08 August, 2009

Chicagoland FUN!!

The weary travelers have returned! Whew... what a whirlwind!! It was 4 days PACKED with stuff! Chicago is such a great city with tons to do. If you plan it right, you can do FREE things all day!! :o) We had some great experiences, saw some great sites, and took in some history as well. We managed to have some fun in there too! Hubby got his work done and managed to take in a lot of the sites with us! The baby did great! There are a lot of pictures, so I broke them down into sections and put them into slide shows for easier viewing--- and to not make this a longer post than it will already be! So here goes!!!! (it may take some time to load... be patient!)

Day 1:
Arrive Chicago in the morning! We went directly to the Lincoln Park Zoo. FREE all day every day! That was amazing that a big Zoo like Lincoln Park was free for the community. Completely run by sponsors, volunteers, and donations! The kids loved it. I think our favorite was the monkeys!! Wonder why! My boy was dying to see the penguins, but the exhibit was out of order! Bummer, but he moved on!

After the Zoo, we drove to the mall that hubby had to work at for this event. Daddy had a meeting and we ate lunch. After the mall, we went and checked into our hotel! It was very pretty and posh, but not very family friendly. The rooms were like cracker boxes. The pool was beautiful, but really cold. It was definitely for the business traveler who just wanted to use it to do laps! I think we only spent about 20 minutes in the pool!

Day 2:
We woke up with Princess practically pushing us out the door! This was American Girl Place day! After walking down the Magnificent Mile for 6 blocks, we arrived! She was in AWE!! She kept repeating, "I can't believe I am finally here"! "I never thought this day would come!" I didn't expect myself to be so emotional about the whole thing. I was a bit teary eyed watching her emotion! She has waited SO long for this and has earned it with her thumb sucking issues! She is doing so great and really deserved this! This place is crazy! A doll hair salon, a doll hospital, matching outfits for you and your doll, every thing under the sun for your doll, and the American girl cafe that you can have lunch w/ your doll! (too expensive for us and couldn't get a reservation anyway!)

They have a great little section with all the historical dolls in the "museum" for the girls to see their favorite characters that they have been reading about in the books. They are all set up in their historical environments set up to mimic their era! Very cool! While we were there , they were having a little free craft for the girls to make their own bookmarks! My poor boy was pretty much bored out of his mind and really didn't want to be there, but he was a fantastic sport. Good thing he brought his nintendo ds with him. If we didn't ... don't worry ... you can check some out like a library for the boys at the customer service counter!!

After American girl, which she hasn't put down since, we met daddy for dinner! We ate at Portillos!! Very good food!! Chicago has some great dining options! We did Portillos, Billy Goat Tavern, and Gino's East Pizza!! When on vacation, we refuse to eat anywhere we can eat at home! Time to try new and exciting!

After dinner, we were so wiped out ... we went back to the hotel! We were going to go down to the Navy Pier for the fireworks, but amazingly we could see them beautifully from our hotel room shooting off right over the pier !! The fireworks lit up Lake Michigan so great!!

Day 3:
We went to the pool in the morning for a bit and then met daddy for lunch! After lunch, we walked down to Millennium Park! What a great park! They had this crazy art piece their that we called the silver bean! Well, that is what it looked like! The kids had fun looking at themselves in it! The coolest part of the park was the "fountains" ! Well, water wall is more like it! It is a giant wall with water coming down. Inside the wall there is a face on it that "spits" out water periodically! So cool!! There is also an ice skating rink they fill with ice in the winter! Skating in the park... how romantic. In the summer, it is a very nice place to eat!!

After the park, we went and took a water taxi ride to Navy Pier! What a fun place!! Tons to do and see. After catching a couple of shows, we went to the Children's Museum! FREE after 5 pm!! The kids loved all the hands on stuff to do , did I mention it was free?!

Day 4:
Check out day was day 4! This was the only day it rained, so it was a good day to do indoor stuff. Frankly it was such a nice change from our 94 humid weather! Very comfortable! We left the hotel and headed back to the mall that daddy was working at. There we found my boy's heaven!! Legoland Discovery center!!! Most all the exhibits were made out of legos. They had a couple rides, shows, and workshops!! He was loving life!

Soon it was time to head to the airport! What should have been a 45 minute ride to the airport took us 2 hours and 10 minutes. GOOD GRIEF. It thought Orlando traffic was bad. You ain't seen nothing!! We really thought we were going to miss our flight. The kids were AMAZING. They were troopers as we RAN through the airport. They helped with the luggage, and really stepped up to help when we needed them to !! I think they were as ready to come home as we were! We made our flight with literally seconds to spare. We didn't have time to get dinner before our flight, but the nice flight attendant gave us some extra peanuts! We were so tired when we got home, we collapsed at 1 am!!

We had such a great time! The kids really loved that crazy city. (upper and lower .... what? The city apparently has two levels. We kept getting turned around!) It is so beautiful and bustling-- watch when you cross the street, you may get honked at or killed!! I leave you with some miscellaneous pics of the city!!


  1. He & Me + 3 said...
    Loved all the pictures. We love Chicago and the AG store. What a fun trip you all had. I had no idea that the zoo was free. We will definitely be hitting that next time we go there.
    Glad you are back safe and sound.
    Under the Florida Sun said...
    Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful.. crazy.. and exciting time!! Now, time for a vacation from your vacation.. LOL
    The Real Me! said...
    Wow! Jammed packed fun. I love it. You make me want to go visit there!!!
    Jessica said...
    Looks like you guys had a GREAT time! I have always wanted to go to Chicago. American Girl is great we just took Allie to the one in NYC, it was so much fun! Oh and I can't believe how big monkey is getting, she is looking like a big girl!
    Kathy C. said...
    Oh Kelly, my goodness you did have a full time of it! Sounds like you all had a great time, and there was something for everyone to enjoy. :)
    Julie said...
    What a great trip. It looks like everyone had a great time!!!

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