We had breakfast and then a swim, just to start our second day in Chicago off right. I’ve been assured by some parenting magazine that you don’t need to wait half an hour after eating and, since I needed a prod to get the kids focused on eating their breakfast, I chose to accept this advice. We were kind of slow though and ended up rushing to the Adler Planetarium. On the way, Dylan said that he liked Chicago a lot but it had no swings and he really likes swings. I made a point of keeping my eyes on the lookout for swings but we never did see any.
We got to the Adler Planetarium at about 9:58 for Elmo’s 10:00 walk around. Really, he was standing at the end of a line-up corral waiting for kids to come and have their picture taken with him. We were behind only four other families and that made it worth that spurt of rushing. There was an extra fee for viewing the One World, One Sky movie, or I should say there was a fee since our admission was covered by a reciprocal agreement that’s part of our membership to the National Museum of Science and Technology. The 23-minute film, which was projected onto the dome-shaped screen, was magical from the kids’ point of view. There was enough motion that I had to close my eyes for a bit so that I didn’t throw up. Reid asked me a couple of times if our chairs had moved. She’s never been to a movie in a cinema since Aunt Karin took her to the first 90 seconds of The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. After the movie, I told Reid and Dylan that Elmo was a newcomer to Sesame Street and they seemed dubious. Elmo, who was on his way back to his room for a rest, overheard and looked disdainful. Okay, he had the very same expression as he always does, since his head has no moving parts but I imagined he thought I was old school and not in a good way. I noticed in our conversations that Reid refers to the big yellow bird as “Big Bert”. I told her the correct pronunciation but she is having trouble making the change. Habits are hard to break.
We looked at a few displays, including one of the robots sent to explore Mars, and did a couple of crafts. First, the kids attached a view of the globe to a paper that showed night and dark to help them see that when it’s dark in Beijing, it’s dark in Chicago and vice-versa. It’ll be good to use the next time that Ken is Afghanistan. They also decorated tubes to represent new modules for a space station. It’s pretty close to how they add on to the International Space Station. We also spent time admiring ourselves in some distortion mirrors that represented the effects black holes have on the space around them. Or at least I think that’s what we were supposed to learn.
After lunch we walked along the steps near the planetarium and then along a lake front path, searching for the Field Museum of Natural History. We stopped at a small park that was astronomy-themed. The kids climbed and played while Uncle Chris and I rested in the shade.
Once we were seated, we noticed that the Field Museum of Natural History was just across from where we sat. In the Crown Family Playlab, Reid dressed up as a couple of different animals – she can’t walk by a costume, my girl – and they examined some artifacts, including a mask, chest plates, etc. Reid sat and filled in a scientist’s observation sheet about two different kinds of fossils. She had to record the measurements, the name, etc. and draw the fossil she was observing. I’m going to try to remember to make and take a sheet like that the next time we go for a walk in the woods. Reid and Dylan looked in some drawers that had some artifacts in them and then moved into the dinosaur area. Dylan, in particular, enjoyed the dinosaur puppets. We went to the main part of the museum to see Sue, the world’s largest, most-complete Tyranosaurus Rex, galleries of taxidermied animals in small tableaux – old school for a nature museum but I prefer them to newer displays which rely on computer screens and videos and less on the majesty of the natural world. (Like is being done at the Canadian Nature Museum) Reid and Dylan flitted from one to next, tableau to the next. We would have spent more time if we’d started at the Field Museum and we’ll definitely go back another time.
We went looking for a bus but they were, rerouted due to Taste of Chicago and we ended up walking about an hour back to hotel. I suspect that we may well have spent the same time in a bus because of the heavy traffic. I encouraged the kids to sleep in their strollers while Uncle Chris and I pushed them along. Dylan resisted the motion but Reid succumbed and she napped with her head flopping around, poor thing.
We had supper at Heaven on Seven, a Louisiana-style restaurant. We started with bread with sweet butter or bean spread. Uncle Chris and I each had a bowl of gumbo and then shared a Taster plate of beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, bbq chicken with sweet potato polenta, coleslaw and black beans and rice on the side. We’d asked whether there was enough food to share and the waitress assured us we’d probably have food to take with us. She was right. Reid and Dylan each ordered cheese burgers and fries and got an ice cream sandwich for dessert, though Reid sent hers back unopened. I’d definitely go back to Heaven on Seven but I’d try to entice Reid to try some Louisiana food.
Everyone was ready for bed by the time we got back to the hotel. That’s a good way to end a day of touristing, isn’t it?