On Indy & Windy

Last weekend we took off for my eldest to audition at a college ballet program in Indianapolis.   We were expecting COLD weather and snow, but somehow luck was on our side and the weather was about the same as it was here when we left – about 37 to 34 or so.  (Didn’t even have to break out the new long underwear we’d bought!)
The younger ones and I toured the Indianapolis Museum of Art while she did her audition.  It was free!  We even got free parking because our art museum here has reciprocal membership. Fantastic museum and we only got to see two floors before we had to meet back with dad and Emily at Butler. It was a beautiful campus and the people are so incredibly nice.  Now to wait and see if she gets in!
After Indy we drove to Chicago for a fantastic welcome weekend for prospective students at SAIC (the art institute.)  She was accepted there with a pretty good scholarship, and being one of the best art schools in America we decided it was worth the time.  I’m so in awe of the school!  I wish they had dance also, BUT Jeoffry Ballet and Chicago Ballet are within walking distance so I think she’d be able to take some classes if she decides to go there.


Chicago was not bad as far as weather goes either and we got to walk around a bit and hit some of the top kid spots (Science Museum, Millenium Park, Lego store…)
We stayed at another Historic Hotel, the Palmer House Hilton.  We try to stay in Historic Hotels (if they have rooms large enough for the six of us) wherever we can.  The prices are usually not any more than a “box” hotel and you get a totally different experience.
No matter where she chooses, it was a fun trip!

On Fun in the Windy City

Navy Pier 
Last week was spent in the windy city, Chicago!  It ended up being a fantastic summer vacation.  
The natives were complaining about the 87 degree weather and we were in heaven 
coming from over 100’s in Arkansas. 

We watched fireworks from Navy Pier (quite on accident.)  We’d walked down to check out the pier about 3 or 4, and found out when we thought about going back for a nap that the pier was closed to anyone else due to crowd control.  Anyway, we stayed and had a great time people-watching and the fireworks show was nice.  This year the city cut the show to 15 minutes due to budget cuts, I guess in the past it’s been an hour long.

Tips if you go:

  • Buy rail passes for the week at the airport (adults price was around $28, kids over 6 were $20 or so and the youngest was free.)  The O’Hare airport has a train that runs right into it, so you can ride into the city without having to get a cab.  It worked well, we were staying close to Navy Pier, so we had one transfer, but it was fine even with kids and luggage. 
  • Wear good shoes!  (You’ll be doing A LOT of walking!) 
  •  Rent bikes (almost anywhere) and you’ll have a blast.  (There are many bike trails and Chicago has so many beautiful things to see that are easy to get to by bike.  They even have segway and bike tours!) 
  Can you believe this is in the middle of the city?
  • Get a membership to your local museum before you go.  (We do this every year and just on this trip we saved over $200 in entrance fees, I think it was only $75 to join our museum as a family.  We also belong to our local Art Museum and Zoo as a family, and many of those are reciprocal.) 
 Museum of Science & Technology
  • Take lots of pictures! (I have too many, why I haven’t posted sooner.)
  • Make sure you have bathing suits or change of clothes for kids in your bag. (I didn’t on a few occasions and from the number of fountains in Chicago you can imagine…)

  • Scavenger Hunts! (Chicago has a great website for the city with scavenger hunts for various areas.  Lots of fun! Also has calendars with events. 

  • Be prepared to wait for pizza.  (Chicago deep dish takes an hour to bake so you’ll wait two hours for pizza.  You can call ahead to some famous places and they will put your name and what you want down on the list. )

  • Explore!