Chicago, Day 2. (See previous post Art and Architecture Make Chicago A Sure Hit! for Day 1.)
I was off and running. I had less than 11 hours to squeeze in a full day of sites before I had to get on a plane back home. I had used two of my five City Pass admission tickets and wanted to use the rest. Hopped on the Double Decker bus and got off at the Museum Campus stop.
I hit the Shedd Aquarium first. Get your tickets in advance! I had VIP access and bypassed this line:
This is a great place to take kids and there are plenty of them there, this is a warning or a tip, take it how you want. The layout of the aquarium is very unique and the building is downright gorgeous. It is kind of like a wheel and different experiences are the spokes of the wheel. The “hub” is the 90,000 gallon Pritzker Caribbean Reef, which is a large circular tank.
I toured the entire aquarium in a couple of hours, including watching a short movie in the Phelps Auditorium 4-D Experience and one of the shows in the Abbott Oceanarium. The Oceanarium is splendid. The entire back side is made of large glass windows that allow you to see right out onto Lake Michigan. It is fabulous. You can also peek behind you and see the city skyline!
During my wanderings I found Nemo! And I spied Peach too, she is a bit older though and has some age spots. They also had those pesky anemones Marlin was always complaining about, these suckers were big and they glowed. Beware!
Love, love, love gift shops. This place had some t-shirts that were fab! Here are a couple of my faves:
And I can’t wrap up my visit to the Shedd Aquarium without sharing a picture of the Man with Fish fountain. You do not have to pay admission to the aquarium to enjoy the fountain.
I realize this is backward, but I love the front of the aquarium and it is identical to the front of my next destination, the Field Museum. I love the columns used in Greco-Roman architecture!
The Field Museum is something to behold. It has an amazing collection and I could have spent all day in there. However, I couldn’t really because I had one more destination to visit and had to catch a plane.
I was welcomed by the T. rex Named Sue. This was the second time I came to face-to-face with Sue, because OMSI hosted this exhibit when my oldest son was 4 or 5 years old. He is in college now. Sue is fascinating because she is the largest and the most complete T. rex ever discovered.
I double majored in college – journalism and cultural anthropology. I hadn’t done any research on the Field Museum so I was beyond ecstatic when I discover The Ancient Americas Exhibit. I could have probably spent half a day in this experience alone. I took a class at San Francisco State University on the ancient Maya, and they had some authentic artifacts along with some reproductions (the Calendar Round) and a diarama (the North Acropolis of Tikal.)
I stopped in the Grainger Hall of Gems and though for a second about pulling a Pink Panther on these bad boys:
The Chalmers Topaz is 5899.5 karats! Emerald is my birthstone, so I had some serious emerald envy here. I also had to check out the Hall of Jade. My great-grandmother left a couple of fantastic pieces of jade jewelry behind that have made their way to me. I recently started wearing them to work and have received so many compliments. I was never very interested in jade, but have found out so much about it, it is definitely intriguing!
Check out what special exhibits the Field Museum is featuring. Some might be free, some might be ticketed. Plan this experience in advance. I wish I had!
My next stop was 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory.) Great views of the city and of the water on a sunny day. Perfect view of Navy Pier too. Saying my goodbyes to Chicago on a high note!
If I go back to Chi town I will definitely revisit the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum. I would plan to meander each one for an entire day. Wear comfortable shoes, bring at least a bottle of water, your camera and a notebook and enjoy!