Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's All Happening at the Zoo: Lincoln Park Zoo

Because D.C. becomes such a zoo in the summer tourist season, we haven't had many chances to actually go to, um, the zoo.  Last time we went I think mom seriously considered putting one of those monkey backpack leashes on Kane.  Then she checked herself and decided we'd put the zoo on hold for a bit.  So we were really excited when she said we were going to get a chance to be those zoo tourists in Chicago.  We hit up the Lincoln Park Zoo one Wednesday and because we got there early we also got to check out a few stands at the Green City Market (which is held directly across from the zoo on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 am - 1 pm).  We got to try out some really yummy apple cider donuts (which is good because we didn't get a chance to check out the Oak Park Farmer's Market or its legendary donuts at all during our stay) and snagged a smoothie and some crepes, but when mom heard their wasn't a coffee joint up and running, we hit the road.

Perfect timing because we showed up at the zoo farm's milking and cow feeding session.  Which was awesome.  And then we got to pet some goats.  And then those were pretty much the last animals we saw.  A few zebras here and there and some gorillas.  But we couldn't find many animals at the zoo.  No worry - we are animals enough on our own.  We had a nice time walking around, looking at the pretty gardens, listening to music, and had a good (especially for the price) lunch at the zoo's Park Place Cafe.  We even had a few sips of straight sugar water out of our cute animal thermoses before mom realized that it wasn't water and made us empty them out.  Boo.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Cubbies Game

I got a special treat the last day of our vacation -- I got to go to a Cubbies game, during my naptime, and without Cami!  Plus Grandpa, Uncle Tim, and Police Office Nora Jane, my new bestie, came too!  And she bought me a giant Cubs paw (on top of already giving me an official Chicago Police Department hat).  I was in heaven.  I was definitely into the peanuts and hot dogs (and Nora) more than most of the game itself (although I liked cheering), but it was great weather and the Cubbies won (which we heard in the car on the way home - we jetted early - there was only so much missed naptime I was going to tolerate).  We got down there early and had a super yummy lunch at Goose Island Brewpub in Wrigleyville (a somewhat related sidenote -- mom and dad had a much anticipated dinner out at Frontera Grill earlier in the week.  apparently the only good thing about the dinner was the Goose Island Marisol brew.  save yourself 45 minutes and don't sit on hold to make a rezzie there 8 - 10 weeks in advance.  just walk in to the bar and get a Marisol).  Bucking the week's hot dog trend, mom introduced dad to Chicago's Italian Beef -- he liked it, but said it still doesn't beat a Philly Cheesesteak.  Not only did I put away some minisliders, but I still ate a dog at the game.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Penny for a Spool of Thread: Chicago Children's Museum

After we spent a rainy morning on Lake Michigan, we got to stretch our sea legs at the Chicago Children's Museum (also located on Navy Pier).  If you are a member of any of the participating Association of Children's Museums (including Port Discovery in Balto and Philly's Please Touch Museum -- we alternate membership to these two), you get reciprocal membership to the Chicago Museum.  If not, it's $12 per person (adult or child) and the first Sunday of every month is free (for those 15 and under).  Thursday evenings (5 - 8 pm) are also free for everyone.  Even so, we think it's probably worth it to pony up the cash because it was AWESOME and we could have easily spent much more time here.

Kane loved the Chicago Fire Department Exhibit and the Skyline exhibits.  I was OBSESSED with Michael's Museum and I could have spent hours playing with this small "toy" made from what we think was a drawer/rack for spools of thread.  Mom and Aunt Carrie and working on a prototype because Cousin Jack loved it, too.  We're really into honing our fine motor skillz at the moment.  We never even got to check out WaterWays.  Had we had any bad weather on our vacaye, we definitely would have gone back. But we just didn't want to go indoors!

Word to the wise -- there appeared to be nowhere to really eat inside of the Museum (either a restaurant or lunch room).  There are many many places to eat elsewhere in Navy Pier, however.  Can you guess where we ate?  America's Dog, baby.  Because you can never eat too many Chicago hot dogs.  Well, maybe you can.  We haven't seen mom whipping up any dogs since we've been back in D.C.

Friday, August 26, 2011

And Now I'm Swimming: Ridgeland Common Pool

One of the few days we stayed local on our Chi-town vacaye, we got to hit up mom's old pool -- Ridgeland Common (where you can also ice skate during the winter).  It looks A LOT like it did when mom used to ride her bike there, although mom claims the locker rooms have been revamped (but still smell exactly the same) and the kiddie pool, too.  Too bad she wouldn't get us any of those "super ropes" about which she and Aunt Carrie were reminiscing.  It was also too bad that the daily rate to swim was $9 - PER PERSON, including me - and I'm 15 months old.  Well, if you lived close by you could get a Family Pass (which would also get you in to Rehm Pool).  We had a fun time at family swim, even though we had a bit of a hard time sharing our water toys that we brought.  We loved the kiddie pool, but Kane and I both wanted to go in the big kid pool, too.  Apparently Kane was making the hard sell for daddy to let him go off of the lower diving board and even tried to climb up it once.  Faker - I know he wouldn't really do it.  On the other hand, if that death trap of a high diving board was still in at Rehm, I'd be off that thing lickity split.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pork and Beans: Millenium Park

So I don't know if you've ever been to Millenium Park in the summer, but it was pretty much the happiest place on earth for me (and it will probably remain that way because mom refuses to take us to someplace called "Disney World").  We had PERFECT weather and actually ended up going to the park two different days.  We were lucky enough to hit up the last few days of the Family Fun Festival -- every day for a whole month in the summer, Target sponsored a tent containing a variety of art projects, science projects, cool building materials, a huge library, and wherein artists from the Old Town School of Folk Music performed FREE concerts.

We started off both days at the park with the FFF, then hit up the "bean" (more properly known as Cloud Gate), and then splashed and played in Crown Fountain (we wised up and wore our swimsuits the second day).  One day we walked through Lurie Garden until we were lured into Jay Pritzker Pavillion by the sounds of some sweet jazz music (ANOTHER FREE CONCERT).  Turns out jazz is right up my alley - energetic, frenetic, and my dance moves fit right in.  The second day we ordered takeout from The Plaza at Park Grill -- hot dogs, obvi (we ate more cased meat last week in Chicago than can possibly be good for anyone) -- and listened to a full orchestra and choir rehearse for a concert later that evening (that would be our FOURTH FREE concert in the park in two days).  It was "awesome."