Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier- Chicago, Illinois

What a guy in his new red shorts!
We arrived in China a few days ago, but due to our crazy week of not traveling then traveling I didn’t have time to post about our experience at the Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy Pier. Our last weekend in the Chicago area, I asked Austin what he wanted to do. I typically come up with our weekend activities, and Austin just goes along with it. This weekend was our last in the U.S., so I made him come up with our activity and we went out to an early Father’s Day dinner. Of all the things he chose to do, he decided that going to the Children’s Museum was what he wanted to do. What a guy! Landon had a blast and even though we only planned on staying for a few hours, we ended up staying as long as we could before heading off to dinner. 
View from the museum toward downtown Chicago
Parking in downtown Chicago is never cheap or easy. Especially near the lake front, it is ridiculous how much they charge for parking. We didn’t really feel like taking the train and walking forever, so we bit the bullet and drove. Navy Pier has onsite parking lots underneath it that charge a premium, but we opted for a satellite lot that was $15 for the whole day with validation from a business at Navy Pier. For those who think that is ridiculous- it’s pretty cheap for Chicago! We enjoyed a nice walk to the pier and back and didn’t have to worry about how many hours we were spending downtown. I highly recommend it! Once we arrived, we tried to enter from the ground floor entrance off the outside sidewalk of the pier. The doors were locked. The main entrance is actually inside the indoor part of the pier, then up some stairs or the elevator. The elevator for stroller-wielding parents is actually inside of the gift shop, so beware for those of us with grabby toddlers!
Captain Landon!
Once we found the entrance, Landon was going full blast for several hours. The main level includes a boats exhibit, firehouse exhibit, and quiet room for those that get overstimulated. I thought that this room was a nice touch for more sensitive kids and it included fabric cocoon-style swings, soft cushions, low light and soft, calming music. How do I know all of this? Landon wandered his way in there and took a little break in a cocoon swing before we hit the exhibits upstairs!
My fisher boy!

The boats exhibit included magnetic fishing poles and fish and crawfish that could be “caught” with the magnets. It was the coolest fishing exhibit for kids I had ever seen. Landon worked on his coordination to match up the magnet on the rod with the fish. He loved it! I might add that there were four different boats in this exhibit, which I really appreciated as there was plenty of space for all the kids to play. 

Landon loved dressing up!

Right next to the boats exhibit was the firehouse exhibit. This is always a hit with our fire truck loving boy. There were coats and boots to try on and you better believe he spent the better part of an hour in a fireman suit rushing around, driving the fire truck, and fighting fires. 

Sliding down the pole with help from daddy!
Fireman in action!

Upstairs, the first exhibit was still a little old for Landon and all about construction. Austin and Landon worked together to make one wall for a structure before Landon felt the need to go on to bigger and better things. It was adorable to see them working together and using tools together. I’m sure there will be many more memories like this in the future with home projects and such. There was also a digger to sit in, which made Landon a very happy boy!
Working together on the wall
Water area!
Other highlights of the day included the water area, where Landon tried to sink his boat over and over again and soaked himself even with a poncho on! Next was a dinosaur excavation exhibit that I think I would have loved as a kid. Landon spent about 2 seconds in the excavation part of the exhibit, before going immediately to the safari vehicle. He drove us back and forth from the dinosaur dig a few times before we moved on. 

Driving to the dig!
Passenger and driver

We didn’t capture any of the time we spent in the town section, but I think Landon could have set up shop and lived there for the rest of his life. There was a grocery store, car repair shop, mail area, city bus, and house as well as a transport truck that he operated for the town. At one point, he bought groceries, brought them over to the car in the car repair area, put all of the groceries in the car, kicked the kid in the car out, and drove “home” with the groceries. Finally, I got him to unload the groceries back into the store so other kids could play with them. 
These guys…
After our time at the museum was over, we walked down the street to Mario Batali’s Eataly, a great Italian grocery store/restaurant in downtown Chicago. We shared a wonderful pizza and pasta dish between the three of us, and capped it all off with yummy gelato. It was a great day as a family and the perfect way to end our early Father’s Day celebration. Hat’s off to my awesome husband, for not only providing for our family, but being a great dad and husband all whilst traveling all over the world and having grand (and not-so-grand) adventures. He single-handedly taught Landon how to count to 40 and discriminate right from left just in his day to day interactions. He is a diligent, hard worker at work and has good relationships with his co-workers and customers. He takes care of so many of the little details of our crazy life together! I can’t wait as we add another little boy to this family to see where life takes us together! Happy Father’s Day!

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