On my last two visits to Chicago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's not a dark, shadowy city, riddled with crime and teeming with mobsters that I had envisioned from watching too many film noir movies in my youth. In fact, it's a city of spectacular skyscrapers, picturesque parks, the daunting expanse of Lake Michigan, and fantastic museums.
You can't come to Chicago without going to the Field Museum, home of Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the most complete fossil of T-Rex ever found. This is our second visit to the Field, and we still haven't made it beyond the first floor! There's just so much to see. And my girls love the Ancient Egypt exhibit -- all those mummies and hidden treasures. You can also have sleepovers there now, but those dates book fast. Unfortunately for us, the sleepover dates did not coincide with the time that we were there.
Next to the Field Museum is the equally amazing Shedd Aquarium with different rooms devoted to different geographical locations. Our favorite is the Amazon where you can find gargantuan fish, colorful tree frogs, and an anaconda.
We also visited Lincoln Park Zoo where the kids had fun with the paddle boats on the lake, and the animals. In the midst of it all, we celebrated my sister's birthday (41!). Shhh, I won't give her name away. Oh, all right. It's Shirin Bridges, author of Ruby's Wish (Chronicle Books). And met up with our London cousins who I haven't seen in 10 or 20 years.
Chicago is a city worth re-visiting. And next time, we'll start with the second floor of the Field Museum.