March 4, 2013

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

On a recent Monday, I found myself without daycare for Liam.  I did what any sensible mom/teacher would do.  I kept Henry home from kindergarten and took both boys to the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  I kept our destination a surprise not because my boys like surprises but because they don't.  Had they found out we were going to a "fish museum", one or both would have expressed reluctance towards the new experience.  I simply told them that we were going on an adventure and they gamely went along with the plans and preparations.
The Shedd Aquarium is a pricey place.  For the three of us to see every exhibit, the cost would have been $85.   Parking is $20.  Gas and tolls, $25.  Seriously, how can a teacher be expected to provide educational experiences for her children at these rates?  Well, since this was their first time visiting a fish museum and they have the stamina of a four and six year old, I decided to just go with general admission.  This means that for under $20, we had access to four rooms of tank-lined walls and the huge, circular diving tank in the center of the building.
No, we didn't see the penguin habitat, the jellyfish exhibit or the Oceanarium but we did see plenty.  And for young children it was just enough--more would have been overwhelming.   (And, actually, the boys did see jellyfish in two tanks outside the entryway of the special exhibit space.)
sneaking a peek at the jellies
It is probably no surprise to anyone who has visited tourist destinations with children--my kids liked the gift shop best.  Liam chose a penguin key chain and Henry chose a personalized magnet.  I picked up a few postcards so they could prove to their teachers that they had spent the day doing something educational.
"Hey, go stand by that tree and pose for a photo while the single digit
easterly wind whips off the Lake."    (They really will do anything for their mom.)
On the long, cold walk to our car (the boys were real troupers), I pointed out the Field Museum of Natural History.  Both expressed interest in visiting the dinosaurs there.  I told them that I'd take them this summer.  I better start saving my pennies (quarters, dimes and dollars) right now!


  1. What a great way to play hookie from school!

  2. What a fun day! I want to bring my kids there, and it's good to know there's a smaller, cheaper, less-overwhelming option. Sounds like fun for everyone.

  3. What better way to spend an unexpected day off! I can't think of an aquarium near us, shame because I know Elena would like it. The under $20 version anyway.

  4. Looks like a fun time. Make sure you check out the discounts many places have but don't activily advertise on the location websites before you go. Educator discounts, AAA automobile memberships, even credit cards offer different types of discounts. Every cent helps. Parking at these types of places is always so expensive.