Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where the Heck Have I Been?

Happy Thanksgiving!  Sorry for the no-show last week.  I have apparently been having too much fun to fulfill my responsibilities.   It all started with the Tuesday trip to both the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium with Auntie A.  Then I went out to the theater on comp tickets two nights in a row.  Then, well, the weekend.  And by Monday, why bother planning when the new week starts on Wednesday? 

First, the aquarium and planetarium both had a free day.  We decided to hit the aquarium around opening and see how it went.  The special exhibits at the Shedd are more than half of the floor plan, so if you're planning an actual paid for trip, spring for a pass that covers at least the wild reef and the polar play zone.  However, we spent around two and a half hours on just the general admission stuff. 

There are a wide variety of aquariums with a dizzying array of inhabitants, but there aren't a ton of "exhibits."  The information on each tank more often than not is limited to a picture of each species with its scientific name and common name.  With my littles at age 3.5 and 15 months, that wasn't a big deal.  They ran back and forth and back and forth and watched the fish in each aquarium for as long as they were interested.  My older child (who will henceforth be known as The Gibbon) played some I-spy type games with me and Auntie A.  If you go with kids who are readers, or if you want to plan a longer visit, I'm sure the experience would be enriched by the addition of a smart phone to look up more information on the most interesting species and a drawing pad to sketch habitats or creatures.

I actually hadn't ever been to the Adler Planetarium myself, so when the littles were still coping after the aquarium, it made good sense to me to scope it out, even if just for reconnaissance.  We'd already paid for parking, so could be the harm, right?

The majority of the planetarium is really directed towards elementary school kids and older.  To really understand any of the exhibits, kids need a bare minimum of reading ability.  However, in the Planet Explorers section, The Gibbon enjoyed pressing buttons on the video games he didn't understand.  And my younger child (who will henceforth be known as The Sparrow) enjoyed carrying around the painted foam "rocks" and wearing an "astronaut" backpack that set her terribly off balance, as it was basically the same dimensions as her.  Actually, The Sparrow LOVED carrying around the rocks and hollered like she was being murdered when we tried to take the backpack off of her.  So, success for the day.

As for theater, on Wednesday I went to Sister Act at the Auditorium Theater in the city with a friend whose husband is working the show.  The production was fantastic, and the stage musical is quite different from the movie.  The underlying message of the showgirl-turned-nun show was made very explicit through dialogue, and it's not one that I particularly agree with.  So not only did I have a blast (Yay giant disco Mary!), but I also came away with some interesting food for thought.

Then (well, actually a couple of weeks ago) the male lead in Singing in the Rain at Drury Lane hurt himself.  With the understudy playing lead, Thursday's press night was rescheduled, and the press tickets got comped to a friend of a friend of mine.  The Hubby was tired, so I brought a girlfriend who hasn't been to see a live musical since high school, and we had a fantastic night of it!  I feel so steeped in culture, tell you what. 

I promise menus tomorrow. 

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