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.
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, rhinos, penguins, lions and a leopard.
The swans and flamingos captured my attention. I brought an extra camera along so Mady could try her luck with capturing the experience.
Police Dogs on Parade on Michigan Avenue
Hot dog, on Michigan Avenue we discovered multiple decorated Police Dogs statues. Adding bright splashes of color, they were part of a public 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.
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.
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.
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.