Part II of the Big Illinois Trip

Friday!  Originally slated to be moving day!  But then the company Mom hired called and asked if she’d mind switching to Saturday.  Of course not since that’s what she originally wanted…provided they weren’t going to charge her extra as they stated they would originally.  Nope.  Corporate made the move, so the switch and Saturday pick up are free.

Which left us Friday to head to the zoo!  I loved going to the zoo growing up (aw heck, I still love it) and it’s one of the things I miss living out here in the sticks.  So the chance to take the Boy to the zoo was high on my “to-do-before-we-leave” list.  I would have liked to do many other Chicago-ish things with him, but hey, we only had so many days.

We opted for Brookfield Zoo. Because as an added bonus, they are being attacked by dinosaurs this summer!


The Boy has really been digging into dinos lately thanks to a couple books we have.  He’ll even tell you his favorite is Archaeopteryx (that’d be a bird one).  Or spike-o-saurus.  Unfortunately…these dinos, while awesomely done and huge, were also animatronic.  Meaning they roared.  Very loudly.  Did I mention here the Boy is not a fan of loud noises?  He refused to exit the stroller for the duration of the exhibit.  Oh well. (And that’s a t-rex up there, who just roared.  Which is why the Boy looks like he’s trying to disappear into the back of the stroller.)


One area the Boy *did* love were the dolphins!  A Boy after his mother’s heart.  The dolphin shows are on hiatus while they gear up for a major remodel; however, you can still enter the underground viewing area.  Someone did not want to go at first (because I pulled him off a playground to go.  Hey!  We were there to see the animals, not play on the swings and slide!) but once there didn’t want to leave.  Luckily we had seals right next door to soothe the transition.

(And by the way – how awesome would it be to have the office those windows look in on?)


A definite highlight of the day was the carousel.  (The Boy thought this was a dolphin.  I didn’t tell him otherwise.)  We actually rode twice.  The second time the Boy really wanted to ride on the Lion.  Cool with me.  We arrived just as they were about to start a ride and the lion was open.  Until we went through the gate.  Just as we walked up to the lion, a big ol’ 30-something-year old hopped on the lion.  Are you kidding me?  I nicely said, “Excuse me, my 2 year old really wants to ride on the lion, would you mind?”  His answer?  “Yeah, it’s the only one that fits me.”  What?!?!  How insane is that?  It’s a carousel.  FOR KIDS.  Get your stupid butt back over by your kids (a few rows up) and let my kid ride the lion!  But instead we went a couple rows back and opted for the polar/panda bear.  (It was a panda bear.  But someone kept calling it a polar bear. *shrug*)  What’s that?  Did I make a comment about the guy being mean and a big dope for not letting a 2 year old on the lion?  Why of course I did.  And I’m sure he heard me.

After the first jaunt on the carousel we headed to the Butterfly house.  I’d been to the one in St. Louis when I lived there.  They are pretty amazing.


(Technically I think this one is a moth…but whatever.  It’s purdy.)

The one at Brookfield was  no dissapointment.  The Boy really wanted a butterfly to land on him, but no luck.  I suspect the squirmy movements discouraged such fun.  But you know I took plenty of those annoying flower/butterfly pictures.  And most of them turned out well!

We were lucky enough to see many of the animals that are high on the Boy’s list of favorites, including giraffes, elephants (not as exciting as riding on one), a number of bears, plenty of birds, and a whole slew of monkeys.  But the most fun of the whole trip seemed to be those cutouts you stick your head in…




(These all happened to be from one big display that shows some of the major events at Brookfield.)

We finally tuckered both the Boy and ourselves out and decided to head back home.  Sure enough, someone fell asleep in the car!  Before we even made it back to the expressway (a couple miles).

Friday night we met up with Jack and Ceil, two of my Mom’s greatest friends, for the fish fry dinner at a local pub.  What was originally slated to be a whole group of people wishing my mom farewell turned into just the 5 of us, and that was fine with us.  After dinner we went back to Jack & Ceil’s for yummy cheesecake and fresh straweberries.  Someone was a bit discombublated with the whole Redi-whip-direct-to-the-mouth idea though.  But he polished off all his strawberries and quickly asked for more.  We finally decided it was late enough and bid adieu to Jack and Ceil to go spend our last night in the house I grew up in…