Chicago

After Ohio, we drove to Indiana and stayed at the Indiana Dune State Park and took the commuter rail into the Chicago. We spent the morning at the Field Museum, then had our personal tour guide, Phil (who we went to college with), give us the grand tour of Chicago that afternoon.  Honestly, this New Yorker/Bostonian was really impressed with Chicago, it’s a nice, and pretty, city.

The Field Museum was the start of our “dino-tour” part of our vacation. First stop was Dinosaur DSC03998.JPGSue the T. Rex.  Pete was more than a little excited to finally see her in person. He has been saying that he had to go to the Field Museum since Kindergarten, when he read a book on Dinosaur Sue. Fun Fact: her head is too heavy, so that’s a replica. The original is in a case upstairs, where you can get a really good look at how it was crushed. It was awesome!DSC04082.JPG

As is typical for any museum, Pete read every.single.info.panel. So we moved at a snails pace. We did manage to get in a bunch of the special exhibits, including the soil critters, where you go through a “shrink ray” so you’re only 1.5″ tall. The animatronics were sufficiently creepy with their sudden insect movements and amplified insect noises. DSC04023.JPGThese were the two quietest cicadas we saw/heard on the trip. Thanks to this picture, the boys recognized empty cicada shells in PA on our way home.

The Evolution Hall was amazing. Boston seriously needs a real Natural History Museum (ok, and/or I need to get to the one at Harvard). They started with the oldest fossils and you moved through, getting closer to modern times with every step. There may have been some bio-geek squeaking! DSC04058.JPGThings museums need to rethink: having a duckbill dinosaur “noise replicator”.

DSC04062.JPGThe first fossil we got to touch this trip!DSC04082.JPG

The museum has a DNA lab, with actual scientists attempting to work while “on display”, complete with signs saying “Don’t tap on the glass, it annoys the scientists”.  Pete was more interested in reading than listening to me talk about it. Granted, there were quite a few “when I did this in grad school…” Hey, if you ever had to read a DNA gel, you know what I’m talking about! 🙂 DSC04085.JPGAnd what Natural History museum would be complete without the rocks and minerals exhibit. They had a meteorite, which apparently was the most awesome thing ever, based on Pete’s expression:

DSC04091.JPG

And there were Narwhals, narwhals, living in the ocean, causing a commotion, ’cause they are so awesome.

DSC04105.JPGRight before we left, we went to the special exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was amazing. It was a sampling of the statues from the first Emperor of China’s tomb. They had a few replicas that were painted, but the originals were extremely impressive

DSC04111.JPGThe horses, chariots and soldiers are originals, anything wood or leather was reproduced. The banners above are close ups of the different warriors faces. Because they all had different faces. All 8000 of them!

DSC04115.JPGThis was my favorite display. The front two men are archers, but their bows have disintegrated. The middle-left man was a chariot driver with reins in his hands, and the back-left man had a sword in his right hand.

DSC04113.JPGAn officer.

Then, we met Phil for some real Chicago pizza and a tour of the city

DSC04124.JPGPete loved the super-cheesy pizza, of course. You can see Brian’s protest pose on the left.DSC04127.JPGPhil decided to get some assistance catching Pokemon.

DSC04146.JPGThe boys looking up the cool curved building.

DSC04145.JPGTheir view!

And of course, we had to visit Millennial Park

DSC04186.JPGThe bean was pretty cool

DSC04189.JPGDSC04192.JPGDSC04194.JPGI love that you get the skyline in the background!

We hit the crazy playground in the park (the boys loved it), then walked along Lake Michigan back to our previously-unknown-to-Phil train stop and back to Indiana.  The adventure continues…

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