Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicago - The rainy day!

(Before I start, I forgot to mention that we did actually go on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier - Leslie and Tyson opted to stay on the ground, but Devin went for his first big ride and liked it! I however was holding on for dear life and breathing calmly - it was very high - thank God it moved very s-l-o-w-l-y)

Day #2 - The plan was to take public transit to the Lincoln Park Zoo. We first walked to the grocery store to get transit passes and as we left to cross the street, it started to pour. We took shelter under a nearby ledge. While we were waiting for the rain to pass a police officer passed us on a segway. When the kids (or maybe it was me) said, "look at that, isn't it cool!", he turned around and gave them all Deputy Sheriff badges - that was pretty cool! I didn't think to take a picture of the police officer, but those segways were quite popular, in fact you could take a segway tour of the downtown area and we saw many of them pass by Grant Park just out our window.

After much debating, we decided the rain didn't look like it was going to let up, so we walked a few blocks and took a bus to the Museum of Science and Industry. This was not on the top of our list, but it did make the "if we have time list" and since it was raining, it got promoted to the top. This museum was big and took a long time to go through and we didn't see it all. It reminded me of, well a... museum. You looked at stuff, you read about stuff (or in my case, didn't read about stuff) and chased the kids, hurried up the husbands and so on. It doesn't mean it wasn't a good museum, but for the age of our kids it wasn't quite interactive enough for kids that couldn't read. I think Tyson and Allison enjoyed the museum more than we did and I know Uncle Trevor liked it a lot. In the end we left earlier than they did and went back to the condo to have a nap and get supper started.

We did start a new hobby here though and that is Penny Pressing. I'm sure you've all seen them, the penny crushing machines, well we bought a passport to collect them in and crushed 5 pennies on our trip to Chicago. They have all these cool designs, so we have 2 different museum ones, 2 different zoo ones and a general Chicago one! I guess Uncle Trevor has done this for a long time and they have a collection as well. Seemed like a fun (and cheap) way to track your adventures. At the gift shop Jasmine filled a bag of tumbled rocks to keep (she loves rocks for some reason), we also bought a worm that does magic tricks and a science experiment to do when we got home. Below are a few pictures we took from the museum and a caption to explain.

This is a picture of Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle. She was a silent film star with an affinity for dollhouses and minatures. She designed this elaborate and intricate doll house. Each side of the doll house had a series of phones and you could listen to the explanation of each room and the significat pieces. Jasmine said this was her favorite part of the museum, even though the entire house was behind glass.

These shots were from a large exhibit focusing on the U-505 German Submarine that was captured by the American's. These dark pictures are of the actual submarine. You had to purchase seperate tickets for tours of the inside, but the outside and other exhibits were impressive. The kids laid in one of the cots and looked through periscopes. Jasmine is saluting in the above picture, I wonder how she knew that would be appropriate? Surprisingly, she watched 2 short films on the war in the museum without anyone encouraging her to. Who knew?

They had a small Lego exhibit as well, so we just had to take this picture for Uncle Kevin, who not only belongs to a Lego club, but also sells Lego online. We ordered a whole bunch of basic pieces from him, windows, doors, people and large bricks to make houses, etc. Check out his link!

The best part of this museum for me was the Harry Potter exhibit. Of course, you couldn't take any pictures inside this one and you had to pay through the nose to get into it, but for me, it was worth it! Being a Grade 6 English teacher, (yes, I know, I write using many run-on sentences, often have apostrophes where they don't belong and always use the wrong "their or there" in my blog, but I do teach Grade 6 English) this was a fun exhibit for me. Years ago this book was so popular that you couldn't teach it because so many of the students had already read it, but I think I will poll my class this year and see how many of them have read it? Our school has a class set of the first book and I bought enough Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans for each kid in my class to try one - they do have some good flavors, but they also include: Gravy, Pepper, Fish, Pizza and Onion flavors - yech! I couldn't bring myself to eat one; the whole bag just stinks! Maybe I will send home a note of permission first to release myself of responsibility in case anyone throws up - would likely happen, but would be fun nonetheless. I also sent my class a Harry Potter postcard (I had this same class last year) and bought a Dumbledore's Army T-shirt for myself! The exhibit itself had costumes (yes, all costumes and props were actually from the movies) from almost every student and teacher at Hogwarts, including a Deatheater. They had The Great Hall set up with floating candles and food of all sorts, Hagrid's Hut, including his wardrobe and cooking pots, they had hoops just like in Quidditch that you could try and score on (I scored 30 points- yeah) and just everything you could think about from each book! Knowing that the exhibit was going to be there, I re-read the first book and borrowed the rest of the series to keep re-reading! For me that was the highlight, but I don't think Tyson and Allison had quite the same appreciation being they had seen the movies a long time ago and hadn't read the books.

Tyson and Allison, feel free to post a comment on my blog and tell me your thoughts! We are missing you guys already - Love Auntie!

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