Monday, July 7, 2014

The Museum Day, Chicago Day 2


Our first big day in Chicago was Wednesday.  We decided to make that our Museum day.  We drove downtown, it took us about 45 minutes to find Museum row.  Here in Indy, we'd become members of the Indiana State Museum, and as such we were allowed admission into some sciencey museums out of state.  It just so happens a few of those were in Chicago, such as: Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry.  I also wanted to see the Aquarium, I thought the boys would like that one too.  In Chicago, Adler, Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum are all located on the same little peninsula, so we decided to park in one place, and hit all three.  Go Big or Go Home!

I'm quite proud of myself for this one.  
It's a Panorama of downtown Chicago from the museum row.  
I made it through HugIn, I'm not very good at making panorama shots, but I think this one turned out pretty. 
It certainly was taken at a beautiful time of day.  

The boys were fresh and ready, the sky was blue.  They were saying it was going to rain. Pshaw.  It was gorgeous out.  Though honestly, whether rainy or sunny, it was a great time to start doing the museums of Chicago!

Daddy and his boys out front of Adler Planetarium.  
When I asked him what he wanted to do most, (first or best) he told me he wanted to go to the Planetarium.  And eat pizza. Oh yes, Chicago is the home of good food.  But by the time we got up and moving and all packed up for the day, we were hungry again by the time we got there.  So we parked under Soldier Field (where the signs led, not my first choice) and walked all the way out to Adler, snacking all the way.  That gave us some energy for the cuteness to come.  

The boys explore the surface of mars, there was a rover going all around these little globes, and they are a lot harder to guide than you'd think.  

Sam checks out the Space Potty.   

Yup, Daddy is our favorite geek! 

Christopher got to hold a meterorite.  It was quite heavy, made with a lot of iron. 
And the young whippersnapper (who was probably a college student) made me feel really stupid when I started asking questions.  Well, he was trying to engage the kids, but Chris touched it and moved on, I was more interested, but I am not 5, and while I used to know things like what elements traditionally meteorites were made of, I've not slept much since then.  I think a lot of scientists don't have people skills, but most of the time, companies find the friendly ones and put them out front.  Now if you want to know what my kids have eaten in the last 24 hours, I can rattle that information off to you like nobody's business... but the whippersnapper acted like I should know better.  Um, hello, why do you think I'm here?  

Tell you what, we'll leave it all up to Jacob. 
He's the one that was having a fine time spinning Neptune around, and altering the length of its day, and starting storms within.  He was having a lot of fun once we let him out of the stroller.  We had some snackage for lunch, they have a pretty cafeteria, lots of windows, and the food wasn't too bad.  But our passes didn't get us in to any of the shows, and we weren't about to pay extra, so we didn't stay very long.  

When we went outside to go from Adler to Shedd, we noticed  a couple of clouds rolling in, but no biggie. 
Christopher took this picture of Daddy and I, it was our turn for some scenic Chicago view.  Chris actually is getting to be quite a good photographer. ;)  He's got a good eye, as well he should, a couple generations of photographer blood in there.  

Do you recognize this fisherman?  We did.  Kathleen and I came here about 5 1/2 years ago with Chris and Emily.   It was a bit more crowded in July than when we were there last.  But I did get the required cheesy fisherman picture.  

The aquarium captured the attention of all three boys.  
We saw a nifty Amazon River exhibit first.  And the kids loved looking at fish that were nearly as big as they were.  I think the various stingrays were their favorites.  River rays, who knew?!

I love these little bluegreen cichlids, they remind me of the kind you can get in the pet store.  
Of course, that's not the kind of thing you can say in a facility like this where they are doing their darndest for conservation and whatnot.  

The turtle in the Caribbean tank came over to say hello. 
I took it as a sign. I kept thinking of my friend Kelly as we traipsed all over Chicago.  It wasn't until I met her that I went downtown to play, or even liked drinking coffee.  I missed her all over that city. And she loved turtles.  When this one came over to say hello, I couldn't help but think of her.  

Another of my favorite creatures we saw was the Blue Iguana.  
It made me sad though.  They reported that there were only about 30 left in the wild, but they were trying to breed them in captivity to release them into the wild and boost the population.  

I pointed the blue iquana (above the gal in the backpack) to the boys.  Jacob was asleep.  But the big boys saw it.  It makes me sad to wonder if this would be the one time they see it, or if it could be one of those animals that go extinct in their lifetime.  It's sad.  

By the time we left the Aquarium, the line was 10 times longer than when we arrived, and I was glad we'd gone when we did.  I was worried the Field Museum might be nasty.  And I hadn't realized that clouds had rolled in, and taken our lovely blue sky away and it started to drizzle.  We got a little damp as we walked to the Field Museum.  I was grateful the handicap/stroller entrance was on the side where we arrived first.  Jacob woke up on the way in, and he was not happy.  But he did like the echo.  He likes to just call out in an echoey hall, Oh Oh Uh Oh, and listen to himself.

The Field Museum was not very crowded at all. 

The Field Museum is home to the largest most complete dinosaur skeleton, a T-Rex named Sue.
She was named after the paleontonologist that found her.  Although everyone refers to the dino as Sue, and as a girl, they technically don't know if it was a girl or not.  

Sue is pretty big all right! 

And since the skull was so smashed, it requires a stand, so the real skull head is upstairs, and this is a replica.  Still, it's a pretty nifty replica!

I decided that the Field Museum is not my favorite. Even though it has a lot of neat dinosaur stuff, which the kids loved, it's very disconcerting, I don't like taxidermically stuffed animals,and 2/3 of the museum is stuffed animals.  They have some neat animals, like the Ghost and the Darkness, the two african man-eater lions that they made a story about in the 30s.  It actually breaks my heart to see little baby animals stuffed and put into cutesy positions, like an orangutan family, and one baby was hanging on a vine.  How do they get like that?  Someone had to kill a baby animal, or find a baby dead, and fresh enough dead that they could manipulate the body.  It just seems cruel.  Nope, it's not my favorite.   I know it's a good way to learn and stuff, and a little bit of taxedermy is ok, but all their stuff was collected a hundred years ago, when it was ok to go off killing stuff.  They'd never be allowed to do that today.  Though I guess it's good that they take the stuff someone else dealt with and treasure it, rather than doing it again.  But still, it's disconcerting, kind of gives me the willies. 

 Our favorite exhibit was the dinosaur hall.  I loved the way they approached it, where we can walk through the different eras, being able to walk over a red line indicating a mass extinction event, and see what survived.  That was really interesting to me.  And since I've been out of the scientific groove, I was happy to see that the evidence has been found of the asteroid in the Yucatan that was only a theory when I was in school responsible for ending the dinosaur era.  Very interesting stuff.  Although, by then, the boys and I were tired, getting hungry, and it was the last exhibit we saw.
It's on the third floor, and with the stroller, we have to get into the elevator to go back down to walk out to the street.  Most folks can just do stairs to leave.  Ahh, someday.  Anyway, we went to the elevator closest to the dinosaurs, instead of the main one way on the other side of the museum.  When the elevator came to us, it got a little jammed when it opened, and we were like, huh, ok, and Eric pried it open, and we climbed in.  As did a bunch of people coming up behind us.  We were sausaged in there pretty good, about 10 of  us total, and we commenced to go down.  Only, the elevator didn't open at all.  It opened a crack.  And the the outer door didn't at all. This was the second floor, so we push/pulled.  It didn't work.  Sam was starting to get really upset.  I knew it would open eventually, because it had just been a little wonky when we got on.  Only, it didn't.  Now we were only stuck for perhaps 5 minutes.  And there was a phone in there, and we called for help.  All our prying only opened it a couple inches.  The people on the other side, got it open a crack too, and we were at least at the right level, but it would only open a couple inches.  And no more.  Finally, it closed, and started moving.  Up.  By now, Sam was starting to get a little loud, and Chris was joining him.  We were actually pretty successful in keeping calm ourselves, and no one really lost their mind.  It only opened a crack on the third floor too.  That was when I started to get a little upset....and thirsty.  Although I'd only run out of water right before we got on the elevator.  But the guy standing right by the elevator, got his hands in the crack the second time, and was able to pry it open.  We all filed out.  And we told all the people standing on it. Don't do this elevator.  Something is wrong.  Eric called the red phone, and told him we were off, that somehow it was on the 3rd floor.  I hope no one else got stuck.

I was very happy to get out of that museum. 

We hit the road, debating where to stop and have dinner.  Eric wanted deep dish pizza, but he didn't want crowds, and I didn't want to deal with downtown rush hour traffic.  I got the traffic anyway.  

This was as close as we got to Buckingham Fountain.  In the middle of an intersection, Eric snapped this pic as I was turning the car.  Not too shabby. They were setting up for Taste of Chicago, so the roads were all goofy downtown. 

 I got on the highway, and it started to rain.  So I got to drive in rush hour, in the rain.  I was not amused.
Eric found a pizza place he wanted to try, about 10 minutes from the hotel....only it took an hour and a half to get there.   And then we got to wait for another 25 minutes for seats.  Not avoiding the crowds.  Grr.  Oh well, it gave us all time to go to the bathroom, change a diaper, and pick out our pizza.  We chose a deep dish with sausage, mushroom and onion.   Daddy was very happy.

I liked Lou Malnati's.  
I say that fairly surprised at myself.   Traditionally, deep dish makes me ill.  Around here, people make it with a ton of dough, lots of oil, and it makes me ill.  This was not like that.  It had a great crunchy crust.  And their sausage, oh my goodness, it wasn't too sausagey, I hate when it's too spicy, this was just right.  This wasn't an italian sausage, not spicy, it was pieces of homemade tubed sausage, like would show up on a hot dog bun, but their flavor was smooth with just the right herbs added for flavor.  The sauce tasted fresh, and yet the tomato hunks weren't so big that it grossed me out.   I sound really picky.  I didn't realize how much I disliked deep dish pizza, and how many things I didn't like about it, until I finally tried one that I really liked.   
It was a Beautiful thing.  

So beautiful, Eric had to take a picture of it with his phone.  
This is my new favorite place.  I didn't suffer any of the illness as I had with other deep dish pizzas.  Also, the waiter talked me into trying their calamari, and it was Awesome.  Not rubbery, and their sauce, was a marinara spiked with a splash of horseradish, and it tasted amazing.  This place was crowded and noisy, but not in a make Chris crazy sort of way.  The building was a converted old house, and the noise was just like we would have if we had the whole fam over to eat, a very warm, comfortable murmering.  So what if Jake cried, or the boys were blithering, their noises faded into the background.  It was great.   I would absolutley go back to Lou's in a heartbeat.  When are they putting one in Indiana?!

This is the face of a happy man.  
This is the face of a man who dreamed of good pizza and was granted his wish.  
This was his day.  He told me that on this trip he wanted to go to the Planetarium and eat good pizza.  
Bam!  There you go babe.  And we still have four more days to go!