Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Bean & Shedd Aquarium

Parts one and two of my recent trip to Chicago can be found here and here.

After a delicious dinner, fireworks at Navy Pier, and a good nights sleep, we woke up bright and early Sunday morning to do some sightseeing.  Let me just say, waking up at 6:30am on a Sunday morning is the best idea EVER!  The city was so quiet, yet all the essentials were open.  We stopped into Dunkin' Donuts for some sustenance then made our way through a deserted downtown to Cloud Gate or "the bean", a large reflective legume-shaped sculpture in Millennium Park.  I don't know why but it's one of my favorite Chicago sights.

 Unfortunately, it needed a good scrubbing down that day (it must have recently rained).


Usually there are hoards of people trying to take pictures of the bean and trying to catch their reflection in it!  But that's the beauty of 7:30am on a Sunday...most people are still sleeping.

After spending some time at the bean we decided to make our way to Shedd Aquarium (via taxi, thank goodness, because my feet were killing me!).  Neither Antoine and I had ever been to the Shedd Aquarium before, but we're both big fans of the Newport Aquarium right across the river from Cincinnati.  Remember how I said we're not "zoo people"?  Well, I guess we're "aquarium people".  For some reason I feel much less guilty about paying money to see fish in cages than I do seeing mammals in cages.  I have no clue why...just go with it.  Anyway, we got to Shedd around 9am, just as they were opening up.  Important sidenote: that is the absolute best time to go to Shedd aquarium!  As compared to two hours later when the line was like a mile long and I felt sorry for the poor idiots standing in it, waiting.

 The view of the Chicago skyline from the aquarium.

As far as aquariums go, it was pretty great.  What Antoine and I found particularly interesting was that it was totally different from the Newport Aquarium.  Where Newport is lacking, Shedd is not and vice versa.  Shedd is more like a museum, with exhibit spaces (read: tanks) that show what, for instance, the Amazon river looks like both above and below the water!  I liked that aspect of it.  They also had dolphins and beluga whales there, which I didn't know going in.  But OMG I flippin' LOVE beluga whales!!  They are so effing adorable!  But sadly, they did now have a walk through tunnel like Newport does.  And they are severely lacking, in comparison to Newport, when it comes to sharks and penguins.  And their jellyfish exhibit, while comparable to Newport's, cost an additional $3 to get into (Newport's is free). But more on jellyfish tomorrow.  For now, here's some fish (and a couple other creatures):

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