Thanks to the kindness of a born and bred Chicagoan we had a fab day on Tuesday exploring Lincoln Park, the Zoo and Water Tower Place. A big Thank You must go to Don Smith for his advice and great conversation as he accompanied us up to the park on a brilliant sunny afternoon.
Founded in 1868 Lincoln Park Zoo is one of only three free to enter zoos in the USA, with over 1250 species of animals and countless enclosures to maintain they rely on donations and fund raising alone to remain open. Both Ben and I have a number of moral issues with the concept of a Zoo but it was great to see the level of animal care, size and quality of enclosures and hear about the current programmes to protect and breed endangered species.
Being such a hot afternoon we stocked up on iced water and walked through the nature reserve within the Park and into the Zoo, I won’t bore you with a run down of the animals and their credentials but I will say that the primate house is definitely worth a visit. They have a huge range of species, many of which I have never seen, each with a wonderful array of quirky and colourful furry features.
From here we caught the bus down to the Water Tower Plaza, an affluent shopping area within downtown, where we ate the most yummy stir fry in Food Life. The cheesecake factory was a tempting alternative but having already experienced the bloated feeling after consuming a slice of their cheesecake in California we decided to try something new!
Managing to avoid the temptation to shop, but only just, we walked down to Millennium Park where they run nightly concerts during the summer months. With a reggae band pumping out some mellow tunes we walked over to the Cloud Gate sculpture and joined the hordes of people trying to get pictures of themselves in the mirrored surface. One particularly comical individual managed to get an image of his naked rear end by… well I don’t think you need to know, let’s just say it was a pretty quick manoeuvre. (For those interested in the result I have no doubt the offender has posted it to Facebook so it should make its way to you via the viral network very soon!)
The few days we have spent in Chicago have been some of the best we have had in the USA, our 3 month trip here during 2008 seems a distant memory but our time in the city has evoked a similar if not stronger desire to one day return as residents. For now though we are excited about our Costa Rican adventure!
Hasta Luego Amigos.