risky business

SUE. Not her original head.

Saturday shenanigans original plan: A brunch before spending the afternoon at the Shedd Aquarium. Karen loves the sea otters and other furry marine mammals; I’m keen on all the aquatic creatures, critters and beasts.

We knew the plan was risky. The museums are free to Illinois residents this weekend. Often, we tend to make what we call “rookie mistakes”: “Hey, let’s plan a visit to a museum, park <insert event here> on the busiest day of the week, month, year, millennium!”

We were warned. We understood the situation. Nevertheless, we persisted.

The Eleven City Diner in the South Loop never disappoints.

Karen ordering a LEO (lox, eggs and onions)!
My first regret of the day: not ordering a piece of carrot cake.

The Shedd

As we rolled up on the Shedd, Karen spotted a gathering of people that set off an alarm. “Is that the line? Nah, it couldn’t be the line…probably just a group of tourists.” As we crested the hill we took in the view: “Yep. That’s the line.    …Damnit.”

Waiting to enter. Not pictured: ~500 people beyond this point.

The optimistic rally!

We gathered ourselves and debated Adler Planetarium or Field Museum? Field Museum! Why not? Karen hadn’t been there in years and…SUE the T. Rex!

Taking in the beauty of the neoclassic architecture of the Field Museum.

Karen and the Caryatids, a.k.a. “sturdy women”.
A girl and her city.
The best city flag.

Remembering why Karen hadn’t been to the Field Museum.

Shortly after entering, we lingered taking in the sights of SUE and Carl Akeley’s fighting African elephants. It was then Karen realized why she hasn’t visited the Field Museum recently: taxidermy. She’s not a big fan. Nope.

SUE, the fighting African elephants, near SUE’s original skull. According to the exhibit her original skull weighs more than 600 lbs and is too heavy to mount on her skeleton.


We plotted an optimal path through the Field Musuem. How best to avoid taxidermied creatures? We chose to focus on Conservation and, oddly, Lichens.

We’d almost finished the Conservation exhibit when we heard the closing announcement and chimes. I’d lost my mental map of the museum and, sadly, took a path to the exit past ALL OF THE TAXIDERMY CREATURES. Birds, deer, reptiles (the snakes are impressive), cats, panthers…all of the Magical Creatures Of The Earth. I tried to scout ahead but each attempt lead to closed stairwells or more esoteric, extinct taxidermy specimins.

The trauma was real.

A closed stairwell.

Ending the day on a high note!

Our walk through Grant Park was relaxing and restorative. The day finished on a high note as we managed to remember to avoid taking the Orange line from Roosevelt. The Orange line enters the Loop on the Southeastern corner and travels clockwise to Wabash and Lake. The Green line doesn’t make a full circuit, traversing on the North and Eastern sides of the Loop. Three stops home, not five, for the win!

Someone alert the CTA! Shady customer on the platform!



6 thoughts on “risky business

      1. Oh, so happy for you! I love those “blue bird” days!

        After reading your recommendation “Too High and Too Steep”I can’t help but think of the dinosaurs roaming our area before the ice meandered down our way.

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