While we were visiting my side of the family around the July 4th weekend, we decided to spend a couple days in nearby Chicago – our “mini-vacation.” We got tickets to see the King Tut exhibit at the Chicago Field Museum, but other than that had no special plans. My husband did have a desire to eat at the original Uno’s Pizzaria there and had dreams of walking through the Chicago Art Institute. I had thought we should see the Museum of Science and Industry.
As it turned out, the trip became a vacation directed by our kids. We all enjoyed the King Tut exhibit…lots of interesting details about gods and afterlife and burial practices. Afterwards the kids wanted to explore the rest of the museum, especially all the stuffed animals (the taxidermized ones).
In the one concession to me, we went to J. Toguri Mercantile, a Japanese shop I had loved visiting as a child whenever my parents took us to Chicago. It seemed a lot different to me now that I was grown, but it still smelled of incense and carried the little boxes of “Botan” rice candy (where you can actually eat the wrapper) that my own kids now enjoy. The manager there agreed to carry my book, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, so perhaps I could write off our vacation expenses as business?!
Toguri Mercantile is near the funky “Old Town” section of Chicago and our oldest daughter was excited about the clothing shops there. My husband was surprisingly patient waiting around in the “girl” shops. That night he again patiently followed his daughter while she shopped Navy Pier.
The next day the kids chose to see the Shedd Aquarium instead of the Museum of Science and Industry or the Art Museum. I loved watching the bizarre sea dragons and the kids loved pretty much everything. Oh, and the short Sponge Bob 4D movie was a hit.
Chicago is a great town to visit, and we left, exhausted, to head back to family. My husband never got to eat at Uno’s and I never got to rest at all except to sleep in one of the luxuriously comfortable beds of the Chicago Sheraton, but the kids had a grand time and I am pleased that they will have good memories to carry of a city that is special to my own heart.