August, 2000

Chicago is a really great city -- one of our favorites.  We'd been here before and had been so impressed with the city that we were anxious to come back again.  They tell us the weather is terrible in the winter, but every time we've been to Chicago it's been beautiful.  Here's the city skyline and marina off of Lake Shore Drive.  On a warm sunny day Chicago looks a lot like San Diego.

While we were in Chicago we met our good friends, Connie, Jake and Mat Carlson.  They were here from Washington state on vacation.  We spent the day with them and had a great time.

We visited Navy Pier; a long pier that goes into Lake Michigan.  It's filled with restaurants, shops and lots of "touristy" boat tours.  One of the attractions on Navy Pier is the Chicago Children's Museum.
This photo shows Max and Mat at the water-play area.  The kids can make dams, float boats, open and close locks, pump water and more. 

I think that Mitch, Max and their friends are getting a little too old for children's museums -- they seemed to take great joy in building contraptions that get the other kids wet instead of simply playing in the water. 

 Max is filling a bucket, then Mat will hoist it to the perfect height and release it. As it swings, the bottom hits the the other side of the tub and splashes water over anyone playing nearby.  The museum had a great aerodynamics experimentation lab.
The kids would stick various shaped foam rubber pieces together into an "airplane", then hoist it up three stories to the top of this tower.  There was a built-in stop watch to time the plane's descent.  (You can see a plane on the lift with the yellow dot).  They had fun building both the slow flying planes and the fast ones that dropped like a rock into the crowds below.
We purchased an annual membership at the Museum of Science in Albuquerque, New Mexico several months ago.  Almost all of the Natural History and Science Museums across the country have reciprocal plans that honor each others memberships, so we're able to go to a lot of museums.
Some displays we've seen over and over again, but it is always fun to see something new.

Chicago is full of wonderful museums.  We visited the Museum of Science and Industry and toured a real German U-boat.  This submarine was captured during World War II.

Another great museum is the famous Field Museum.  The building, built in the late 1800's, is spectacular.  Near the far end you can see the famous T-Rex, "Sue". 

This is a Natural History Museum.  Here you can see what seems to be the largest collection of plants, animals and cultural artifacts anywhere.  It would take you four full days to see everything at the Field Museum. 

Many of the exhibits date back to the late 1800's.  There are displays of hundreds of species of birds, mammals, plants, flowers, rocks and gems.  There is a spectacular exhibit on Ancient Egypt.

We spent a full day at the Field Museum in 1996 and spent this visit looking at some of the things we hadn't had time to see before.

The insect displays are really impressive.  The variety of moths and butterflies is spectacular.  There are large ones and tiny ones -- some look like giant eyes and others look like dead leaves.   The translucent multi-colored ones are beautiful. 

There were so many that it was hard to decided which one to put on this web page.  Max picked out this blue one.  It is about four inches from top to bottom. The beetle collection is also diverse in color and size. There must be over a thousand insects on display. 

Sue is the most intact T-Rex ever found.  The actual skull is too fragile to prop onto the fossilized skeleton, (the skull on the body in the photo to the left is an artificial replica).  The real skull is on display in the case above.

Sue has just started to go on tour so you may get a chance to see her at your local science center or museum.  We just ran into Sue again at the Boston Museum of Science a couple of days ago, (late September, 2000).

And here is "Sue".
Connie, Jake and Mat went to Ed Debevick's with us for dinner, (a wacky place we stumbled into the last time we were in Chicago).  We chose this restaurant for a little entertainment for the kids.  The staff can be rude and harassing while they serve you.   Our waitress on this visit was fairly mild compared to the guy we had five years ago.  He sat on our table and ate the kid's french fries off their plates.

It's also a 1950's theme.  The wait staff can be seen standing and singing on the counter in the background of this picture.

Sea Monkey
This guy at Ed Debevick's had some fun with Jake in the revolving door.  The boys were going around and around and around in the door.  He stepped up and stopped the door, trapping Jake inside of it.  Then, in an Eddie Murphy style, he very loudly said, "Hey look everybody, I caught a sea monkey."  "Look at my sea monkey."  "Hi little sea monkey" and on and on.  It was very, very funny.
We took an architectural tour of Chicago's buildings on a boat that cruises down the Chicago River.  Along the way our guide pointed out the particular styles, designs, history, and anecdotes of the buildings making up Chicago's beautiful skyline. 

This picture is of a tour boat called the Seadog.  They do high speed tours on Lake Michigan.  The boys really wanted to go on this tour instead of the architectural one.

The area along Lake Shore Drive is filled with parks -- lots of sidewalks and grass.  Here Cocoa tows Max on his roller blades down a walk. 

I could also say that this area is filled with Chicago.  Most of the rubble from the famous Chicago Fire was dumped here, used as fill, to form what is now the Chicago waterfront.  A visit to the Chicago Historical Museum is also a must if you come for a visit. 

One morning Max stepped outside and hollered for all of us to come running.  He had found a large Praying Mantis on the side of our trailer.

We taped a quarter on the trailer for comparison -- yes, that's a quarter!! 

Chicago at Night
from the end of Navy Pier

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