Monday, June 23, 2008

Wet stuff

After a day of science and industry, I was really ready for a day of critters and being outdoors. The weather in Chicago remained beautiful during our entire stay. It was kind of a bummer to be inside the entire previous day. So, we went to the Shedd Aquarium, which is right on Lake Michigan.It's a pretty neat aquarium. It includes a huge area made to look like the Pacific Northwest, including dolphins, beluga whales, sea otters and a sea lion. It was packed on the day we were there. Lots and lots of day camps obviously spend some time in the local museums. The kids' favorite thing at the museum was the dolphin show.But there were lots of other neat things...a big lizard exhibit, including a huge Komodo dragon. There were penguins and sea turtles, sea horses and eels. We had a great time, but we were also glad to be done shortly after lunch.

Our last destination for our Chicago stay was Millennium Park. Aunt Susan told us we had to take the kids there, so we took her seriously. Although we'd taken the subway and a free trolley to the aquarium, we walked to the park, through another park. We ran across Buckingham Fountain...pretty impressive. You can see Smunch there in the foreground for a sense of scale.It turned out to be a long walk, but I think the kids had been feeling like caged animals being in museum-type places for so much time. They ran most of the way and didn't complain once. Of course, we'd also promised they could get soaking wet at our new destination. First, we ran across the park's "band shell", the Pritzker Auditorium. It looked so interesting that I was sorry we'd missed the show that day.Next, we came across this sculpture, which I later learned is called the Cloud Gate. It's a big, jelly-bean-shape, stainless steel sculpture that reflects everything, including the skyline and anybody standing near it, or sitting under it...Our final destination was Crown Fountain, a truly bizarre piece of art, but a whole lot of fun. Not only did the kids have a great time, but we had a great time watching them. This fountain is two towers of glass bricks with a giant video monitor behind them. The videos that play are of the faces of various, nameless Chicagoans. They blink and twitch. And if you wait long enough, their mouths form an 'o' and water gushes out. At other times, water cascades down the face of the tower and collects in a rectangular area where kids going splashing around.It was the perfect way to wrap up our visit to Chicago. It may not have kept the kids from insisting on a trip to the hotel pool that night, but it was a great last day. Maybe next time we'll make it to Navy Pier and the Sears tower...

No comments: