"Welcome to Chicago!"
That was the greeting we received outside the Sears Tower on Wednesday, our second day in the city.
I had to laugh. Did we look so touristy? Maybe, with a stroller, two kids and a backpack on both C and I? Although I imagine any city dweller would be carrying the same, especially with kids in tow! But somehow the man knew. Oh well. Yes, we were tourists for two fun-filled days for our first family vacation! And we look forward to future visits to a wonderfully awesome city!
First off I have to say the trip went smoothly, thanks to my loving hubby who researched the places we wanted to see, where we could get tickets, even buying them on-line, looking up and booking a hotel, and, very importantly, researching the Chicago Transit Authority system, which was our mode of transportation during the visit.
We opted for the CTA because we did not want to have to deal with traffic, headaches and nightmares associated with traffic, maps, finding parking and parking fees, etc. It was so nice to jump on the train and bus and just go and get to where we wanted to be. Yes, it took us an hour from our hotel to get into the city but honestly, that was the same amount of time we would have spent on the road and with the headaches of traffic and parking! I highly recommend CTA! It was so cool too! It was a great way to travel and it was a lot of fun! If I were a city dweller, I would definitely take CTA to get around!!
C was so wonderful in planning out the trip. He found a hotel in the Chicago O’Hare area that was a block walking distance from a CTA station! What a perk! And he read all the guides and schedules and maps for CTA so that we knew where we needed to be, the stops we needed to take, etc. We all became pros at the system by the end of the trip! And we will definitely go that route for future trips! Thanks, sweetie!!
Secondly, the girls were great! They really enjoyed the trip and were well-behaved. We had a couple issues with M but overall she was pretty good, held our hands and listened. I don’t know how much of the trip really stuck with them but I am sure we’ll hear details out of the blue. S already figures she and M will live in an apartment in the city.
As I mentioned earlier, our hotel was in the Chicago O’Hare Airport area. I expected to see and hear airplane traffic but you should have seen my jaw drop and my eyes grow big and round at the sight of a HUGE jet flying right over our hotel to land at the airport! OMG!!! S was quick to point out that it was a good thing the plane didn’t hit the hotel. Seriously!
But once inside (and there for our extended stay) any concerns about airplanes overhead went away. The hotel was very nice and clean. The rooms were big and comfortable, with enough room for a pack-n-play as well as the two beds. And it was quiet inside. Whew! There might have been little airplane noises but the air traffic patterns changed all the time so we did not have planes over us all the time. In many cases, they were far in the distance. And once in a while they took off over us. But the girls, M especially, never tired of looking at the planes.
We had such a great time at the sites. On Tuesday we went to the Shedd Aquarium, my all-time favorite place!! We saw lots of fish, coral reefs and, the best part, Beluga whales and dolphins!! The newly renovated Ocenarium is cool. It was rainy and windy on Tuesday (I was extremely glad I packed long sleeved shirts and jackets!), so we scrapped the plans to go to Millennium Park. But that was OK because we spent all morning and most of the afternoon at the aquarium. The girls missed naps, which we figured would happen, so M fell asleep on the bus from the Museum Campus and through the whole trip back to the hotel, which was about an hour on the train. S only got a half hour of sleep on the train but that was OK.
Wednesday was a beautiful, sunshiny day; perfect for a trip to the Sears Tower and then to Millennium Park. After lunch (Chicago hot dogs!) at the park, we got on the bus back to the Museum Campus, where we went to the Adler Planetarium. It was probably a little over the girls’ heads in some parts, M especially, but there were some cool hands-on things and then we saw a kids-specific star show with some characters from Sesame Street. It was neat!
We had such a great time together! There is so much of the city I would have loved to take the girls to but this was a good taste for them. I look forward to future trips, maybe even next year!
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