Day 9: The Windy City

We said goodbye to family and headed to Chicago, the third largest city in the United States.  Now the kids want to go to Los Angeles, the second largest city, so that they would be able to say they have been to the top five.

Growing up in the Midwest, Chicago was the big city that I visited the most and traveled to on my own as well as with friends, school groups and family.  I have always loved Chicago.  It has a beautiful skyline with the Sears Tower as a prominent landmark.  It sits on the edge of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes, and has a river that runs through the city.  It has some spectacular museums, a wonderful zoo and my favorite kind of pizza.  It has something for everyone and no visit is ever the same.

Since my children have not been to Chicago as often, I wanted to make sure we had a few hours to do something there before we headed toward the East Coast.  After getting some wonderful suggestions from friends of places to go, we decided to check out the Field Museum.  We had many people recommend Shedd Aquarium, but we have been to several aquariums and zoos and didn't want to pay the admission fees this time.  Instead, I was able to use my wonderful ASTC reciprocal membership again and we got into the Field Museum for FREE.  That meant a savings of $70 for our family of six.  That was good since there was a special event happening and the parking prices were higher than they would be normally ($19 for up to 4 hours).  We paid $25 and had to park under Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears.  It is across the street from the Field Museum. The Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium are also within walking distance.

Main hall, featuring SUE the most complete T Rex skeleton (90%) ever discovered


We did not have time to see everything in the Field Museum, so we tried to start off with the main things we didn't want to miss.  We headed to the Ancient Egypt exhibit and saw the largest collection of mummies we have seen at any museum.  The displays and information was also exemplary.  We enjoyed all of the animal exhibits and were thrilled to see the Tsavo lions that are the real lions the movie, The Ghost and The Darkness, portrayed.

An unwrapped young male mummy.  There were at least 20 mummies on display.


Tsavo lions that killed 35 people in 1898.  They are maneless male lions.


For dinner we decided to head to Ed Debevic's.  The last time I was there was with one of my social work professors and some college classmates on a social work trip.  Evan and the kids had never been there before.  It's a large diner where the wait staff is purposely rude and you can be rude back.  I had a feeling my husband would enjoy it and it was fun to watch the kids' responses.  Our oldest two were enjoying it and found it entertaining and wanted to join in.  It was a fun experience for everyone.  Ed Debevic's is across the street from Gino's East on N. Wells and just down the street from the Rock-N-Roll McDonald's, Rainforest Cafe and the Hard Rock Cafe.

A 50's themed diner with "same day service."

The Sears Tower is a great place to get a bird's eye view of the city.

Soldier Field, Home of the Chicago Bears, "The Monsters of the Midway"
There are also lots of other places to visit in Chicago, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Children's Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo and Navy Pier.  If you like sports, Chicago is home to the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks and the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.

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