Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our 1st Anniversary Trip Day 1

I've been doing some fun stuff over the past few months and I've been remiss in sharing them with you all! Well, that changes today.

Today I want to start sharing with you our trip to Chicago for our 1st anniversary. We are lucky enough to live only a couple hours away from Chicago. We are also very lucky to have access to a commuter train from our local airport straight to Chicago. No need to worry about gas prices or parking, we just hop on the train and we're there!

The Thursday before our anniversary, we caught the second train of the day leaving from our local airport. (We had M's brother drop us off so we didn't have to leave our car there and pay for parking.) We took the second train because the first one is full of people headed to work in the big city. The closer it gets to Chicago, the more people get on and it gets pretty crowded.  The second train was full of people headed for some sightseeing or appointments. 

After about 2 and half hours, we finally arrived at Millennium Station in downtown Chicago. The station was a short walk to our hotel, which I still managed to mess up. We were staying at the Hyatt Regency and when I looked at the Google map, I thought it was on the river side of Whacker Drive, so we ended up crossing Whacker when we didn't need to since nothing is on that side! It was ok though, we crossed the river and headed up Michigan another block to check out the Tribune Tower.

Which I managed to not take a picture of, so you get this one from Wiki.
I've always wanted to check out the Tribune Tower ever since it was featured on an episode of CSI:NY. The building has pieces of various historically important sites in it's outside walls. M and I had fun walking around the building looking at all of the fragments and even touching some of them.

Again, I managed to not take any pictures, so enjoy this one from The Chicago Architecture Blog. They've got some great explanations of all the fragments in the Tower.

When we were done at the Tower, we headed back across the river and found our hotel. I'll review it in a separate post. We booked our hotel through Priceline, which we usually do whenever we stay in Chicago. We always get a 4 star hotel at a good deal. We've previously stayed at the Chicago Hilton, which we loved.

After checking into our hotel, we trekked to the Field Museum. We chose to walk because we were trying to save money and it didn't seem that far. It ended up being 2 miles, but for us that didn't seem like much since we walk all day at work. Plus we walk a lot more than that when we're at Disney World. It was a nice walk along the Lakefront Trail and since we tend to walk fast, it didn't take too long to get there.

Lucky for us, the Field Museum was having a free day and general admission was free for all guests. However, the museum wasn't going to make it easy for you to get in free. The lady at the ticket counter asked us which package we wanted. The special exhibits cost extra, but we were already planning on seeing one, so we got the package that allowed us one exhibit and only paid $14 total to get in. Normally it would have cost us $44 to get in!

I love the Field Museum, but honestly, once you've seen it, you've pretty much seen it all. It never changes. We only go if one of the special exhibits sounds interesting. We still wander around and look at things, but it gets boring if you've been recently. I think it would be more interesting if we had kids or were with people that hadn't been there recently.

So what's to see at the Field?

Dead Animals. Seriously, they have rooms full of these display cases. It's like a Noah's Ark of old dead and taxidermied animals. The museum was started in 1893 when this was the only way most people could see these animals. It's kind of creepy, yet pretty interesting all at the same time.

We wandered around the first floor of the museum and eventually made our way to our special exhibit, Whales. It was a pretty cool exhibit full of whale bones and artifacts. They even had 2 blue whale skeletons. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures, so I can't show you all the cool stuff we saw.

We wandered up the second floor to check out one of our favorite rooms, the gem room!

The Field has a pretty impressive collection of gems and jewelry that we enjoy looking at. That necklace up there is "The Green Goddess." It's a 154 carat peridot.

 The second floor also gives you a great view of the main hall of the museum.

They were setting up for an after hours event, so those tables aren't normally there. (Speaking of which, how cool would it be to have your wedding at the museum?)

That's Sue. She's the largest, most complete, and best preserved T. Rex ever found.

T. Rexes are pretty awesome.

We like to pose with Sue on every trip to the museum.

These fighting African elephants have been in the main hall of the Field Museum for as long as I can remember. In fact, they've been there since 1908!

After leaving the museum, we were very hungry so we decided to head for dinner. We ended up walking about 2.5 miles to Navy Pier to eat at one of my favorite vacation restaurants, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. And I don't even like the movie Forrest Gump!

Again, no picture from me. I must have been having too much fun to take pictures!

The weather was turning colder, so we headed back to the hotel and collapsed after all that walking!


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