Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cheap Day at the Shedd

Ah memberships to museums, how I do love you.

Today, I pulled The Boy out of school for a special treat: a day at the Shedd Aquarium with me, The Girl, The Baby, Grandma Naperville, and Super-Grandma. I dropped $2 in quarters in the parking meter, spent $1.75 for popcorn inside, and that was my total expenditure for the outing (plus gas, of course, which at $4+/gallon, is no small expense these days).

We met the grandmas there about 10:30 a.m. While there were lots of school groups, it was still significantly less crowded there than it is on the average weekend (the only other time we've really gone). The Boy wanted to see everything and we did our best to accommodate that desire. There was a bit of fear of missing something that he wasn't always able to fully enjoy (or let us enjoy) whatever we were doing at the moment, but we did get to see pretty much everything (except the IMAX movie, which I always skip because I find them nauseating).

First, we saw the old-fashioned aquarium bits: the center tank (The Baby was entranced), the frogs, fish and iguanas. The Boy really liked the wave machine in the iguana habitat. Then we went down to the Coral Reef to watch the sharks. The Baby was scared by the wave machine down there, so we quickly moved on. They were cleaning the coral, so there were several divers in the tanks, their pates exposed by the water's motion, scrubbing the habitat's rocks with little bristly brushes and wiping down the glass of the tank that is in the ceiling. A couple of them waved to The Boy, so now we know that the fish can see us just as we see them.

After the coral reef, we went over to the Oceanarium to check out the penguins and belugas, including baby Miki. It was quite peaceful to see the belugas swimming around in the underwater viewing area, Miki swimming just under his mother and, at one point, nursing. I thought that was rather neat, being a nursing mother myself. Super Grandma treated us to lunch in the Bubblenet Cafe. Then we sat down to wait for the Dolphin Show to begin. The Dolphin Show was quite different than the ones we've seen thus far; it was more about how they train the dolphins to do "tricks" for the crowds.

At that point, I was pretty tired, and so were The Baby, The Girl and Super Grandma, so we did a quick tour through the Dragon exhibit and called it a day. It was a good one.

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