Saturday, July 09, 2005

Since I'm changing jobs, I'm taking last week and next off. We went to Chicago for four days last week; very disappointed in Amtrak. We thought it would be fun to take a train from Indianapolis to Chicago, so we went to the Amtrak website and bought tickets online. When we got to the station we presented our tickets and the lady said, "oh, that's the bus. You board over there." But really taking the bus wasn't bad; it wasn't terribly crowded on the way up so we got to walk around and stuff. Not nearly as nice as a train car would have been though. We stayed at the Essex Inn, which has some pretty cheap rooms. I can't believe hotels in this day and age don't all have wireless Internet though, so I lugged my laptop there and back for not much reason. So what did we do?

  • Field Museum - pretty good, but their regular exhibits are starting to fall apart - they must be putting all their money into special exhibits.
  • Museum of Science and Industry - turning into a trip highlight and the new submarine exhibit is really nice. Cathy the Nurse Practitioner really enjoyed the new "Bodies" exhibit, which consists of actual cadavers on display with some kind of plastic gelled into them to make them pretty. Pretty grotesque, I thought. One of the displays had on a white cowboy hat and a notation - "Wearing a hat to show the very slight difference between life and death". I think I would have rewritten it as, "Wearing a hat because, well, we could."
  • Shedd Aquarium - Cathy would probably call it a highlight but it's never a total thrill for me. Some of the big fish and the huge anaconda were pretty cool. The dolphins did some nice jumps in their show.
  • Children's museum - it's on the Navy Pier, which we discovered you can't walk to from the south side of the Chicago river. We had to walk nearly a mile out of our way to find it. The exhibits are fairly nice, but we wanted the little one to have lots of large-muscle activities in order to tire him out for some grownup museums. The exhibits were more of the sit-down-and-play-quietly type.
  • Architectural walking tour - very well done and we will take many more. At one point the guide commented on the evil minorities who sued the city over Millenium Park, and the wonderful industrial leaders who stepped up with replacement money. I refrained from asking if she was an actual schill.
  • Adler Planetarium - not bad. I always think it's not a real planetarium unless they have a live guide and a little globe that makes glowing dots on the ceiling, which apparently shows my age. We went to the "Stars of the Pharoahs" Omnimax show, which was pretty good I guess, although I never go to Omnimax shows.

So our feet were hurting by the end of it. We came back on the bus, and this time it was absolutely full and not much fun, but we got the requisite T-shirts and some other souveneirs. Chicago is great fun. I can't wait for the little one to be old enough to do some nightlife.