S: SUMMER 2011
FC: Chicago Trip Summer 2011
1: First Night in Burr Ridge | Our first day, we all got there mid-afternoon and unpacked. We stayed local and went to a pizza place to eat, visit, and play games. | It was great to get to see everyone again, and the kids were playing together in no time! The food was good and so was the company!
2: Playing in the Park After eating dinner, we decided to find a park where the kids could play and run off some energy since they were in the car all day. It was a beautiful night and it worked out great!
3: The first night we had the pool all to ourselves, so it was nice, peaceful, and refreshing. However, on our last night, there was a "party" of kids that were so loud and crazy...we didn't stay too long! | Splashin' it Up
4: The Brookfield Zoo was amazing! We spent about 5 hours there, and probably saw about 1/2 of the zoo because it was so huge. We got special tickets with 3 extras so we chose the dolphin show, the stingray exhibit, and the children's zoo. The Great Bear Wilderness was cool with huge Grizzly Bears, Polar Bears, Buffalo, and more. When we were leaving, the tiger and lions finally woke up and gave some enormous roars! This zoo has to be among the country's best!
5: The Dolphin Show | A splashing good time! The dolphins did some outstanding tricks and ranged from 4-29 years old!
8: Stingray Experience | All of the kids, and even a few of us adults, got to touch the cownose stingrays. They felt like soft rubber, and were only about 1-2 feet across. There was a cute baby too!
10: A Beautiful Walk
11: Gino's East Pizza The first night we were all together, we decided to do it "Chicago style" and get pizza. You can sign the walls and almost everything else in Gino's East, so everyone got busy doing that pretty quick. It was hard to find places that had open spots to write though. Kelly had a hot pink sharpie that everyone used, and it showed up pretty well...next time we need white paint pens to show up on all of the black :)
12: Navy Pier | On Friday, we all met at Navy Pier to enjoy the sunny day. Some of us did the Ferris Wheel, a boat tour, the hands-on children's museum, shopping, etc. There were so many boats out on the lake too - it was beautiful!
13: The Boat Tour | The tour taught us all about the buildings and bridges in Chicago. One homeless man lived under a bridge on the canal and tapped into the city's power to get the internet, cable, power, etc. The city also can't paint the bridges because then they would be too heavy for the little engines to lift...it also costs $1000 each time to lift it!
14: The boat tour was on the SEADOG Speedboat, and was 90 min. - 75 for the architecture/15 for speedboat time. For those sitting on the outside, the speedboat driving got them a little wet, but not bad! On the canal, there is a fountain that sprays out and is supposed to reach the south side to "join" the north and south side of Chicago in harmony...however due to wind, it never really reaches.
15: Thomas the Train
16: Exploring Downtown
17: Brendan was scared to go on the Ferris Wheel, but then he finally decided to try it. He LOVED it as soon as he was on and wanted to do it again. In the first car was Derek, Julie, Peytan, Callie, and Rowan. Our car had my dad, Kelly, Aunt Kathy, Jaden, Brendan, and me. What a beautiful view of the city from that high up! | Navy Pier Ferris Wheel
18: Splash & Learn | Aiden was amazed with all of the water activities. He got his raincoat on and went right in through the tunnel. He found the water-spouting whale first that was supposed to play music depending on which hole you stopped, but he just liked how it would squirt him. Then it was off to the course for boats and ducks to flow through...and there he stayed to play!
19: Water, Water Everywhere!
20: Aiden loved "driving" the different cars, playing in forts, and exploring other hands-on fun!
22: American Girl Dinner | A beautiful time with our beautiful dolls
23: Julie, Derek, Kathy, John, Payton, Callie, and Rowan all went to the special American Girl dinner. It was a fancy meal where even the dolls dressed up and joined the table in their chairs, with their own mini-place settings and food.
24: It's The Little Things In Life That Matter | This truck was right outside our hotel window every night, so since I love monster trucks and Grave Digger, we HAD to get a picture!
25: The last day we went to Millennium Park where we saw a fitness class on the grounds, walked through the garden, made wishes in the fountain, were amazed by the reflecting orb, and played in the family tent area.
26: Millennium Park We had fun in the family tent reading, hearing Pinocchio tell a story, playing hula hoops and bean-bag toss...until the boys got hungry & cranky that is!
28: John Hancock Building Observation Deck
29: The Chicago Field Museum | Learning, Exploring, Having Fun!
30: Chicago is one fun city to just hang out & explore
31: So long Chicago... see you next summer! | Kathy - Chicago is now my favorite US city (next to Omaha). We had a ball! The boat time was my favorite part, we learned all about the windy city. | Alyssa - I loved how Brendan at first didn't want to, but then finally went on the ferris wheel and even wanted to go again! I'll also remember Aiden taking his first ride as a big boy on Thomas. | Bruce - bunking with Brendan and the architecture boat tour...it was relaxing and amazing to learn about all of that history! | Derek - I loved the architectural tour - it was cool to see the buildings of Chicago from the river. | Julie - Dinner at the American Girl Place was wonderful! It was fun to share a girly dinner with the family. Shopping on Michigan Avenue was great too! | John - Good pizza and great company, except for the last night in the hotel. | Kelly - A memorable time was walking downtown...I LOVE that! Also when Jaden and I stopped to talk to the firefighters and I showed him the subway system. | Brian - Being proud of Brendan riding the ferris wheel and hanging out with both boys at the Hands-on Children's Museum at Navy Pier...also the chaotic pool the last night at the hotel! | Favorite