Well, we have been home a week now and I was itching to go somewhere. My plan was camping at Starved Rock, but neither Corey nor Henna jumped at the idea. We actually decided that last night we were going to have a small fire and camp in our backyard as the weather has been nice and cool night. We have camped a couple of times in our backyard and it has always been fun (one time it was after having the floors stained). But sometime yesterday we decided our beds would be a lot more fun. We also chose a board game over the fire.
What we did do was a little tourism in our hometown by traveling from Edison Park (our home neighborhood) to downtown to the Shedd Aquarium and then back via trains and boats. The train part was routine, the aquatic road not so much. It also was a little pricey ($8 an adult/ $5 a child one way east on the river to Navy Pier then the same fare on the lake or an all day pass for $22 an adult/ $9 a child). But it does take you on the same route as the Chicago Architectural tour (but with fewer people and no docent). Not surprisingly, on the weekend the river taxis are a tourist thing which made it fun for me to help people out (“Right, the train that goes around the loop is called the el. But to get to Wrigley from here you want to take the 151 bus.”) Last year we took a different river taxi to China Town. My take on the river taxis; going south to China Town is pretty ugly and smelly (China Town does have good eats but not much else to make a day of it). Headed east toward Michigan Avenue the view is nicer and, with the weather being perfect yesterday, offers a relaxed and comfortable ride. At Navy Pier you can transfer to museum campus bound vessel that works on the much choppier lake (and in doing so provides some great panoramic views of the downtown area). It did make me feel a little sea sick so we opted to walk back to the pier (and was later amazed to find out that what I thought was a one mile walk was actually closer to three).
The Shedd was super crowded but also super awesome. The line just to purchase tickets stretched on and on and on. Luckily for us our super cool niece works at the Shedd and had tickets waiting for us. Inside the Shedd was the familiar (to us) and the not so familiar (the jelly fish). A lot of people we know have raved about those jelly fish and we were pleasantly surprised to find them still floating around here and not some other Midwestern aquarium. With no brains, blood, or bones, they look like some primitive life form on Mars. Our tickets for the dolphin/ beluga whale show were too late for us to attend (but, thanks again to our delightful niece Abigail, they were also free) so we instead saw the show from the bottom of the tank viewing area. From that vantage point it is mostly upright tails punctuated by sudden dives to the bottom. Just before going we dropped our show tickets off on an unsuspecting family of three from Kentucky (who were grateful but seemed a little skeptical of our good intentions). We also later gave our two all day river tour passes away (again they seemed as surprised as they were happy). It always feels good to help out a fellow traveler.