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A Day in Chicago

A morning exploring The Art Institute and an afternoon at Maggie Daley Park is one my favorite ways to spend a day in Chicago with my kiddos. They are just across the street from each other, so I only have to park once and there are no complaints about aching feet. It's also an inexpensive day out. The Art Institute is always free for children under the age of 14 and if you register it's also always free for teachers - if you homeschool you'll just need to show a co-op id.

Our favorite place to park is the Millennium Lakeside Garage - there is a stroller friendly elevator that takes your right up to one of the entrances to Maggie Daley Park. We always use Spot Hero and park for the day for around $15.

We went last week and had such a good time. I need to make more of an effort to visit Chicago more always feels like such a big task (it's the hour in traffic that get me) to do solo but once we are in the city we have so much fun. 

We are currently studying Van Gogh and AIC has an impressive number of his paintings. Little Lady immediately recognized his work - it so much fun seeing that the what we are observing and discussing at home is sticking with them. I was sure that The Starry Night or maybe Sunflowers would be the kiddos favorite Van Gogh paintings. However, Mini Man and Little Lady like the Bedroom at Arles, and Big Buddy is partial to Potato Eaters.

In getting to the room that hosts Van Gogh's paintings we also walked by some Monet's works. I pointed out to the kids that while Monet is known for his lily ponds their Dad prefers his studies of the Waterloo Bridge - Little Lady immediately sat down to sketch him a picture of one of the paintings. The way she adores her daddy and wants so much to please him makes my heart do somersaults - it's just too precious!

Last time we visited the AIC the gallery of renaissance art, arms and armor was closed so Big Buddy insisted we visit it this trip. I think he could of spent all day there examining the details of the weapons. 

While were there we also found some armor that looked like it would fit Baby Z. The boys pointed it out to him and he kept walking back to it and saying "that's mine, that's mine."

It's been awhile since we've studied renaissance history but as soon Big Buddy saw the picture below he knew it was Saint George and the Dragon and was so excited to look it over. A lot of times I wonder if the few minutes we get to spend on art each week is really making an impact. This trip was reinvigorating because not only were the kiddos able to recognize paintings but they also felt comfortable comparing and discussing. Those little moments really do add up and make an impact.

There is so much to see at AIC that we could of spent all day there but after a couple hours BabyZ was done. He actually started to ask, "we go home now, pleassse?" I think the older kiddos could have looked awhile longer but I wanted to call it quits while they were still excited by the art instead of bored by it. 

It's so nice that the park is right across the street. They got to let off some steam after having to move slowly and talk quietly all morning. 

I'm not sure if these ropes under this bridge are meant to be used as monkey bars but Big Buddy and Mini Man love swinging themselves across them. They usually draw a bit of a crowded - they are skinny little things and I think most people are amazed they have stamina to make it across. 

BabyZ made Big Buddy take him down this slide over a dozen a times. We tried to distract him with swings and other slides, but this was his favorite and he was determined to do it over and over and over again. 

I'm so thankful for what a good big brother he is - I don't think I would have been able to make it to the top of the slide carrying BabyZ, let alone continuously for 20 minutes. 

 This kid...always, always climbing.

Do you have any favorite places you like to go in the Chicagoland area? If so please share. 


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