Monday we woke up bright and early, ate our complimentary breakfast at the hotel and headed out for Shedd Aquarium. This was the thing I was most excited to see while in Chicago. It took us about an hour to get down there, the morning traffic was horrible! We never came to a complete stand still but it was sure close a few times! Who would want to drive in the junk every day? Not this girl! I was starting to miss our ‘no traffic, no traffic lights’ town.
We got parked and made our way into Shedd’s. We had some pre-purchased tickets that we were wanting to upgrade. We went in the side entrance because of having the stroller – no lines there! The main entrance was already backing up with a line. We went in and the poor gal at the counter couldn’t figure out how to upgrade our tickets on her computer. She ended up giving us entrance to the string ray exhibit for free because of our wait – awesome!
We started off walking around looking at the wall aquariums. It kind of reminded me of the DNR exhibit of river fish at the State Fair. After a while we decided to make our way down to the Abbott Oceanarium where we were going to watch an aquatics show. It was pretty awesome, there was a wall of huge windows that overlooked Lake Michigan. It was beautiful to look at while waiting for the show to start. All of a sudden the windows were covered with curtains and the show started.
For my entire life I have wanted to see an aquatics show with dolphins and whales at Sea World. This show totally fit the bill. I actually teared up from happiness of seeing this! There were dolphins doing tricks, then beluga whales came out and did tricks. There was sea lion that came out of the water and walked down the walkway in front of the audience! It was nuts! This was BY FAR my most favorite part of our entire trip. So so cool!
We walked around exploring some more, grabbed a bite to eat, then went outside to see the sting rays. It was pretty neat, they had a bib pool set up outside with about 15 sting rays in it and we could put our hands in the water and feel/pet the rays as they swam by. So amazing! They were very slimy and the pool area smelled very fishy. They had their stingers taken off so no worries about being Steve Irwined during the deal. Andy and the boys really liked this part.
We stuck around a short time after this then headed out – we were there for about 3 hours.
Next we went farther up the shore to Navy Pier. It was so dang windy, like 30 mph winds with 40 mph gusts, at least. It was about 70 degrees but felt closer to 60 because of that wind off the lake. We were not dressed appropriately so froze the whole time, which meant we didn’t get to enjoy ourselves much and didn’t stay long. We did, however, go up in the giant Ferris Wheel that is famous at Navy Pier. I had a slight panic attack while riding it. I have become quite the weenie as I’ve gotten older and do not like heights, do not like being on a ride stuck in a slow moving car while the wind pushes it back and forth, do not like taking my squirmy baby up on that high thing with the constant fear he’ll slip out of my arms and fall to his poor little death. Yea, I’m a bit overdramatic and I don’t apologize for it! I totally freaked out. Andy was so worried about me, said I looked pretty pale and kept telling me to breath. Poor Brennan was sitting next to Andy across from me and was watching the drama unfold – he looked a little worried about me. I survived and enjoyed the second half of the ride as we were coming back down. The view was amazing and I didn’t get to enjoy it much because of my freak out. Luckily Andy was able to snap a few pictures for me.
I look pretty cool and calm in that picture, don’t I? What you can’t see is my white-knuckling the bars across the windows, ha ha!
After the freak out ride we went inside to a few stores. My 4 boys all got new Chicago Bears t-shirts and the little guys spent their money from Grandma and bought some souvenirs. We left the store and headed back to the car. It was super hard to push the stroller, I kept thinking it was from the wind and the packages we had bought and put in the basket below Tate. Just as we got back to the car I realized it was from none of this – I had a completely flat tire on the stroller! While in the sports store I ran over a tack that holds on those “don’t steal anything” censors. Great! That put a stop to all walking fun we would/could have in town and pretty much shut down the rest of our vacation. We loaded up, headed out into the rush hour traffic and went back to the hotel.
Instead of finding something new and different and “Chicago” for supper we went to Outback Steakhouse. It was good and we got our bellies full. As we were leaving the parking lot we look over and spot a nice, new Panchero’s restaurant. This is Andy’s MOST favorite place to eat, he was totally crushed we didn’t see it sooner and eat that for supper. LOL!
We went back to the hotel and let the boys swim for an hour before baths and bed. Day 2 was another day full of memories. I’ve never questioned living in rural Iowa, EVER, but driving in that terrible traffic and being down town in that big ol’ city made me miss my quiet home and know I will never ever live in a big city, ever. I was getting pretty homesick by the end of this day.