Industry, Architecture, and Pirates (Chicago 7)

Day 4 in Chicago!

This morning, we woke up probably at 7am and got on the bus around 8am in the morning. By ten, we were already at the parks with the soldier statues. The bus took us all the way to Museum of Science and Industry-hands down, one of the bests science museums. Give it to Chicago, the city that bursted into skyscrapers for having a museum dedicated to industry!

Museum of Science and Industry

To begin with, this museum had three stories and another level dedicated to the entrance lobby and the museum store. Our ticket included a show and we decided on the Great White Shark for our entertainment.

We explored a few exhibits (on motion and toy-making) before doing the mirror maze and going to the theater to watch enjoy our show (it was a large theater with many steep steps). The mirror maze was intimidating-with one small misstep, would you ever find your way back again? It was dark inside with some colored light reflecting each other. Luckily it was a short maze and we did.

The storm chasing exhibit were fascinating. In that exhibit, there it even demonstrated static and had an Tesla coil that could generate lightning. It was interactive; it was loud. There were many interactive activities including one that used real fire.

Yesterday’s Main Street was a more historical exhibit with models of stores. Chicago, you really did it. This exhibit let us walked through over 100 years of history. We saw the old Walgreens Drug store as if we’re in 1910. There was the Gossard Corset Shop with its nice dresses, the Nickelodeon theater with a show, and Finnigan’s Ice Cream Parlor with seats in front of the shop. It was like walking back in time.

Afterwards, we saw the Transportation Gallery. This had the most amazing and the biggest train model I’ve ever seen. The train went through mountains, ports, and every thing was animated-a visitor can even change the large train model from day to night. There was the whole city in the model. Trains crossed over bridges with fake waterfalls and went under bridges, going from the mountains, to the city, to the beachside. Planes hung overhead the model. This model had 20 trains over realistic terrains.

Next, was the boat and submarine exhibit, a very patriotic piece with many models of US ships. We wandered and ended up walking in what felt like a science laboratory. They had a huge real model there and a display of the U-505, the only German submarine in the US and its anchor.

The circus model was entertaining after we went through the Idea Factory. There’s a model of a town with the circus going through it and music playing. You see the view as the audience, you see the audience as little silhouette figures. Two horses drew each carriage carrying different circus animals, and each pair of horses were intricately decorated differently. It really was a circus as the horse-drawn carriages moved through the town.

In the Baby Chick Hatchery exhibit, we saw young chicken breaking out of their shells and slowly got out of its shell to the point where they could walk. For bicyclists, there was an exhibit called the Art of the Bicycle, showing how bikes have changed over the years.

Finally, we wandered into the third level-the flight exhibits. There was wooden Wrights brother plane as well as a real United plane for demo. That was how big this museum was. Another very interesting exhibit was the Whispering Gallery. In the ellipsoid-shape gallery, one can whisper on one end, and the voice could be heard from the other.

Lovely Weather Outside

We didn’t want to leave the museum so soon, but we wanted to catch the tour of the Robie House at 2pm. We were so close by that walked part way. We even saw a rabbit in the bush as we walked outside!

It was a nice neighborhood with lots of trees, elegant lawns, and a nicely ornate church with vines growing on it, covering the gray stone walls and into the arch of two front doors.

Robie House

The Robie House was considered a small mansion built in prairie style with intent of rooms for servants. Nowadays, it looked smaller than expected, but very well-restored, with bricks that were specifically bought to match the old bricks. These red bricks weren’t ordinary; they had shade of purple and yellow in them.

Most amazing is how the house was shaped like a boat and that the main entrance was well-hidden in the low ceiling. The whole house seemed to be blocks of rectangles, carefully arranged so that it didn’t topped over. On the upper level, there were windows with stained glass patterns lined up on the walls. It was a great large lobby and the front of the “boat” had the balcony overlooking the road. Even the fireplace in the middle was not the usual kind-it had two pipes going upward, so that you can see between the rooms. The ceiling had its own wooden design along with the many lights.

The history of Robie House seemed dire. Located near the University of Chicago, the family had built it with high hopes and had hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design it, but they went into bankruptcy. (Robie had only lived in it for fourteen months before having to sell it.) After passing from owner to owner, the Robie house became what it was today: a preserved site.

The suburb around the university was quiet but it was also very quaint. It seemed that there were lots of ivy-covered buildings and tall trees.

After the tour, we caught a bus to take us to Navy Pier again for our last boat ride.

Tall Ship Windy

At first, we wandered around Navy Pier’s plentiful foodcourt and admired the indoor mural. At 7:15pm, we boarded this thin-looking ship for “Skyline Sail with Tales of Real Pirates of the Inland Seas.”

Windy, the barque, had four masts, was 148 foot, and modeled after the traditional Great Lakes trading ship. The actors told the story of gangsters and their rum trade in the Roaring 30’s. They especially engaged the younger children and involved them in the story on the lower deck. I found myself enjoying the view on the upper deck and liked their small store.

Since it was before 8pm, we were able take some evening photos before the sun went down. The view on the lake had a shade of pink that was so beautiful. We saw the jetty and passed right by the lighthouse, and seeing the city at this time was extremely nice because of the shade of blue, navy, and black. The sunset was also brilliant from the store.

The “pirate” who was telling the story was very captivating. The captain was also a very entertaining man who joked around and almost didn’t let me take a photo, holding the steering wheels of the boat. I could have said I “sailed” a boat.

The story ended as we docked on the pier. Night have fallen.

Our Hostel

Our host asked us to stay, but we had already made plans with the hostel so we could be closer to downtown and have our hostel experience.

We got out of the bus at a six-corner stop near Lincoln Park. The thought of walking on the streets at night to the quiet suburbs seemed scary. We kept going, walking in the streets covered with trees and into the shadows. Finally, we found our way to the residential area where our hostel was. Even at night, some people were still walking in. On the doorsteps were guys from the hostel hanging out. We actually had to ring the front door clerk to let us in (it was that late). We found the cafeteria easily, but were surprised that our rooms were in the basement.

At first, my bed had another girl’s stuff in it. I thought that a hostel could give a new social experience, but the people in our dorm either stayed in the hallway and spoke within their group or were sleeping by ten pm.

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