This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
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Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Chicago trip recap
View of downtown from the Field Museum
We spent the long 4th of July weekend in Chicago. With all of the house selling and house building stuff that we've been dealing with, we figured it was best to get out of town for a few days.

We arrived in Chicago Friday afternoon. Our hotel (see photos) was right in the middle of downtown. We were less than a block from the Sears Tower and about 3 blocks from the Art Institute on Michigan Ave. So we parked our van in a parking garage and opted for walking or public transit over the next couple of days.

View down Wacker from Michigan Ave.Friday night, we decided to walk down to Michigan Avenue and go shopping (see photos). Taste of Chicago was going on, so there were a ton of people out and about. I had forgotten how far all of the shops were on Michigan, so we ended up walking waaaay too far (So far, that I ended up giving Miles a piggyback ride back to the hotel).

We hit the GAP, Crate and Barrel, and the LEGO Store before calling it a night.

We got up early Saturday morning and headed out to the Field Museum (see photos). Mahlon and Miles really wanted to see Sue the T-Rex that was on display.

The weather in Chicago was great on Saturday. It was around 80 with very little humidity (a nice break from the 90 degrees and high humidity in Louisville).

Field MuseumBecause we have a Louisville Zoo and Science Center membership, admission to most of the museums in Chicago was free. Sweet! The Field was nice. I found myself marvelling more at the architecture of the museum than at the exhibits.

Next, we grabbed a bus and headed out to the Navy Pier (see photos) to check out the Children's Museum (more free admission!). The bus trip was pretty chaotic. Tons of people on the bus and our bus driver was a maniac.

The Pier was packed with people, so we slipped in the Children's Museum for about an hour. Not a really big museum, but the kids had fun. I think our favorite exhibit was "The Big Backyard" which featured this really cool video installation that uses your shadow to change the images on the screen. On one, you could change the direction of these multicolored raindrops based on where your shadow was (see video). On the other, a swarm of butterflies would move based on how your shadow moved. Very cool.

After the museum, we decided to head out to the Pier; however, it was just too crowded. We did order some ice cream, though, and, while I was waiting in line, I ran into Rex from work. He was heading up to Milwaukee and had made a pitstop. How weird is that? We're in Chicago in the middle of the Navy Pier and I run into someone from work. Crazy!

The rest of Saturday was spent shopping over on State Street on the way back to our hotel.

Sunday would end up being our longest day in Chicago. We got up early and grabbed a bus for the long trip up to the Lincoln Park Zoo (see photos). They just opened the new Children's Zoo area on Thursday, so this was great timing.

Lincoln Park ZooThe kids really enjoyed seeing the lions, cheetahs, gorillas and bears.

After spending a couple of hours at the zoo, we took the bus back to the hotel to change clothes and get ready for our trip out to Naperville for Ribfest. Why the hell did we want to go 30 miles into the suburbs? Urge Overkill (see photos), of course. UO was playing at 8:30 Sunday night, so we figured that for $14 total ($7 for adults, kids free) we couldn't go wrong.

After spending 30 minutes on the CTA bus, spending 30 minutes on the open road in the car seemed like a treat. We found some free parking and hiked the 3/4 mile or so to the festival. It was much more state fair-ish than I had expected (Ted Nugent was the headliner on the main stage, so...); however, we ended up having a good time.

Nash and EdThe kids ate funnel cakes and drank lemonade. I dogged out some ribs. Mahlon and I even bumped into Ed from UO out among the festival goers. He was very nice (as usual) and introduced himself to Mahlon. Mahlon thought that was pretty cool.

Urge played about an hour and fifteen minutes and sounded great. The crowd was pretty respectable for a band that hadn't released an album in 8 years. We even managed to get an encore out of them ("Woman 2 Woman" and "Stalker").

We checked out of our hotel early on Monday morning and headed back out to the suburbs for a day at IKEA. Amy and I are pretty much IKEA junkies and the fact that there isn't one in Louisville always puts IKEA on our itinerary when we're anywhere near Chicago.

IKEA - the promised land!Of course, the place was packed because of their big July 4th sale. We ended up grabbing a $.99 breakfast before shopping for several hours and then grabbed lunch before we left (Total cost of both meals for 5 people was under $20). We only spent about $150 (mainly because the car was already too packed) so we felt pretty good.

We arrived home around 10PM Monday night. The cool part was that we crossed over the I-65 bridge into Louisville just as the fireworks display was in full swing. The fireworks were being shot up from a barge in the middle of the river, so the view was fantastic.

Tuesday was spent unpacking and relaxing. Now it's back to work.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.