Day 14: Monday, June 14th, 2021

Today I was bound for the Windy City….Chicago baby!  So much to see, so much to do, it was exciting to plan this part because I wanted to hit things that I hadn’t seen yet. Incredibly blessed with a friend who grew up going to Chicago all the time, they knew where to park and if you have ever been to CHI town, you know that parking is the biggest headache of them all here!  We found a paid lot by Lincoln Park, and started our day there.

I grew up with the Milwaukee County Zoo…always a field trip or a day with the family. It’s always nice to see other Zoos and how they run things… it was a really nice surprise that the Lincoln Park Zoo was free! See, this is why parking was $29, they get you somewhere. LOL It was such a beautiful day today, mid 70s, cool breeze…the heat had taken a break and we were VERY happy to have such a great weather day. ..

I was very impressed with the amount of animals they had, and the exhibits were in good shape and not run down.  The grounds were kept beautifully, and the gift shop had a nice, fresh vibe to it. (Although sadly they didn’t have any stickers of the Zoo…I mean what the heck am I supposed to put on my luggage now, a giraffe pen?)  We spent several hours there, snacking on popcorn and sodas, Walter had tons of fun, and we headed to find lunch at “The Patio” inside the Park.  I ordered an Impossible Burger on a Pretzel bun, and my friend got tacos. The setting was so pretty….the park, the boardwalk, the water… and the family that decided to let their little one run around over, and over, and over again just made it that extra special. LOL The food was ok, they can’t all be winners, but we were hungry and it was enough.

First we had to find the garage, the spot was reserved online, and it was the closest to the hotel. I love staying downtown now and then, but what a pain to find parking, even online, when it’s so easy and convenient staying at hotels outside of the city.  Once we were checked in, 20th floor, we headed to Navy Pier- MY FIRST TIME!!

I guess I had it in my head it was like the Boardwalk in other cities, but basically is was a food and shopping district on Lake Michigan. The Skywheel is impressive to see on the waterfront, but I got more excited to see a Tall Sails Ship docked on the Pier.  We signed up for the 5 pm tour and we had such a good time, even wound up on a rescue mission! There was a white thing floating farther out in the Lake, so our boat when to rescue someone or see what was in the water.  We all cheered as we saw it was a Unicorn pool floatie thankfully and not a person in the water…it was pretty funny.  The tour lasted about 75 minutes, costed $10 cheaper purchasing the tickets through Groupon, and it was a comfortable ride except for the music. The pirate music they lead out and lead into the Pier with FITS the feel of this ride…but once on the open water they play LOUD, pop rock music which makes no sense.  So the feel of a relaxed ride on the water becomes a party boat that nobody was dancing on, everyone just wanted to chill. So be aware of that if you want to ride the “Windy.” All in all, an experience I never had before AND I got to raise one of the Main Masts… it was AWESOME!!

After walking back from Navy Pier, we inhaled Chinese food before the “Ghosts and Gangsters Tour” in downtown Chicago. Caleb was our host, and he did a great job, but be prepared to WALK. And what I didn’t like was the tour wasn’t in a complete circle…we started near the Riverwalk and ended up at the Congress Hotel.  I learned a lot about Al Capone, the Chicago Fire, and a lot about the gangs that ran these streets so long ago. But after the full day I had had already, my feet were just about bleeding. It was a beautiful night, a great tour, just wasn’t the best thing to end my day with.

Today’s Moments of Kindness: Gave money to a street musician, donated to the Zoo programs, took a family’s picture in the front of the Zoo.

So I am now tucked away in Chicago tonight, excited for what life will bring tomorrow, and oh so thankful and blessed for the travels I have enjoyed so far. See you tomorrow!!

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