Here are the kids waiting for the train: one reading and one playing video games - pretty typical. For our trip, I purchased the Chicago CityPass which allows admission to four different museums and either the Hancock Observatory or the Sears Tower.
The Seneca Hotel is a vintage hotel - which means old. But, it was incredibly clean, if a bit small. In fact, the bathroom was tiny. It all worked out, though, because Wild Man decided that it would be fun to sleep in the closet. Whatever.
Monday started with a trip to Shedd Aquarium. We really enjoyed it, but found that some of the school groups were quite disruptive. We also watched a 4-D Imax show. The show was really cool, and the spritzes of water weren't bothersome, but being poked in the back and having something wave against our ankles when the screen showed snakes was really weird. I wish we had thought to make sure to hit the Great Lakes exhibit, but we didn't. By the time, I thought about it, the kids were ready to move on - so move on, we did.
At lunchtime, we headed over to the Adler Planetarium (just a short walk away). We really enjoyed the star show and all the exhibits. I ended up not going to the time and space show that the kids thought was the best because I was feeling a headache coming on. We decided to go back to the hotel afterwards so I could take a nice long nap. Dinner was at the California Pizza Factory in Water Tower Place - delicious!
I figured we'd spend most of Wednesday at the Field Museum, but it turns out I was wrong. We enjoyed the exhibit about soil and bugs (although the models of bugs larger than humans was pretty creepy). The kids also enjoyed the Ancient Egypt exhibit. After the gems and minerals, though, the kids were pretty much done.
So, after some consulting with museum officials and a phone call to the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), we figured out how to get to the Museum of Science and Industry (which is not on the main museum campus). This was the best choice of the trip. The kids absolutely loved the museum. There was an exhibit of ships, including the ships of Columbus (which we've been recently studying). We saw a totally cool Omnimax film about South African wildlife, including sharks and seals. There was also great stuff about genetics.
I was skeptical that we would use everything that the CityPass had to offer, but it turned out that we did! Thursday morning, we got all packed up, trekked 6 blocks to get Dunkin Donuts (which we don't have here in our little town), and trekked back to the Hancock Observatory. On the way, we stopped to see the Water Tower that survived the Chicago fire. (BTW, our first night in the hotel, the Weather Channel showed a special on the Chicago fire - very timely).
Next stop was the Hancock Observatory. Ga'hoole Girl and I had been several years ago when we went to Chicago to go to the American Girl's store. This time was waaaaay better, though. When we got upstairs, we each got an Ipod- type device with headphones for a Multimedia Sky Tour. We entered the number on the wall/window where we were in the observation deck and listened to information about the history and characteristics of Chicago. We all had a blast, even though Mr. Math Tutor and I are mildly acrophobic. It was just amazing how much we could see of Chicago from that high up.
After the Hancock Observatory, we made our way to Union Station (despite losing one of our CTA passes and having to pay cash for a couple of fares). The waiting room in Union Station was probably the least pleasant part of the trip, but once we were on the train, we were happy again.
The trip was a rousing success!! I highly recommend visiting the Chicago museums if you get a chance. Next time we go, I think we'll check out the art museums and some different attractions. Nonetheless, it was a great four days. We're all glad to be home, though. My feet and legs are going to take days to recover, I'm afraid. Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others have spent their week!