Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chicago, Day 3

Sunday morning we headed to the John Hancock Center, which is the second tallest building in Chicago (the Sears Tower is few stories taller) and arguably offers the best view in the city. The observation deck is on the 94th floor, and the seven of us spent a lot of time walking around, admiring the view and beautiful architecture.

As you'll recall from the Day 2 recap, Steve was very active on Saturday. All that activity caught up with him early Sunday, and he was too exhausted to continue. So he and Betty took a cab back to the hotel to rest, and Jim, Jim and I took Cooper and Katie to Millennium Park, a huge public space bordered on the west by Michigan Avenue.

We spent a lot of time in and around "Cloud Gate" (a.k.a. the Bean), a stainless steel sculpture that creates fascinating mirror images. We also loved the giant Crown Fountain -- a reflecting pool is bookended by two 50-foot-tall towers with digital images of faces that change. The image of a child's face appears still until he winks at you. And then he puckers and water shoots out of his mouth! If it had been 20 degrees warmer, we would have let the kids frolic in the water. I imagine it's a popular spot in summer.

Nearby is the Art Institute's sculpture garden featuring some of our favorite artists -- Moore and Calder. Cooper spied the red Calder from far away and said it looked like a dragon. Katie thought it looked like an airplane or butterfly. Its name is "Flying Dragon."

After plenty of outdoor time, the Jims took Katie and Cooper back to the hotel, and I headed to Due to pick up some deep-dish pizza. (Due is the second installation of Uno's.) We ate that in the room and then got ready for Wicked.

Uncle Jim left for the airport, and Grandma and Papa were kind enough to stay with Katie, who slept almost the entire time we were gone. At home she relies on a daily nap and about 11 hours of sleep each night. She was running a huge sleep deficit by Sunday.

I wish I had been allowed to take photos during the performance, just to have images of Cooper's expressions during certain scenes. Steve and I saw Wicked a year ago at Fair Park in Dallas. Ever since, Cooper and Katie have loved to hear about the story and listen to the soundtrack. For Christmas Cooper received a book about the Broadway production (he's much too young to read or be exposed to the novel). So, he was really ready to experience the actual production. He was thrilled (and sometimes understandably scared) to see the huge dragon above the stage, Galinda and Elphaba meeting for the first time, the Wizard of Oz's facade, the monkeys growing wings, Elphaba taking flight at the end of the first act. It was just magical.

Katie was disappointed that she wasn't invited, but 2-year-olds aren't allowed in the theater, and it would have been way too scary for her, and I don't think she could have sat still through the show. I have promised that she can go when she's 6, so let's hope it's still playing somewhere or touring!

Cooper requested to eat in the hotel room again, so he and Steve stayed in, and Katie, Betty, Jim and I ventured out. We ate dinner at Rosebud on Rush and brought home plenty of food to share.

For more photos from Day 3, click here.

Coming next: Our last few hours in Chicago


Laura said...

We loved Millenium Park, too. The reflecting pool with digital images is so cool. Yes, it was filled with children during the summer!

Your trip sounds so wonderful, if not a bit exhausting. But that's always a sign of a good trip!

Anonymous said...

Yum! Rosebud is awesome. We love Chicago. Such a fun city. We have similar pictures from the Hancock building, including the fake city scene where you can act like you're hanging off of the rails... of course Caren and I did that.

See ya'll soon!

John W.