a total miser and refuse to buy the over-priced crappy cafeteria food at museums, but dude we needed something to change the mood. So the first thing we did after getting tickets was to get some grub and drinks. Sitting in the cool AC while we refueled, chatting about what areas to hit up first, that was an immense help.
Pete was so excited, because he thought we were at the museum from Night At The Museum. Heh. We checked out the Main Hall, then set out to find the Tsavo Man Eaters. I talked these lions up and Pete was dying to see them in person. At my previous job I worked with Bruce Patterson, he is a scientist at the Field and studies the Tsavo lions, so I told Pete everything I learned from Bruce (if you don’t know much about them check this out, they are fascinating). And dudes, they even had this portion where all the lights dimmed out and a video played on the wall and there was Bruce, explaining his research. Like some sort of weird floating hologram.
I really love this museum. We wandered all over, the boys got some glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs from the Sue Store that they still carry everywhere (score, most toys fall out of favor quickly), and we took our time walking back to the car. It was a much shorter walk to the new parking garage, and it was overcast. Much. Better.
No trip to Chicago is complete until we stop at Scott’s favorite brewery, so we went off to Logan Square to Revolution for a late lunch. Pete and I split a pork-belly-with-over-easy-egg sandwich. Holy crap that thing was good.
We hit up IKEA on the drive home, because one can never have enough cheap Swedish junk. Also we had to get more stuffed veggies for Moose, because I am pretty sure they are discontinuing the Torva line soon. He now owns 3 carrots and 2 broccoli. You can never have enough stuffed veggies.
That’s it, kiddos. I still have lots of catching up for other things, so will post again soon. Enjoy your short week and GOD BLESS THE COOL FALL WEATHER.