Chicago, day 03 – Shedd Aquarium

Day 03 of Chicago, I was on my own with the kids. Hubster headed off very early that morning for his conference. I got up as he left, somehow pulled myself together (the day before had been very long) and then had to pry two cranky children out of bed. Once I got everybody up, dressed, and fed, I hustled the three of us out of the hotel and down the few blocks to the bus stop where we hopped onto the 146 again and headed back out to the vicinity of the wonderous Field Museum.

In the same area as the Field, there is also the Adler Observatory and the Shedd Aquarium. Princess and Pixie were determined to see fish this day, so the aquarium was our goal. Prior to that, we took a detour into the Children’s Garden nearby the Field Museum. It’s a small garden with some interesting sculptures and a giant spider web jungle gym thing that kept the kids entertained for an hour or so. I actually had to drag them from the jungle gym to the Shedd Aquarium, but the whining stopped once we got inside and caught our first glimpse of fish.

Princess desperately wants an aquarium of her own, so she was enraptured with the Coral Reef display in the center of the Shedd. We got there in time to see one of the feedings. A diver hand fed all the rays, sharks and fish while a woman stood outside the tank and explained what was going on. The diver had a mic set-up, so he was able to help narrate and answer questions. I told Princess and Pixie that when they were old enough, we’d take them scuba diving. Hubster and I have been diving once, off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I’m dying to go again someday.

After the feeding was over, we saw the display on the Rising Amazon, which looks at the annual flooding of the Amazon River and how it affects the people, plants and animals that live on the banks. Then we hit the Wild Reef display, which looks at the reefs in the Philipines, and the conservations efforts going on in that area to protect the wild life while still letting the local population survive off of fishing the reefs.

Then it was lunch time. I have to say, as much as I like the Shedd Aquarium, it’s dining facilities leave something to be desired. The upper cafe is apparently dine-in. They had a side bar where I tried to order a small meal for myself and the kids, but apparently yours truly is too blind to see the sign (in white letters on a beige sign board) that says the side bar doesn’t serve food until 2PM. So we headed downstairs to eat in the self-serve cafe, which turned out to be a zoo, and not the good kind. We finally got food, two bowls of macaroni and one bowl of chili, with drinks for the bargain price of $35, and escaped outside to eat on the terrace. The food was good, but for $35, I would have expected something gourmet.

After that, the kids claimed they were too tired to do any more and wanted to go back to the hotel and swim in the pool. I relented, and we magically made it back to the bus and then back to the hotel. I say magically because I know jack squat about public transportation, and because in spite of our best efforts, we have yet to be able to find a map of the bus routes in this part of Chicago. Our hotel doesn’t carry such a map, which I think is an absolute disgrace, right up there with the $15 a day price for internet connection.

Anyway, we made it back to the hotel, got into our swim suits, and spent an hour in the pool. Then we waited for Hubster to return to the hotel. He decided to hit the Adler Observatory after his day at the conference, thinking we might be there, but he got there half an hour after we left to go back to the hotel. Still, he had a nice afternoon, and when he joined us back at the hotel, he took us to Portelli’s, a place that serves some very good hot dogs. I had my first hot dog Chicago style, loaded with peppers, onions, mustard and a pickle spear. Once again, I was thankful for the walk to and back from the restaurant. Our meal wasn’t huge (though the cost for four of us at Portelli’s was cheaper than the cost for three of us at the Shedd cafeteria). But it was enough that I wanted the time and activity to help me digest. Along the way back, we stopped at Argo Tea for a quick cup. They have the world’s best Darjeeling there!

And that was pretty much day 03. Here are the pics from that day:

Princess and Pixie at the entrance to the Children’s Garden at Soldier Field.

They’re over the moon about Chicago.

The spider-web jungle gym!

It’s a loooooooong way down!

Each sculpture in the garden is a variation of the Earth…

Like this one, the Water Earth!

Feeding time at the Shedd Aquarium!

Crown of Thorns Sea Stars.

Is it a rock, or a fish?

I think we found Nemo…

You think this turtle can get us all the way back to our hotel?

And that’s pretty much day 03!

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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