And that pretty much sums up the weather we had when we went to Chicago.
(We went to Chicago back in March. I’m just now updating … because I work full time during the days, update websites at night, clean house, spend time with the family and workout in between all of that. OMG – who has time to blog anymore??)
We slept in our first day in Chicago. I love when we do that – I mean, I want to go exploring but what’s the point of vacation if you can’t take it easy and actually get some sleep?
Actually. We slept in too long. (Much to Kevin’s chagrin. He’s a go-go personality and it drives him nuts to sleep past 7:00). We would have gotten an earlier start, but with teenagers in tow, it’s easier said than done. Not to mention when you share one bathroom for four people, it’s sort of a juggling act.
We finally left our hotel room around 11.
A taxi was waiting for us when we exited the hotel. He was actually waiting for someone else, but said he would run us over “real fast.” The customer that he had been waiting on called him and I could tell he was getting anxious to get back to his original customer. But Kevin tipped him well, so hopefully that was enough of a “thank you.”
The Aquarium was quite a ways from downtown Chicago and by the time the taxi dropped us off at the Aquarium, it was pouring rain. Luckily, I had the foresight to bring along two umbrellas and Dude and Jazz shared one and Kevin and I shared one. We were also lucky that the rain was coming straight down and it wasn’t windy because even though we stayed relatively dry, if it had been windy, we would have been soaked.
When we arrived at the Aquarium, we were shocked to see the line snaked around the building. We ended up waiting in line for about an hour in the pouring rain. It finally stopped raining when we reached the awning into in the building.
We laughed about it, because really, what else can you do at that point?
(I wanted to take a picture of us standing in this long line in the pouring rain, but I was afraid I would ruin my Canon, so I didn’t. Just trust me when I say, we were one of about 100 people waiting to get in that day).
At least the rest of the day had no where to go but up from that point on. And it did. We really enjoyed the Aquarium.
There was so much to see and do, but I’m glad we only allowed half a day because by the end of the day, we were ready to go.
We saw a cute dolphin show, and otters, and penguins, and sharks … we even paid a little extra so we could see the jellyfish exhibit.
Aren’t jellyfish creepy? And fascinating? And creepy?
In between looking at aquatic animals all day, we ate at the food court. It had stopped raining, but a thick fog rolled in and it looked like this outside:
Then it started lifting and all we could see was the bottom half of the buildings:
It was like the fog was it’s own character out of a mystery story. But it was also equally cool how fast it moved in and out of the area.
We stayed at the Aquarium until it closed. And I wish we had more time to sit and watch the penguins and otters play, but by the time we got around to seeing their exhibits, we only had about 30 minutes left until closing.
I think the boys really enjoyed it. They weren’t brooding, so I’m taking that as a good sign. ha!
By the time we left, the rain and fog had moved off, but it was pretty overcast and COLD.
Our next challenge was to figure out how to get back to our hotel, which was downtown, about
ten two miles away.
We were going to hail another taxi, but every taxi that came along was snatched up by another desperate tourist trying to get back to their hotel.
So we took a chance and got onto a bus that we hoped would get us back downtown … somewhere. Kevin and I had walked to an EL train station while the boys were getting ready and bought a bus pass for all of us as we were planning on trying to ride the bus to the science museum the next day, so we had bus fare on us and got onto the bus.
It was a bit stressful getting back as we really had no idea where we were or where the bus would stop along it’s route. Once we saw a familiar road, we got off. We only ended up walking just a few blocks back to our hotel, so it all worked out okay. I used to get SO STRESSED when it came to traveling and especially when I wasn’t sure how I was going to get somewhere or where I needed to go, but I seem to be mellowing with old age, because it doesn’t stress me out as much as it used to.
We made it back to our hotel and Kevin ordered two medium (which ended up being HUGE medium) pizzas from the Italian restaurant inside our hotel. We had so much pizza left over, that we put the left overs into the fridge and ate the rest of it the next night. Even thought he pizzas were ridiculously expensive, it actually worked okay because we got two meals out of them AND didn’t have to think about where/what we were going to eat for dinner the next night.
(Now we can say we’ve had both New York AND Chicago-style pizza – the real deals, not the store-bought versions).
The next day, we got up earlier to head to the Science Museum, but we ended up burning a lot of wasted time trying to figure out which bus would take us there. Actually, we knew which bus would take us there, we just couldn’t figure out where to board it. It was bus number 6 and though we saw plenty of bus number sixes, they were all on the wrong side of the street. We walked about five blocks before we finally gave up and hailed a taxi.
It didn’t rain on us that day and the line wasn’t nearly as long, so we got in fairly quickly. We paid a little extra for the Mythbuster’s show and it was worth it – the boys really enjoyed it. We all enjoyed it.
I really love science museums. And this one was huge. In fact, we could have easily spent two days JUST at the science museum. We got there around 10 and we really had to book it through in order to see everything. (We ended up staying until closing time).
We saw trains …
… planes (a real 727, actually)
… tornado machines …
… various machinery contraptions …
… (Kevin’s favorites) …
… giant ball … er … thingies …
… falling shadowy dots that you could “catch” with your arms …
… and periodic elements …
(In fact, we really had fun with the periodic elements table … take a look …)
… there was one area that had an entire floor of small machines that you could experiment with, I think Kevin could have stayed in this area all day, quite frankly …
… we even saw a full-sized submarine …
I know. How cool is that?!? Unfortunately, we didn’t go on board because that was extra and we had already paid for the Mythbuster’s show.
And speaking of which …
One experiment, you had to try and dodge a bullet…
… and try and run through a rain shower without getting wet first walking, then running …
… remember the episode with the telephone books?
I wish we had allotted more time at the Science Museum, though I think we saw everything, we had had to walk through pretty quickly so as not to miss it.
We should have started with that museum first.
(Look closely. Do you see Dude’s face on the juggling man? I don’t know why I thought this was so funny, but I nearly peed my pants laughing. I think I was delirious, if you want the truth).
We had a great time at the museum.
And we had a really good time in Chicago.
And I can’t wait to go back.
As in, ONE MONTH FROM NOW!
That’s right. Kevin and I are going back, without the boys this time. We’re flying out of Branson (we got one HECK of a deal on flights), and staying another two days. We plan on hitting a lot of the architecture tours that we didn’t get to do last time. I can’t wait to take more pictures and see so much more of Chicago.
I just pray the weather is better this go around. But just in case, I’ll be bringing our umbrellas again.
Thanks for sticking this post out. I know it was long, but I really wanted to write this out so I can MOVE ON TO OTHER THINGS. Sheesh. Talk about dragging a trip out.