Monday, March 2, 2015

Field Museum

Gavin had a couple days off last week, and we took advantage of the Field Museum being free in February! It was his first trip there and I hadn't been there in probably 12 years.

The exhibits full of taxidermied animals were interesting in that you could get much closer to them than at, say, the zoo. This bear stands nine feet tall! We also got to see the Tsavo lions and a whale skeleton.

We loved Sue. She is just amazing. Gavin was interested to learn that in her life she'd had eight broken ribs and loved the diagram that pointed them out.


Sue's head is too heavy to mount on her skeleton and sits in a case upstairs - a detail I had forgotten!

Gavin loved the hall of dinosaurs. We also walked through the ancient Egypt exhibit, which was warm and rather claustrophobic Next time we venture downtown, we'll probably head back to the Museum of Science and Industry (Gavin's favorite).

Fancy Nancy: The Musical

Yesterday Gavin and I took a trip downtown to see "Fancy Nancy: The Musical" with my friend Gina and her kids, Claire and Ethan. All the kids love the Fancy Nancy stories! It was at the Apollo Theatre in Lincoln Park, which was a nice, small venue where all the seats were good.

Waiting for the show to start:

Here is the view from our seats - it was great, and we were in the last row (which Gavin loved):

I took this during the show. The actress who played Nancy was perfect!

We found street parking on Wrightwood Ave (props to Gina for parallel parking her minivan on a Lincoln Park street WITH snow piles) and walked a few blocks to the theatre. We passed many of the typical city apartments with two upper levels and a garden apartment - and the kids thought this concept was FASCINATING. They were like "Look! A door! Down there! Where does it lead to?"

LOL!! Funny how we don't realize those little differences about the city and suburbs until they are right in front of us. The El rumbling over our heads was another novelty. :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

STEM night

Last week, Gavin's school had their annual STEM night. It was super cold (about minus 4) and that kept a lot of families away. While it was nice to not have to wait in line to see exhibits, it is also nice to see the school have a good turn out.

Gavin and a lot of friends loved riding this hovercraft down the hallway. High school students from Matea Valley (where all the Brookdale kids will go) assisted. It was loud but fun!

Gavin loved the "Mad Science" room, especially the dry ice and the static electricity:

The kids put their hands on this ball, and their hair would stand up. I included the whole sequence of photos so you can see Gavin's hair getting wilder. (I also think the expression on the face of the girl beside him are priceless).

Next we got to see (and experiment) with how DNA is extracted from fruit. We used strawberries.


Gavin loved that he got to keep the results in this "beaker." He calls it "his first science experiment that he got to keep." :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Enchanted Railroad

We went to the Enchanted Railroad at Morton Arboretum last weekend. This year the theme was "the four seasons" and Gavin loved it!

This guy was one of the "engineers" and he explained how he switches the trains.

He let Gavin push the buttons on the remote control, which activated some of the lights and sounds:

This green button was a hit. If the kids pushed it, it activated an Oscar Meyer train car. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ready for the Super Bowl

We are all ready to cheer for Seattle in tomorrow's game! Skittles and Marshawn Lynch shirt - check!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Lucky Saturday

Saturday was a great day for Gavin! He got the last paw he needed to complete Level 5 in swimming! This last one was the butterfly stroke and he has been working hard on it. When we got home I pulled out my sewing machine and added the paws for this level (they are the ones rimmed in light blue on the right-hand side of the towel. The rest are patches for all the other levels he has completed)!

Right after swimming we went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and for their play area. We've been there several times and this was the first time we saw "the cow" in the store!! We used to see it standing out on the side of the road, waving to people to go into the restaurant.

Anyway, all the kids were thrilled and wanted to pose with her. (Her apron says "Good Kidz Eat Chikin.")

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Party Time!

Gavin was invited to a birthday party at DuPage Swim School this weekend. The party was for his friend Cassie and it looks like most of their class was there! We had never been to this particular swim school but all the kids had a great time. They got to play around in the water for an hour before they ate pizza and cake.

The pool had these little sprays of water that shot up periodically (not the whole time).

And they had plenty of pool toys:

At some point Gavin and his friends decided they needed to "save the ducklings."

The whole gang (Gavin is near the middle with a red kick board in front of him):

In the party room. The birthday girl is holding balloons and Gavin is goofing off with a party favor (big surprise).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Shedd Aquarium

We had been wanting to take Gavin to the rest of Chicago's museums (we have been to the Adler Planetarium and the Museum of Science and Industry). The ones we hadn't covered were the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. We told Gavin to pick one for winter break and he chose the Shedd. 

First stop: the huge circular tank called "Caribbean Reef."

Next we saw the penguins...although somehow, the play area next to them proved to be more interesting than the birds themselves:

Wearing a penguin costume:

Next, we really wanted to see the sharks:

 We learned this big guy is a sandbar shark. Gavin kept exclaiming that it was a great white, but I told him no aquarium can hold one of those guys!

Next we saw the aquatic show. We were lucky enough to see both the beluga whales and the Pacific white-sided dolphins perform (it's different every time). The amphitheatre was really cool with the big glass windows at the back and Lake Michigan outside!

The beluga whales underwater viewing:

The other thing Gavin loved was this play submarine. He was working all the controls, avoiding icebergs and steering...well, anywhere he imagined!

The next big downtown trip we take will be to the Field Museum. But Gavin does want to return the the Shedd one day. And this time, I'll have a better idea of where we are going (it's very confusing in there and we spent a lot of time trying to navigate through the different elevators and exhibits).