Chicago

The third largest city in the USA is a must-see destination for any tourist. The Windy City has a population of about 2.7 residents and has been featured in a wide variety of media. Fly into the O'Hare International airport, the world's second largest airport. Great parks, food, museums, architecture and nightlife come together to in a vibrant, unified manor. Be sure to see the top two tallest buildings in the United States, which include the world famous, 108-story Willis Tower and the 98-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, which opened in 2009.

Notable attractions include Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the oldest free zoo in the country, Lincoln Park Zoo. Be sure to get a bird’s eye view of the city from atop the Willis Tower, at Skydeck Chicago, or at the John Hancock Observatory. Upscale shopping along the Magnificent Mile and State Street, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago’s eminent architecture.

Lincoln Park Zoo opened in 1868, that’s right, and is located on 35 acres with almost 1,250 animals. Animals include Western Lowland Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Red Kangaroos, Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, Polar Bears, Gray Seals, North American river otters, Baringo giraffes, Dwarf Crocodiles, and so many more. Exhibits and Animal Houses: Regenstein African, McCormick Bear Habitat, McCormick Bird HouseJourney, Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit, Kovler Penguin and Seabird House, Helen Brach Primate House, Kovler Lion House, Kovler Sea Lion Pool, Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House, Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond, Flamingo Habitat, Regenstein Center for African Apes, Antelope & Zebra Area, Farm-in-the-Zoo Presented by John Deere, and The Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Attractions at the zoo are The AT&T Endangered Species Carousel, which features 48 wooden animals and two chariots and can accommodate up to 50 riders. Tickets are $2.75 per ride. The LPZoo Express Train is a children’s train (suggested ages 3-12 years old). Tickets for this ride are $2.25. Dining: Park Place Café, the zoo’s year-round food-court, and the following seasonal restaurants Café At Wild Things!, Café Brauer, Café Brauer’s Ice Cream Shoppe, Landmark Café and Safari Café. Admission is free, it’s the oldest free public zoo in the country, unlike the nearby Brookfield Zoo

The Field Museum of Natural History was founded in 1893 and currently has many popular exhibits like “Sue,” the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus currently known, a set of human cultural anthropology exhibits, including artifacts from ancient Egypt, the Pacific Northwest and Tibet, a large and diverse taxidermy collection, featuring many large animals, including two prized African elephants and the Lions of Tsavo, featured in the 1996 movie “The Ghost and the Darkness”. A large collection of dinosaurs in the Evolving Planet exhibit (formerly Life Over Time). A large collection of Native American artifacts. The main exhibit with these artifacts reopened as Ancient Americas in March 2007.

Navy Pier receives 8.6 million visitors a year making it the tenth most visited attraction in the US . Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot long pier that was built in 1916 on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. Attractions: Pier Park is home to the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, standing 150 feet high and offering 7-minute rides in the 40 gondolas that each seat up to six passengers, with views of the Chicago skyline, the Musical Carousel featuring 36 hand-painted animals, the Wave Swinger, with 48 seats that let you swing out over the water, an 18 Hole Miniature Golf Course, Remote Control Boats, and the Light Tower Ride, a 13 foot hopper. Chicago Children’s Museum was established in 1982. Permanent exhibits include Play It Safe, Kraft Artabounds Studio, BIG Backyard, Dinosaur Expedition, Inventing Lab, Kids on the Fly, Kids Town, Kovler Family Climbing Schooner, My Museum, Skyline, Treehouse Trails, and WaterWays. Admission is $10 for children and adults, $9 for seniors and free for children under 1, yet free (15 and under) if you come on the first sunday of each month, or free for every one if you come on thursday evenings from 5-8. Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze is a 4,000 sq. ft. maze that’s full of fun for everyone. The Navy Pier AeroBallon takes you high above Chicago, giving you a view like you’ve never seen before. Transporter FX lets you chose your thrill level when taking a high speed motion thrill ride to the Antartica, to the Moon, or to Wild Africa, Fly into Combat, or Race in the Grand Prix. Admission is $6. Bike and Roll Chicago offers bikes and skates for rent by the hour, day or week. Segway Experience of Chicago offers two-hour tours seven days a week beginning at 11am-May-September. Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows opened in February 2000 and houses a permanent display of 150 stained glass windows in an 800-ft.-long series of galleries It’s the first museum in the United States dedicated to stained glass windows and best of all admission is free. Numerous cruises, dining and shopping options and so much more are all available at Navy Pier.

Willis Tower became the new name of the Sears Tower in July 2009. The city skyline is obviously Chicagos number one delacasy. You can see it from the the John Hancock Observatoryor from the top of the Willis Tower. Built for approx. $150 million. Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower is located on the 103rd floor. It can be reached by two elevators at the speed of 60 seconds. All glass boxes opened to the public on July 2, 2009. They allow you to look through the floor and can bear five tons of weight. This tower did not turn out to be as successful as was hoped. It stood HALF-VACANT FOR OVER A DECADE! Sears vacated the building, which had been sold numerous times, by 1995. This is such a sad story, especially for Sears & Roebuck who lost so much money on this investment. I’m assuming this story is why this is the tallest building in the U.S. to date. Nothing could impress you more than a look at this spectacular skyline.

One of the best aquariums in the nation, the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois opened in may 1930 and contains 32,500 animals, 1,500 species and contains 5,000,000 gallons of water. If you love big, popular species than this is the place for you! I would highly reccomend this wonderful aquarium which features Sea otters, beluga whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, North American River Otters, sea lions, blacktip reef sharks, zebra sharks, rock hopper penguins, Magellanic Penguins and many, many more. The five permanent exhibits are Amazon Rising, Carribean Reef, Waters of the World, the Oceanarium, and Wild Reef. The newest attraction is Fatasea which is a show that premiered in October 2009 with belugas, dolphins, penguins and sea lions.

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