Where we had breakfast - The base of The John Hancock Building.
This morning we decided on breakfast somewhere out. Lena heard of a place called The Corner Bakery which was supposedly nearby, but we couldn't find it. So, we ended up at a little place at the base of the John Hancock Building which turned out to be very nice! It was a deli, a bakery and also served up hot breakfast to go. We just got coffee, juice and some pastries and ate at a little outdoor seating area right at the base of the John Hancock Building. The morning was beautiful, and there was a large fountain/water fall right next to us. This was great way to start our day!
Our plan was to visit the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and maybe the Adler Planetarium if there was time. Since the Field Museum is so big, we decided to visit the aquarium first, then see how much time we had left in the day for the museum and the planetarium.
We thought we would try out the bus system today. The #146 bus takes you right to the aquarium and the museum from Michigan Ave, and that's where we were, so that's the bus we needed. While waiting for the bus, we could hear some of the planes practicing for the air show tomorrow and even caught a glance of a few. Once on the bus, it was about a 30 minute ride to the Field Museum which is right next to the Shedd Aquarium. With our Go Chicago Cards, we were able to skip the long line to get in and go right to the counter to get our free admission tickets. The admission for the aquarium is $24.95 a person, so getting in free and not having to stand in that long line was great!
Mike, Courtnie & Lena having breakfast.
The Shedd Aquarium is very nice and has lots of exhibits to see.
The main floor is laid out very nice, but be sure you get a map or you might miss some of the hidden areas on the other floors. I would say it is almost as nice as the National Aquarium in Baltimore, maybe a bit nicer is some ways, but definitely worth seeing if you are in Chicago! We spent a good amount of time in the aquarium, but were unable to see the dolphin show due to a full seating area, but it was getting to be lunch time and we wanted to get over to the Field Museum.
The front of the Shedd Aquarium and the long line we DID NOT have to stand in!
Again, the Go Chicago Cards came in handy as we didn't have to pay the $23.00 per person admission to enter the museum. After eating a McDonalds lunch in the lower level of the Field Museum, we decided to pick out the things we wanted to see most here. This place is big and you would need a full day to see everything. We all wanted to see the Egyptian displays, and of course Sue, the most complete skeleton of a T-Rex ever found. Sue is in the main hall, so she was easy to check out.
But, if you want to see her skull, it is on the second floor. The skeleton in the main room has a reproduction skull because the real one cannot be supported on the skeleton, it's just too heavy. The Egyptian area of the museum was very cool to walk through. In places it was like you were inside one of the ancient pyramids. Here they have 23 Egyptian mummies, hundreds of artifacts and pieces of 5,000 year old hieroglyphics including parts of the Book of the Dead! Next we walked through part of the Nature Exhibit. This displays mammals, birds and reptiles from all over the world, including the Loins of Tsavo. There is so much to see here, so if you visit, be sure to give yourself a full day to see it all, if you can even do it in a day!
It was now time to head back to the hotel so Courtnie, Lena and I could shower and get ready for our night out with our fellow TravBuddies. Since we were going to be in Chicago, I started to set up a Meet-up with aloha_keith about three months earlier.
It didn't take long before I had 33 confirmed TB members attending.
The front logo on the shirt Keith got for traveling the farthest to attend the meet-up.
At first, I planned on having the meet-up at a supper club attached to our hotel. But, a month or so from the meet-up date, Keith found out the supper club had closed. So, now I am in a panic as to where to have every one meet. After few days of searching on line, I found a place called Flatwater. The pictures on line looked very nice and when talking to them on the phone, they were very pleasant to deal with. So, I decided this would be the new meet-up location and sent the word out through TravBuddy of the change. To say the least, I was worried about this whole thing going well. Here I am, never had been to a large meet-up before, and I'm setting one up from Maryland, in a city half way across the country I have never been to before. I must be crazy!
Well Courtnie, Lena and I arrived at Flatwater around 5:30pm.
I wanted to be sure I was there to greet everyone. They had us seated outside which is want I requested, but had us at a very long table along the wall next to the water. This made for great views, but did not make it easy to talk with everyone seated at the table. As everyone arrived, I handed out the name tags I made up so we would be able to remember everyone's name, or so I could at least. I'm so bad with names! I don't remember who showed up first, but eventually 20 of the 33 confirmed arrived and we placed orders for appetizers and dinner. Before dinner was served, I made a little speech about how good it was to have everyone there and made special mentions about those who had traveled so far just for this meet-up. Not only did we have a few locals with us, we had two sisters from Florida, a few people from Wisconsin, a couple from Kansas, and one from Minnesota, but also gianina007 from Hastings, England and aloha_keith from Hawaii! What a great turn out and great group of people!! With Keith traveling the farthest to attend the meet-up, he received a special award; a t-shirt with the TravBuddy logo and Chicago Meet-Up August 14, 2009 on the front, and on the back it said" I traveled 4249 miles to meet people I met on line".
All of us during dinner at Flatwater
It was close between him and Gianina, but he was the winner. Also, since we still had Go Chicago Cards which were good all day Saturday, I gave those to the four people that traveled the next furthest to attend. Those lucky winners were gianina007 from England, MiamiMaria and flyinhigh from Florida and the_bill from Minnesota. If I messed up on this and someone else came farther, I apologies. This was a last minute decision to give our Go Chicago Cards away. I knew we wouldn't be able to use them Saturday, so I hope they were put to good use! During the evening, I attempted to talk with everyone there, but it was difficult with how the table was set up. I did move around a bit and chat with everyone, but not like I wanted to. I think everyone was having a good time, but it was time to move the party elsewhere!
After a nice dinner and a few drinks, we all left Flatwater and headed to another bar. We ended up at a little piano bar and had I had another drink to toast a great meet-up.
After that, Lena, Courtnie and I called it a night. We had a early wakeup call in the morning and I didn't want to be on the road trying to get through Chicago during the air show! We are attending my family reunion (on my mom's side of the family) in Racine, Wisconsin which starts at noon, so we need to be on the road early.
All of us after dinner.
It was GREAT meeting all of you and I sincerely hope you all had a good time! I wish we could have hung out longer and gotten to know each other a little better! I can't thank you all enough for making my first big meet-up as the organizer a success! Here is a list of the great TravBuddies from the August 14, 2009 Chicago Meet-Up.
..Thank you all again!!
Jeremy "festerwretch" - This drink is for all of you that could not make it to the meet-up!
marksreynolds (Mark) from Annapolis, Maryland - that's me
bwitch16 (Lena) from Annapolis, Maryland - my wife :]
aloha_keith (Keith) from Honolulu, Hawaii
blenderboy (Jim ) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
mmarc2000 (Mike) from Chicago, Illinois
Roguefairy13 (Courtnie) from Davidsonville, Maryland - my daughter
travelman727 (Mark) from Overland Park, Kansas
itslola (lola) from Leawood, Kansas
festerwretch (Jeremy) from Rockton, Illinois
Flyinhigh (Joanne) from Ft.
Inside the cafe in the John Hancock Building.
MiamiMaria (Maria) from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
the_bill (Bill) from Chask, Minnesota
gianina007 (Gianina) from Hastings, England
euraildude (Paul) from Chicago, Illinois
steph928 (Stephanie) from Chicago, Illinois
sweetsummerdaiz (Elle) from Green Bay, Wisconsin
HCSmooth66 (Cory) from Madison, Wisconsin
mhopgood123 (Maria) from Chicago, Illinois
Lolita930 (Joy) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
bodtkd (Brian) from Chicago, Illinois