We stayed at the Hilton Chicago. Here is our view from the window, overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan. That is the Adler Planetarium (with the dome) and the Shedd Aquarium in the distance.
First, we walked to the "Cloud Gate," which most Chicagoans call "the Bean," in Millennium Park (a small corner of Grant Park). It was several blocks north of our hotel, right on Michigan Avenue, and on our "map," which I had drawn for Olivia prior to our trip.
Olivia touched it first, but Elsie wasn't sure what to make of it.
Then we walked over the bridge from Millennium Park to the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Inside, they have a FREE Family Room, in which children and parents can play and read and work puzzles of some of the works of art from the museum. There was even a great video which morphed images of some of the faces in the museum (portraits and sculptures and masks, etc.) - this was really mesmerizing to watch! Elsie & Olivia loved the soft climbing "waves" along one of the walls:
After much running about, we finally calmed down enough to walk through the Museum.
Here is Nathan enjoying some Impressionist works:
Here are Elsie and I climbing the stairs in front of a Georgia O'Keefe painting, which is the largest in the Museum's collection:
The next day, we woke up and high-tailed it to the Aquarium. In the rain. Halfway there, Nathan reminded me that I had forgotten our tickets. He bravely ran back and got them! Without having to wait in the already long line to purchase tickets, we whisked through the entrance and went to see the new show they have called "Fantasea." We weren't that impressed by all the theatrics, (such as this fellow here in the birdman costume):
but we did love the animals.
Olivia got to play in a "tide pool" with toy sea creatures,
And both girls got to dress up an penguins. Here is Elsie watching the Aquarium volunteer hop like a penguin:
And here is Olivia sliding down the "ice" slide:
After all the Aquarium fun, we were all tuckered out. Elsie napped,
While Olivia snacked on seaweed. She must have gotten some from the fish tanks. Or my backpack. Probably the latter.
Later on, we all snuck into the Grand Ballroom at our hotel (the Chicago Hilton), which was very reminiscent of something Eloise might do. This is what it looks like all lit up:
But this is the mysterious land we traveled through:
After a good night's sleep and some room service, we took the train home early so Nate could get to work.