When we found the museum yesterday, we discovered that it was located conveniently right next to the shores of Lake Michigan, just down the road from an incredibly cool fountain, a short distance away from downtown, and just down the road from an aquarium and a planetarium. Thus the plan for day two of our weekend came about.
We got up early this time, since yesterday we'd slept late and then did breakfast with four of our other coworkers, not making it to the museum until noon. Today we had ambitious plans – first we'd hit the aquarium, then check out the planetarium, and then if there was time we'd keep following the road until we reached yet another museum (this one all about science). Ha. Silly us.
The Shedd aquarium is incredible. The exhibits are laid out beautifully with all sorts of fascinating little tidbits of information scattered amongst the tanks, so it's not just room after room full of pretty fish. There were a lot of those, of course (pretty fish, that is), plus other sea-dwelling critters like anemones and clams and so on. They even had live nautiluses which was kind of neat, considering we'd never actually seen live ones before.
There was an entire exhibit dedicated to seahorses, and Richard and I wandered through and discovered that there are a whole lot more varieties of seahorse than either of us had ever guessed. Our favorite was the leafy sea dragon, which is a greenish sea horse with a delicate dragon's face and fins everywhere that looked just like leaves. We also got to watch otters rolling around and around in the water and decimating their lunch (whole crabs), and had fun listening to one of the beluga whales interrupting the announcer with an impressive array of squeaks, clicks, and hollers during the presentation.
After we left the aquarium there wasn't really enough time to get to the other sites (since they all closed at 5), so instead we eyed the park and started walking. We meandered through the park and drank root beer floats by the Buckingham fountain, crossed through a little rose garden, and then made our way back to the car via a walkway along the shores of the lake. Back in the car, we drove around downtown Chicago, hanging our heads out the car windows to check out all the old stone and brick buildings. Somehow I managed to not run the car into anything while we were doing this - don't ask me how.
My feet ache from all the walking we've done the past two days, and my head is swimming with all the nifty little things I've seen and heard and learned. The weekend is almost over. And what a weekend it's been.