After spending a peaceful week watching the corn grow at Grandpa's farm, we decided to experience the fast pace of the big city. We drove three hours north to visit my sister-in-law and her family in Chicago, and they were gracious enough to act as personal tour guides for us. Taking a hick family on a tour of Chicago must have been nerve-wracking for our street savvy Chicago native brother-in-law, but he was very patient with us. We stuck out like a sore thumb, but thankfully no-one shot or mugged us because of our lack of street credentials.
Coming from a rural mountain area where the nearest mall is 3 hours away, our family experienced many "firsts" on this vacation. First airplane, train, and subway rides. First time in a big city. First time in a sky scraper, etc. etc.
There was more diversity in the local pizza joint than we have in our whole town. We loved it!
Here are a few of the things we saw and experienced in Chicago:
This is the Chicago River, as seen from my brother-in-law's office building. It's a great view to have if you must be stuck in an office all day. I could watch people all day long from the window of his office, and subsequently, I would never get any work done if I was employed there.
Chicago boasts some of the finest architecture in the world, and "Marina City" on State Street was designed by Bertrand Goldberg to resemble two corncobs. They were the largest residential buildings in the world at the time of completion in1964, with 65 floors. They are unique cylindrical buildings in a sea of rectangles.
This is the inside of Holy Name Cathedral. It was gorgeous! Outside, we put our fingers in a bullet hole left in the concrete on the front of the Cathedral from a 1926 Mob shooting involving Al Capone. There is some pretty cool history in this city.
Our daughters LOVE American Girl books, and have dreamed of going to the American Girl Store for years to pick out their very own dolls. The store was 2 stories tall and included a high end restaurant, a doll hair salon, a doll hospital for injured dolls, a portrait studio, and hundreds of dolls to choose from. I was overwhelmed with all of the choices, but the girls knew just what they wanted. I nearly fainted at the price tags, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. It was definitely a highlight of their trip!
This is a shot of Chicago from Navy Pier. It was cold and foggy on that day, but the views from Lake Michigan were still fascinating. We ate churros, and walked to the end of the pier. The lake is so huge that it feels like looking over the ocean.
The city started to light up as we made our way back to the train.
We walked countless miles that day, and the kids did a terrific job of keeping up with the fast pace. We didn't get home until after 10p.m. that night.
The next day in the city, we spent the afternoon at Lincoln Park Zoo. I can't say enough good things about this place. It's free, the grounds are beautiful, the animals are close-up for the kids to see easily, and it has lots of educational information. For a homeschooling mom, this place was a gold mine! Pictures don't do it justice, but here are a few of my favorites!