I love living so close to Chicago that I can throw the kids in the car and take advantage of one of the world’s greatest cities at a whim. And I do try to take advantage of it as often as possible. This year in particular, I’m trying to make sure I do as much as I can in the city with J. He’s in kindergarten and is dismissed at 11:30 each day so at least once a month we eat lunch in the car and head into Chicago. After this year, all the kids will be in school all day, every day so I won’t have this opportunity.
I also love that many of the attractions offer free or discount community days. It seems unbelievable to me that I can take my child to the Field Museum and not pay a cent (except of course for Chicago’s outrageous parking). So believe me, I’m all over those opportunities.
One location in particular I’ve learned to only go to on a discount day: Shedd Aquarium. That place is expensive. I’m not kidding – if I wanted to just take myself and my three children to the Aquarium for the day it costs $90. $90!!! And that doesn’t include tickets to the dolphin/Fantasea show. I noticed that the Shedd was offering discount days every Monday this month so I invited a friend with a boy J’s age and we decided to spend the afternoon with the fishes. Now, in all fairness, we could have restricted ourselves to the original parts of the aquarium and not paid a dime. But that is just a series of fish tanks and doesn’t take too long to wander through with a 6 year old boy – particularly since many of the tanks aren’t even at his eye level. No – to make this trip to the city worthwhile we want to see something cool. We want to see sharks and beluga whales. We want to giggle at sea otters and touch star fish. And for that opportunity I got to pay $32. On a discount day. (Plus $16 to park.)
Dear Shedd Aquarium,
Spending $32 for one child and one adult to wander your halls is not a discount. It’s not a community favor. It’s outrageous. I do believe this will be my last visit to your hallowed halls. There is far too much to do in Chicago at a far, far more reasonable price.