We arranged for a fun weekend and agreed to meet the Nordlunds in Chicago. They were going to drive up from St. Louis to take an extended weekend vacation. Finding such a weekend in the summer can be tough with all of the camps, sports, and summer activities that tend to occupy the kids. Webbie reminded me that I had long told him how much I enjoyed Chicago as a kid and especially the Museum of Science and Industry.
We had prepped Pixie for the long stay without us. Our biggest concern is that she wouldn’t eat while we were gone. But Heidi and her family adapted our 30-minute demonstration on all of the methods we used entice her to eat and they found one that worked most of he days while we were gone.
Thursday, July 28
We departed the house at 4:40AM to catch our 7AM flight. We arrived at the airport with sufficient time for Nancy to get a Starbucks. We decide to check bags and I had sprung for First Class tickets (Nancy tends to avoid the grumpies if she gets more space to relax).
We landed about 40 minutes early on the tarmac but there were thunder and lightning rainstorms ongoing which caused them to close down the ramp. Since our gate required us to be guided in by ramp hand, we were stuck for nearly an hour before proceeding to the gate. The ramp slow down also slowed our baggage arrival and then rush hour traffic in the cab was also slow. Bottomline, it took almost as long to fly to Chicago as it took to go from touchdown to the hotel.
We stayed at the Magnificent Mile Embassy Suites which is about 2 blocks from the Magnificent Mile Marriott at which the Nordlunds were staying. We agree to meet them at 5:30PM at the happy hour in our lobby.
We met with for dinner with the Capozzi’s at the Seven Lions. It was great to see Heidi, Brian, Ella, and Julia. Kristi Garwood was even in town and was able to join us as well. It was fun hiking by the Lallapalooza as well in Grant Park.
Friday, July 29
We rendezvoused that morning for some shopping. Nancy took Althea for some clothes shopping and found a couple of cute outfits. The boys went to Under Armour (I got a new golf shirt) and then we boys hiked to the Navy Pier and back for the exercise and to stake it out for later that night.
Our big event today is the Cubs & Mariners game. We decide to take the Subway/El and arrive to see the opening of the game. Having lived in Seattle, the Nordlunds are pretty strong Mariners fans. I like them well enough being from the Pacific Northwest, but being born in Chicago makes me partial to the Cubs as well. So I decide to cheer for both sides. Since the Cubs won 12-1, I was the only one cheering.
We take the Subway/El back to Grand. That night we walked to Navy Pier, have dinner at Harry Caray’s Tavern and rode the Centennial Wheel, a major request from and favorite of Althea.
Saturday, July 30
Met at the Marriott at 10AM and Beth demonstrate her driving skills to get us to the Museum of Science and Industry. Between the built in GPS and two iPhone GPSs we only have to do 3 U-turns in city traffic. Not too bad.
As mentioned above, I love the MSI. Some of the main exhibits we did included the model train board (perhaps 100 feet long), coal mine, DARPA exhibit, and the U-Boat tour. I figure we got to see about 50% of the museum at a fast pace. We left at about 4PM sufficiently saturated.
We met for a quick dinner at Whole Foods, which was conveniently located across the street from our hotel It has a small eat-in area so we just went to the deli, picked out some good stuff, and had some treats. We then took Uber cabs to the Comedy Sportz club event. It was improv comedy, but limited to family style entertainment (no vulgarity). I think we all got some good laughs and appreciated the cleverness of some of the routines.
We took the El-Subway home and got to bed late quite late.
Sunday, July 31
We rendezvous again at the Marriott and Beth drives us to the Field Museum. On the way we were slowed waiting for a massive motorcycle parade to pass. We later found out that it was a Memorial Motorcycle Ride to Pay Tribute to Fallen Chicago Police Officers. It was quite fun and sometimes it just pays to be in the right place at the right time.
At the Field Museum we were able to see Sue (the dinosaur) , the Terracotta China exhibit, 3D China, and a variety of other exhibits.
We then walked over to the Shedd Aquarium, had lunch and did 3 of the shows there. This was a favorite of the kids. Items that the kids really seemed to like included the sea otters, dolphins, Beluga whales, penguins, and the pettable sting-rays. We departed about 4PM having seen about half of the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. All of these sites are large.
We got back at about 5PM and agreed to meet at the Hancock Building. We had 6:30PM reservations for the Signature Room on the 95th floor. We had a great view and good meal. We then walked back to the hotels and completed an awesome weekend in Chicago. SmugMug gallery is here: link. Blog gallery follows: