With a decent number of Illinois towns reviewed in Across Illinois (part one), this sequel mainly concentrates on the state’s biggest and best-known city—Chicago.
Our first stop in the Windy City was the Museum of Science and Industry. The museum displays a vast variety of exhibits, including such things as models of urban and countryside landscapes,
a bicycle and bicycle saddle collection,
interactive sensor-based monitors,
a mirror maze,
a big submarine exposition (how in the world did they get it there?),
and physical simulations of various natural phenomena.
After the museum we proceeded to the south end of the Magnificent Mile, where we parked our car, and continued on foot towards the Oak Street Beach.
We happened to be in Chicago at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests.
The theme of racial equality is still very much alive in the city.
At the start of Lake Shore Drive we crossed over to the beach, from which opens a nice overlook of the downtown high-risers.
Then we sauntered down the Lakefront Trail to Navy Pier.
We lingered a while at the fountain plaza opposite the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Next, we veered inland and continued into the River North neighborhood, which harbors a handful of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers.
We came across a few buildings whose first twenty or so floors were designated as parking. (How do owners direct their vehicles on higher parking floors?)
With so much of the nation’s financial activity centered in Chicago, its business district even features monuments dedicated to white-collar workers.
We ended our evening promenade at the site of the renowned Chicago Theater, whose marqee is one of the most recognizable city symbols.
Early next morning we drove to the village of Schaumburg for a few outdoor attractions. First, we swung by the Sculpture Park, where on the bank of a lake mounds the Awaking Muse sculpture (which is not without physical anomalies if you ask me).
After, we walked a few trails through the woods and fields of the Spring Valley refuge, culminating in a tour of the Heritage Farm, which, judging by the dresses and households of its workers, bears its name for a reason.
Just before noon we returned to Chicago, and popped into the local branch of American Science and Surplus. Those unfamiliar with this shop can get a summary of their merchandize from the following picture:
Lincoln Park Zoo was a disappointment due to overcrowdness, short free parking span, and unremarkable exhibits (animals obscured from sight or sitting in tight enclosures). Because we had been to much better zoos, our visit was rather brief.
I would not rate the Oz Park sculptures portraying the characters from the all-time children’s classic very high either.
Later, we drove to the south end of the Magnificent Mile and started a walking excursion of its landmarks. Among others we visited the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture (a.k.a. the Bean),
the Crown Fountain,
and the Buckingham Fountain,
with quite a bit of random scenes in between.
One notable building we passed was the Chicago Temple, allegedly the tallest church in the world (disregarding, of course, the fact that most of the building is used for very secular purposes).
For the last stop of the day (and a proper finale to my report) we chose the euphoniously named Shit Fountain. As you can see from the moist gloss of the top… eh… ornament, the fountain is fully operational.
All the best!