Chicago: Shedd Aquarium

We went from outer space yesterday to being under the sea today, with our visit to the Shedd Aquarium. We all got to pet string rays and sturgeons, saw an awesome beluga whale show, and looked at more kinds of fish than you could imagine.

I also discovered that it is very difficult to take pictures of fish in their tanks.


Chicago: Adler Planetarium

Today’s museum was the Adler Planetarium. We explored exhibits about telescopes, the planets, the Gemini and Apollo missions, and the formation of the universe.

The highlight of the trip was the two planetarium shows we watched, one about the Moon and another where we were “tourists” visiting different locations in the solar system. Our brains were crammed full of space science by the time we left.


Chicago: Field Museum

After a morning walk though the park, and a surreal sculpture garden of legs, we arrived at the Chicago’s Field Museum.

The natural history museum is one of the world’s largest, but we did out best to see as much as possible. We could have easily spent two whole days there.

The highlight of our day was Sue, the most complete T-Rex fossil in the world. Last school year, Connor learned about her in class, so was super excited to meet her in person.


Chicago: Willis Tower

For our first adventure in Chicago, we rode the “L” to visit the Willis Tower, the second tallest building in the US.

We visited the 103rd floor SkyDeck twice, once during the daylight hours and once at night. Both times we braved the Ledge, a glass box sticking out from the side of the building.

Between our SkyDeck visits, we had famous Chicago Deep Dish pizza at Giordano’s and visited the Bean in Chicago’s Millennium Park.


Angels Beat The Mariners

The game was a good one, with the Mariners leading for the first 4 innings but the Angels tied it up in the 5th. They got a rally going in the bottom of the 8th and the rookie Matt Thaiss hit his first MLB home run, which was a 3 run shot!


Oregon: Rice Museum of Rocks & Minerals

The Rice Museum has the most amazing collection of minerals and petrified trees that I’ve ever seen. Connor is really into rocks and was in heaven.

Later in the day, back at my parent’s house, I took some pictures of all the grandkids together, including the newest addition: Baby Braelyn Stewart.


Oregon: Tide Pools and Science Center

My boys and little sister started off the morning poking various sea creatures in the tide pool at Cobble Beach. We even saw a gumboot chiton… renamed the sea enchilada by my kids.

We spent the afternoon at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, petting more tide pool creatures and learning about the local ocean habitats.


Oregon: Fishing and Yaquina Head Lighthouse

The fish were too smart this morning, eating our bait but leaving the hooks. Gavin caught a striped surfperch but he was the only lucky fisher of the day.

We spent the afternoon at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. There was a very in-depth interpretive center covering the marine life and history of the lighthouse. The lighthouse wasn’t open to visitors, but we walked around it and then went down to Cobble Beach.


Oregon: Newport Bayfront

After getting settled in Newport for a 3-day trip, we wandered around the bayfront. Only a single sea lion was around to great us, the others must have been out eating lunch.


Oregon: Cooper Mountain

We spent the afternoon at Cooper Mountain west of Portland, having a nice picnic lunch and a hike. We all started off on a little looping hike, but when the path forked, my parents and little brother decided they had had enough of nature. My boys, wife, little sister, and I decided to do the big loop, taking in lots of beautiful vistas.