May 15 – 20, 2016
Chicago.. My Kind of Town
Chicago! Chicago! Known by various nicknames – Gem of the Prairie, Jewel of the Lakes, Windy City –Chicago has come a long way since being destroyed in the 1871 fire set by the O’Learys’ cow. The city’s museums, galleries and architectural treasures are known worldwide, including the Shedd Aquarium and Oceanarium as well as the Field Museum. But that’s not all! We will then enjoy an Architectural Cruise to see all the beautiful structures from a different point of view. A cruise including tours and meals with mobsters is a tour that is not only educational but fun. Come on! Let’s go make some memories!
This will be a day of travel as we are on our way to explore all of the excitement that spells Chicago. We board our luxury motor coach to journey to Champaign, Illinois for our first night’s lodging.
Today’s excitement begins in the early morning hours as we arrive in Chicago. Our first stop will be the Shedd Aquarium. Since it opened in 1930, it has become one of Chicago’s predominant attractions. With 32,500 animals representing 1,500 species, it has one of the most diverse collections of any aquarium in the world. The most significant exhibit is the Oceanarium. Its setting is the Pacific Northwest where beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea lions and sea otters dwell. In the afternoon, we will visit the Adler Planetarium & Astrology Museum, which has many collectibles of such things as sundials, early scientific instruments and rare photographs, as well as an introductory gallery where the role of light, gravity, motion and energy are explained. You will also be able see a show in the Sky Show Theater. Before arriving at our hotel, we will do a picture stop at Buckingham Fountain. It is made of Georgia Marble and surrounded by formal gardens. It is 285 feet at its greatest diameter, and the central column of water rises to 135 feet. Our hotel will be, just steps from the Magnificent Mile where you can shop, eat or see a show at your leisure.
We have a fun day planned for you, and we begin with a tour of the Field Museum, one of the world’s foremost museums of natural sciences. The Beaux-Arts style building houses more than nine acres of exhibits with world-renowned collections of some 20 million artifacts and specimens. Some of the most popular areas of interest include Sue (the largest and most complete T. Rex), Life Over Time, Cultures of Africa and Inside Ancient Egypt. You will also receive Vouchers for lunch. After this exciting tour, we will meet our Step-On-Guide for a Chicago Crime & Mob Tour. They will entertain you with a running dialogue of stories about Chicago’s favorite gangsters as well as modern day Chicago. With laughter still echoing through the coach, we will make a stop at Millennium Park for a little down time and picture taking of The Bean, Lurie Gardens and Crown Fountain before returning to our hotel for the night.
WOW! This morning, weather permitting, we will take an elevator ¼ mile into the sky to the 103rd floor Skydeck of the Willis Tower, previously known as the Sears Tower. In the third tallest building in the world, you will be provided with an unprecedented view of Chicago. We continue to the Navy Pier for lunch on your own and some free time to check out stores, rides and restaurants or just sit and watch the boats on the water. We have seen Chicago from ground level; we have seen it from sky level; now, we are going to see it from water level. Once again, weather permitting, we’ll enjoy a 90-minute Chicago Architecture Boat Cruise along the Chicago River for panoramic views of the city’s celebrated river front architecture and the magnificent skyscrapers. After this lovely cruise, we will have a small amount of free time at our hotel before departing for our Farewell Dinner and Show at Tommy Guns Garage, Chicago’s Roaring Twenties Speakeasy. The food is good. The show is hilarious. And you will long remember your last evening on your Chicago Tour. Just so you don’t forget, the password is “Little Jake Sent Me.” We will be staying at the same again tonight.
Our travels take us back towards home this morning, and we have time to rest a bit and remember all the fun, lovely things we have enjoyed this far before arriving in Springfield, Illinois to visit the Lincoln Tomb and War Memorial State Historic Site. This impressive monument contains Lincoln’s tomb and the crypts in which Mrs. Lincoln and three of their four children are buried. Many of Lincoln’s most memorable speeches are also displayed here in various forms. Next, we will visit the Lincoln Museum and Library. I’m sure you are thinking, “We just came from the State Historic Site. What more can there be?” Well, come with us and be surprised! It is lovely, historical, educational and entertaining. You are going to wish for more time instead of less. After this awesome reminder of how much Lincoln contributed to our America, we will check into our hotel in Springfield, Illinois.
This is the last day of our tour that highlighted fabulous Chicago. From the oceans to the cultures of our world to the fun filled tours and shows, we hope you have made a multitude of memories. We should arrive back home by late afternoon.