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Traveling with a Nine-Year-Old to Chicago

Chicago from Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago from Lincoln Park Zoo

Years ago I took my oldest grand daughter to Florida, recording the experience on this blog. Folks my age will understand when I say the years have flown by and, amazingly, I found myself recently traveling to Chicago with that darling little girl, now a lanky legged nine year old.

Here’s my older blog post sharing my experience. It was really fun and special as was last week’s adventure in the Windy City. Here’s the link for Traveling with a Two Year Old.

As you can imagine our activities were quite different. On that trip I was mostly concerned about her safety and while that was at the top of my mind, I also enjoyed encouraging her to pay attention to where we were, figure out how to get back to our hotel and how things worked in a big city.

We took the Amtrak from Grand Rapids to Union Station. I wanted the train trip to be part of the experience and it was. How interesting to see Mady compare and contrast the train ride and Union Station with airports and airplanes she has encountered in her nine years.

Chicago from Lincoln Park Zoo
Mady and Julie on the train

Lincoln Park Zoo

In Chicago first stop was Lincoln Park Zoo. It is amazing to me that even though I have been to Chicago probably 50 times, I’ve never been there. Clearly I have missed out–so much to enjoy. We saw polar bears, apes, zebras, camels, hypos, penguins, lions and a leopard.

a zebra at the Lincoln Park Zoo
A zebra at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo

The swans and flamingos captured my attention.  I brought an extra camera along so Mady could try her luck with capturing the experience.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo

Police Dogs on Parade on Michigan Avenue

Hot dog, on Michigan Avenue we discovered multiple decorated Police Dogs statues. Adding bright splashes of colorful, they were part of a pubic art installation featuring more than 100 German shepherd sculptures standing guard. We agreed that the  yellow coated detective was a fav. The 54-inch-tall fiberglass dog statues are part of the K9s for Cops campaign to pay tribute to the canine unit, honor fallen Chicago police officers, provide financial assistance to families of those wounded or killed in the line of duty, and raise money to support the spay and neuter program offered by PAWS Chicago.

Police Dog Public Art Installation Chicago
Police Dog Public Art Installation Chicago
Police Dog Public Art Installation Chicago
Police Dog Public Art Installation Chicago

Naturally some shopping and a trip to the American Girl Store were part of the visit. Also, of course a trip to Millennium park. Can’t go to Chicago without a few snaps of the Bean and the Big Water Towers. Mady laughed at the children playing in the water rather than joining in, something she did at a younger age. Have to admit it was bittersweet.

Millenium Park, Chicago
Millenium Park, Chicago
Millenium Park, Chicago
Millenium Park, Chicago

Architectural Boat Tour

But most fun was the Architectural Boat tour. It was a gorgeous day and we loved seeing the big buildings from the water, observing the new Apple store and learning Chicago history. We had a rare experience of going under the Adams Street Bridge when open. Our guide said he doesn’t see that happen often.

New Apple Store in Chicago
New Apple Store under construction in Chicago on the Chicago River
Architectural River Boat Tour Chicago
Architectural River Boat Tour Chicago–Adams Street Bridge

We learned about the direction of the Chicago River being changed, the role of the World’s Fairs and the fights over having the tallest buildings in the city.

I especially enjoyed photographing the reflections on the buildings. Endlessly fascinating and visually intriguing.

Architectural River Boat Tour Chicago
Architectural River Boat Tour Chicago
Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

3 Comments
  1. posted by
    Ann M Stevenson
    Sep 11, 2017 Reply

    Your grand has graduated from dolls to shopping bags!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Sep 19, 2017 Reply

      She is really growing up. I am happy to report she still plays with dolls.

  2. posted by
    mary lockrow
    Sep 11, 2017 Reply

    You are a special grandma…..love the two year old blog as well

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