Friday, June 19, 2015

Travel: Chicago in summer

Travel kid takes O'Hare.

This past weekend we spent a few days in Chicago, visiting friends and family and attending a friends "new tax status party" (they got married). In addition to all the visiting, eating, and time spent at the hotel pool, we spent a day at the Museum of Science and Industry, a morning at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The amazing train layout at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI).

MSI is always a favorite of ours. This time we did the Coal Mine, which provided a history of the industry, and was basically the greatest reminder for the need for government regulation of industry. I was really surprised to hear that small electronic life-saving gas monitors were not required until 2001. The industry fought the requirement for the monitors for miners as they were a few hundred dollars a piece. I was also surprised to learn that Illinois is the fifth largest coal producing state in the U.S.
The mirror maze at MSI.
More mirror maze. It was part of a larger exhibit that addressed patterns found across nature.
MSI explorations.
One of us simply can't get enough of the trains.

I hadn't been to the Gardens since I believe junior high or high school, and Joe had never been. The Gardens are a wonderful treat, and a great way to spend a beautiful day. In addition to the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Bonsai Garden, English Garden, and Waterfall Garden, we (not surprisingly) spent a while in their fantastic Train Garden. 
English Gardens.

With Grandpa and the bonsai.

At first little dude wasn't too interested in the bonsai, until he discovered those with paths and multiple trees. He called them Totoro bonsai.
Waterfall Garden.
Train Garden.

The Train Garden was a really neat layout (and having a small train enthusiast around, I do feel that I have gained some expertise in the matter). They have included monuments from all over the U.S., including Wrigley Field, complete with miniature ivy, and Old Faithful and Yellowstone Lodge (above). 
Japanese Garden.

When I was small, I can remember the Japanese Garden making a big impression on me. It was similar to how I remember it, but it was very cool to see it after having seen so many in Japan over the past few years. 
Frangos to take home to remember our trip.

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