Road Trip Discoveries: Navy Pier

by Amy Kraft on September 15, 2013

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OK, I know you can’t really call a major tourist attraction in a big city a “discovery.” Like, “Hey guys, I just discovered this cool thing in New York. It’s called the Statue of Liberty,” but Navy Pier has changed a lot throughout the years. Back when I lived in Chicago, Navy Pier was newly opened and there wasn’t much of anything out there. I remember going to an even on the end of the pier and the rest was list a ghost town. Not so anymore.

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We stopped at Harry Caray’s for lunch, though it was a toss up between that and a cheezborger at the Billy Goat Tavern. Both Chicago classics, now on the pier. With full tummies we headed to the Chicago Children’s Museum, which now rivals Pittsburgh as our all-time favorite Children’s museum. I chased Ozzie through classic children’s museum exhibits like a bus, a grocery store, and a fire station. Then we found some more unconventional exhibits like a room where you have a bug’s-eye view of getting stepped on by a huge shoe, and a room with a giant dinosaur dig.

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After going and hammering nails for a brief spell (three-year-old + hammer = certain injury) we realized that it had been quite a while since we had seen Olive. She and dad were busy in a construction room where Olive was designing and building a tent. My husband told me that she was building and rebuilding until she got it just how she wanted it.

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I love how accessible the museum was to both kids–they both found so much to do. After we were done in the exhibits we went down to the art studio where we were guided in puppet making. They sat us down with a questionnaire about our puppet. Is it loud or quiet? Where does it live? What does it like to eat? Before we touched any supplies, we had a personality formed in our heads that guided the creative exercise, so different than if we had let the materials guide us alone.

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Everyone was sad to leave the museum, but then we headed to the Ferris Wheel. Ozzie thought it looked a little too high for him, so he stayed down by the smaller rides while we went up. It was a really strange day in Chicago when we were there. Fog stubbornly clung to the buildings the whole afternoon, but it made for a cool view from the top.

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We always end up at Millennium Park when we’re in Chi-town, but now we’ll be adding Navy Pier to our annual list.

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