I am so glad we took our Winter road trip to Chicago two weeks ago. Winter is a weird time to be driving around the country, especially to go North, but we did it and had the best time celebrating Ella's birthday. Next time we vacation in Winter, no doubt we'll head to a warmer climate, but we'd always envisioned taking Ella to Chicago for her birthday and visiting the amazing museums there. So we did it. She loved it. We were at home with cold weather, good food and hands on learning.

We visited the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry in three days. Below are pictures of our time exploring. Three of the museums are within walking distance of each other. The other is about ten miles away. We stayed just across the street from the main three museums providing easy access to our destinations. Since we had our own transportation it was quite easy to navigate around the city for restaurants and museums. Although flying is an easy way to travel, driving is actually relaxing for me (all that time to sit and talk!) and then you have the flexibility of doing what you want when you want and not being bound to public transportation (although it has its benefits too).

Each museum along with our hotel was built in the 1930's (although the Museum of Science and Industry was built even earlier in the late 1800's). It felt like we were stepping back in time as we spent five days in that atmosphere. Coming back to our home felt quite modern!

Adler Planetarium

The planetarium was my favorite place to visit. 
The vastness of the universe and beyond 
coupled with the beautiful mystery of the stars and planets
leave me in awe of the Creator. 
Hands on exhibits provided wonderful teaching tools for the children.

Downtown Chicago 
(as the children stare into the sun...)

Our view from the hotel was Lake Michigan,
and each morning the sunrise.

The Museum of Science and Industry
A replica of the Wright brothers plane;
we happened to have just studied this topic in American History.

A German WWII U-boat.

A tornado.

The Museum of Science and Industry was proclaimed the favorite of our children. This museum has two thousand exhibits. From and indoor tornado to creating your own tsunami waves, walking through a WWII German submarine and more, my children were overcome with stimulation and wonder! There were buttons to push, things to experience, sounds to hear, experiments to watch, information to read. Although at times it was overload for me, Ella and Roone were captivated and thrived in that environment.

Shedd Aquarium

All those years ago when Jesse and I first had Ella we talked about one day taking adventures with our children, travels that might cost more and traveling farther than staying in one of our lovely state parks. For some reason I think I'll always find Missouri to be most beautiful, partially because it is home. 

However, the memories and learning that take place through travel can't be put to a price. All those years ago we had a little idea, that we'd like travel to be a gift we give our children. It doesn't have to be across an ocean, it can simply be to the next state. No matter the distance, it is a blessing to see that we are able now at this time to give this type of gift and experience to our amazing children; and it's a gift to ourselves as well to be able to spend this time with them and share the adventures. 


Amanda said…
This looks like such a wonderful trip. Chicago is on my list of places to visit. I'm sure Ella really enjoyed celebrating with such an adventure.