When we picked Chicago for our trip, we knew that we wanted to see a few things for sure, a few other things could wait until M was older. Top of the list was the Shedd Aquarium. M loves fish, smacking her lips was one of her first animal noises. She gets excited at the doctor's office because of the fish tanks. The other thing I wanted to see was the Art Institute. Unfortunately most of the impressionist exhibit is on loan to a museum in Texas while they renovate. We knew that M isn't ready for fine art quite yet, so we figured that could wait, we still had the aquarium.
Except... two weeks ago they closed the part I wanted to see for renovations until next summer. You know, the part with the sea otters, my favorite animal obsession. Not to mention, the dolphins, the whales (beluga), and the penguins. Hello let down.
So, we still saw all of the fish at the aquarium. I think she may have even gone into a bit of a fish overload. After a quick lunch at the aquarium, we took a tour bus to get back to the hotel to drop off a few things. The tour bus allowed us to let M get a nap in, and she went to sleep easier. If we had gone back to the hotel it would have been us fighting her to sleep, and then doing nothing while she slept. By being a little more flexible on the sleep thing, we didn't feel like we lost half the day. Since M wasn't sleeping well anyways, it worked out about the same. She was going to come home very tired no matter what.
After our quick hotel stop, we took the L to the Lincoln Park Zoo (something I wouldn't recommend, the bus is way faster/closer)
The zoo was nice. They have a good balance between the classic zoo with animals in small cages, and some actual habitat for them. (similar to the Como Zoo) Like many zoos I am sure they struggle with allowing people to see animals, and not making things worse for the animals. The monkeys were a hit, and the apes were mostly scary. One of the female chimps freaked out on one of the others (love triangle maybe), and it freaked M out. The only other issue was that we were there close to closing time, and it seemed a lot of animals were off exhibit for feeding. Something it would have been nice if they could have held off on for another half an hour.
Even though I won't show M's face, that doesn't prevent me from showing videos. It is of her and her new friend from the Amazon section of the Shedd. It was by far her favorite, since there were lots of fish the same size or bigger than her.