soaking up Chicago

It’s been an unusually long time since I’ve taken the kids into Chicago for a day. I’ve missed the energy the city always brings. The diversity, the views, the fun. This was one of the few weeks where there were no summer camps or other activities planned and the weather has been lovely – a perfect time to go play tourist and soak up some downtown Chicago.

There was a Family Free Day at the Art Institute and this week’s learning theme (more on that next week) was art so I decided to focus our activities on the Millennium Park area. First up was the Art Institute. Their website and programs offer suggested itineraries and we opted for the famous artist tour – wandered around some galleries and the kids got to see original paintings that they’d studied in school or read about in books.

Then I convinced them to walk across the Chicago River for a new lunch experience (for them anyway). There was a bit of grumbling on the walk. They were very suspicious when I lead them down the dark stairs away from the hustle & bustle of Michigan Avenue. After we “butted in” the door, they all decided that the Cheezborgers were totally worth it.

After lunch we had a few choices to make. Target hosts a Family Activity Tent in Millennium Park all summer long. A long tent filled with arts & crafts, music and other family fun. The Lurie Gardens is one of our favorite spots to explore – something about wandering through the garden paths with skyscrapers over your shoulders makes it feel different. And there was of course Crown Fountain. The heat of this summer day and the long walk back from The Billy Goat made the decision surprisingly easy. After picking up some cupcakes for dessert we headed straight for Crown Fountain and I threw all caution to the wind, letting the kids get just as wet as they wanted.

On this warm summer day I knew we’d end up here and I intended to pack towels and a change of clothes in the car – but I forgot. Luckily they are kids who roll with spontaneity – their mom was letting them get soaking wet in their clothes and that was a perfect way to end our day trip!

There’s always something new to see and experience. A couple hours can change their perspective. I just need to make sure I give them as many of those hours as I can.

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