Visit Chicago to see a zoo or travel by L or see it back in the Forties

 

This animal and others from the Hamill Family Wild Encounters section of Brookfield Zoo are in videos of Bringing the Animals to You. (Brookfield Zoo photo(
This animal and others from the Hamill Family Wild Encounters section of Brookfield Zoo are in videos of Bringing the Animals to You. (Brookfield Zoo photo)

Some Chicago institutions have put terrific videos on Facebook. Here are some videos sure to entertain and are worth sharing.

At Brookfield Zoo, the “Screaming Hairy Armadillo” sounds ferocious but be surprised by it and other zoo inmates. The zoo has several animal video visits on Facebook. Also check Bringing the Zoo to You..

 

Chicago Architecture Foundation uses First Lady for its river tour. (Photo courtesy of CAC)
Chicago Architecture Foundation uses First Lady for its river tour. (Photo courtesy of CAC)

The Chicago Architecture Center also has several good videos ranging from a WTTW Geoffrey Baer L visit and its architecture boat ride to an old film of the city in the 1940s.  

Chicago’s ‘L,’ the nickname for the city’s elevated tracks (although not all are elevated,) takes riders through colorful neighborhoods.

It’s fun to see the trailer of the recently released documentary, “Geoffrey Baer’s Chicago” (WTTW). Find the trailer at the Chicago Architecture Center’s facebook page or go to Geoffrey Baer’s Chicago or WTTW-Chicago PBS or interactive WTTW.

Of course CAC is known for its Chicago River Cruise. So hop on board at this chiarchitecture/video.

Another good CAC site has a  Metro Goldwyn Mayer film of Chicago in the 1940s. Go back in time to  this chiarchitecture video site.

For youtube videos of the city visit Chicago Architecture Center/videos.

 Enjoy!

 

Where to visit while staying home

 

The spiral galaxy NGC 2008 sits centre stage, its ghostly spiral arms spreading out towards us, in this image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA photo)
The spiral galaxy NGC 2008 sits centre stage, its ghostly spiral arms spreading out towards us, in this image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA photo)

Get comfortable. It’s time to visit some of the places that have intrigued you or are on your someday list. Don’t dress for travel.

Lots of destinations have added virtual tours. Some are OK even though they expect you to read French, such as on the 350 degree Louvre exploration or Spanish such as with the Guggenheim in Bilbao videos on Mark Rothko’s “Untitled” and Jeff Koons’ “Puppy.”

Others, like the ones here, have videos and cams that make visitors feel they are there.

So warm-ups or jammies are OK as you visit outer space, a zoo, an amazing garden, a Royal home and an aquarium. Just remember if looking at a cam that the place may be in a different time zone so might have different action at a later or earlier hour.

 

San Diego Zoo

Meet its penguins in Penguin Beach video episodes and safari animals in the cams.

NASA

Visit the Hubble Space Telescope, watch a video on the Evolution of the Moon and experience outer space visits through the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

 

Claude Monet. Water Lily Pond, 1900. The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection. (Photo courtesy of AIC)
Claude Monet. Water Lily Pond, 1900. The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection. (Photo courtesy of AIC)

Monet

Tour Claude Monet’s Garden at Giverny where you see what the artist painted including the Water Lily Pond.

Osborne House

Visit Osborne, the house that Victoria and Albert built via a Google Arts & Culture video.

Shedd Aquarium

If you have facebook follow penguin Wellington and his friends explore the closed Shedd Aquarium.

 

Super March Monday is about moons

Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)
Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)

Yes if you saw a mostly full moon Saturday night it did appear larger and brighter than usual. It was your first glimpse of the first 2020 supermoon which is at its fullest on Monday, March 9 at 1:48 p.m. EDT. However, it’s fine to look for it Sunday night.

The reason it looks larger is because its elliptical course brings it closer to earth on March 9.. The close point is called the perigee as opposed to the far point which is the apogee.

At 222.081 miles from earth it looms large but the next full moon an April 8 will be even closer at 221,851 miles.

This March supermoon has several nicknames including the “Worm Moon” because worms are said to begin to come out of the soil about this time.

For more information about supermoons visit NASA/supermoon and Space.

Other good astronomy information sites include EarthSky or Time and Date and Almanac.

Three no passport spring vacation ideas

Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI (J Jacobs photo)
Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI
(J Jacobs photo)

 

Don’t wait for the first robin or crocus to pop up to plan what to do or where to go for a spring vacation. Hotels and good B and B’s may already be booked and airlines will have few seats at the price you want. Make plans now

Good as Washington DC is, student groups may already have plane seats and hotel rooms so consider that destination for another time. Instead, Spring Break is a good chance to splash in a pool, visit and cross off a presidential museum or find an unusual children’s museum in a town not yet visited.

The suggestions listed here are Midwest destinations within a day’s drive of Chicago. The city’s schools are out April 6-10 and most suburban districts are out March 23-27 in 2020.

 

African themed Kalahari Resort at the Wisconsin Dells. (J Jacobs photo)
African themed Kalahari Resort at the Wisconsin Dells. (J Jacobs photo)

Indoor Pool

Arguably among the best indoor water parks are the ones at the Kalahari Resorts. If living in the Midwest, consider the African-themed one at the Wisconsin Dells. The resort really is a combination amusement park, movie and dining destination and games emporium.

I like the Dells as a summer or fall escape when the weather is predictable but spring is a good time to enjoy a resort that has so much to offer, guests might not feel the need to leave.  Also check out other Wisconsin Waterparks for a spring Break.

An old time streetscape in the Grand Rapids Public Museum (J Jacobs photo)
An old time streetscape in the Grand Rapids Public Museum (J Jacobs photo)

Fascinating presidential and public museums

Located in Grand Rapids, MI, the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum combines his University of Michigan background, Nixon’s resignation, Betty Ford’s contributions and a replica of the Oval Office.

Across the road is the Grand Rapids Public Museum which has fun explorations and a merry go round ride. From American Indian displays to inventions, an old-time streetscape and a giant clock, there is enough here to spend the day.

 

An orangutan climbed down from his perch to try a computer game with a scientist at the Indianapolis Zoo. (J Jacobs photo)
An orangutan climbed down from his perch to try a computer game with a scientist at the Indianapolis Zoo. (J Jacobs photo)

Where a dinosaur and orangutans hang out

People outside of Indianapolis may not know the city has a remarkable Children’s Museum charmingly guarded by a huge dinosaur and that the Indianapolis Zoo is one of the few places in the country that boasts a specialized orangutan center where visitors can watch these intelligent animals play and practice their cognitive game skills.

I love the Childeren’s Museum’s Take Me There exhibits. When I visited it was to China. Currently it is to Greece. And there really is a simulated flight there.  And I was fascinated by everything the orangutans could do.

Also worth a visit when in town are the Eiteljorg Museum of American indians’ Western Art and the Indiana State Museum next door that has a wonderful Rube Goldberg inventions exhibit. See Visit Indy for more information.

 

Enjoy spring at Camelback Ranch or Sloan Park

 

 

At Wrigleyville West. (J Jacobs photo)
At Wrigleyville West. (J Jacobs photo)

Instead of waiting for spring to descend on Chicago and the Cubs and Sox games, enjoy both this month in Arizona.

Go online to pick up Cubs  or Sox tickets, book a trip to Phoenix, find a hotel in the Phoenix-Mesa area and enjoy the more casual MLB games in the Cactus League.

At home in Sloan Park, the Cubs will take on the Oakland A’s Feb. 22, Colorado Rockies Feb. 25, KC Royals Feb. 26 and Milwajukee Brewers Feb. 29

Their away games (sometimes easier to get tickets) are the LA Dodgers, Feb. 23, Seattle Mariners Feb. 24, Texas Rangers Feb. 27 and San Diego Padres Feb. 28

For tickets and the calendar visit MLB/Cubs/schedule2020 

Camelback Ranch in Glendale is the spring home of the Chicago White Sox. A suburb of Phoenix, visitors get all the advantages of Phoenix’s museums, hotels and its famed Botanic Garden but are close to White Sox action.

The Sox have a home game against the LA Angels Feb. 22 and are awayh against the Cincinnati Reds Feb. 23, LA Dodgers Feb. 24, have a split squad against the Indians away and the Giants at home on Feb. 25, then away against the KC Royals,Feb. 26, are at home against the Mariners Feb. 27, Indians Feb. 28 and away against the Rangers on Feb. 29.

For ballpark info visit WhiteSox/springtraining/ball park. For White Sox season info see Sox schedule..

The Desert Botanic Garden is a popular Phoenix destination. (J Jacobs photo)
The Desert Botanic Garden is a popular Phoenix destination. (J Jacobs photo)

If you go

The excellent Sheraton Mesa at Wrigley West places you right at Sloan Park. But check Visit Mesa to see other accommodation choices. It’s also a good referral to restaurants and attractions.

While in the area try to get to the Desert Botanical Garden and hike Camelback Mountain or Pinnacle Peak Park. Do visit the famed Heard Museum for fine Native American arts.

While visiting one of the Cub’s or White Sox’s away games in or near neighboring Scottsdale, browse fine art galleries in Old Town and visit Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.

So get away from Chicago’s winter. Relax outdoor with a margarita or cold draft beer while shouting Hey! Hey! at Wrigley West. You will feel right at home because the border streets  are Waveland Avenue, Clark Street and Sheffield Ave.

Or enjoy a Chicago hot dog (no ketchup please) at Camelback Ranch and watch the newly rebuilt Sox team take on old rivals. 

 

 

Groundhog Day predictions differ

Groundhog Woodstock Willie predicts winter or early spring each year in Woodstock IL where the Groundhog Day movie was filmed. (Photo courtesy of Woodstock)
Groundhog Woodstock Willie predicts winter or early spring each year in Woodstock IL where the Groundhog Day movie was filmed. (Photo courtesy of Woodstock)

 

Experts predicted that Kansas would win the super bowl this year and they were right. But what are the odds that two famous groundhogs (or woodchucks) have correctly predicted when winter will end?

Pretty good if you know that one of them is right.

After several days of gray gloom, the sun finally shone in northern Illinois Sunday, Feb. 2, the official Groundhog Day. That the sun shone and the weather was a balmy 51 degrees, good news for outdoor activities but bad news in Woodstock where Willie saw his shadow, wanted to go back to his dark hole and so predicted six more weeks of winter.

However, in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawne Phil didn’t see his shadow so stayed out and predicted an early spring.

However, loosely collected records show that Phil has had less than a 40 percent correct record and Willie has been right half the time.

Considering that local weather forecasters sometimes have trouble accurately predicting even a week away, maybe 50 percent isn’t bad.

See what the Farmers Almanac predicts for the Midwest/Great Lakes area.

Also see Groundhog Day relived

Travel experts and exhibitors offer advice at Chicago Travel and Adventure Show

 

Travel and Adventure show has travel experts and knowledgeable exhibitors who can help guests decide where to go, how to get there and what to pack. ( J Jacobs photo)
Travel and Adventure show has travel experts and knowledgeable exhibitors who can help guests decide where to go, how to get there and what to pack. ( J Jacobs photo)

If not sure where to travel this year, check out the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Feb. 8-9, 2020.

Hundreds of destinations from Alabama to Amelia Island and Africa to Australia plus cruise lines will have exhibitors with suggestions on where to stay, when is the best time to go and what are the cost options.

It’s a fun show where guests can listen to and ask questions of Rick Steves, writer and host of Rick Steves Europe and Travel with Rick Steves, Josh Gates, host, The Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown, Pauline Frommer editorial director of Frommer’s Guides and Peter Greenberg, TV reporter, producer and CBS News Travel editor.

Just don’t be surprised at what you’ll see there, including camel rides, chef demonstrations, Nordic, Polynesian and Taiwanese folk dancers, an obstacle course and Trikkes.

Tips: Enter the drawings for a door prize and pick up a bag there to carry all the handouts home to peruse.

Have fun.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. For ticket and other information visit  TravelShows/Chicago.  The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont.

Snow sculptors face off in Lake Geneva

 

Snow Sculpting Championship, in Lake Geneva, WI. (Chamber of Commerce photo 2019)
Snow Sculpting Championship, in Lake Geneva, WI. (Chamber of Commerce photo 2019)

To see some the country’s best snow sculptures and vote for your favorite, drive up to Lake Geneva, just over the Illinois border into Wisconsin on Hwy 50, this weekend.

Fifteen award-winning teams from across the United States are competing in the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship for the national title, this week.

They start work midweek when snow is delivered to their stations in the Riviera Plaza , 812 Wrigley Drive abutting Geneva Lake (Yes, that is the lake’s name).

The teams sculpt their creations through Friday night to be ready for the judging after the “tools down” bell at 11 a.m. Saturday. Visitors can vote for the People’s Choice Award, Saturday until 2 p.m.

The snow sculptures are amazing but also stay to see ice sculptures in town. Youngsters may want to stop at a children’s tent at 201 Wrigley Dr. in Flat Iron Park where there are games and the Boy Scouts are selling cider donuts and hot dogs.

Visitors who stay over Saturday will want to see the free Laser Light Show on the ski slopes of the Grand Geneva Resort, just south of the downtown at WI7036 Grand Geneva Way.

The light show goes from 8:30 to 10 p.m. For more information call (312) 218-3848 or visit Laser fusion shows.

For more Winterfest events visit Lake Geneva/Winterfest.

 

Kaehler Luggage still relevant one hundred years after birth

 

Kaehler Luggage tarted life 100 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Kaehler Luggage)
Kaehler Luggage started life 100 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Kaehler Luggage)

 

Thanks to some trunks, the Winnetka-based Kaehler Luggage chain was born 100 years ago. Now the company is inviting the public to celebrate its century mark at its Mag Mile store, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, at 11 a.m., Jan. 28 2020. The celebration includes a champagne toast, packing demonstrations and a 100-year history.

To find out  more about the company and how the stores are relevant to today’s travelers, Travel Smart talked with  owner Wallace Kaehler Jr. popularly known as “Buzz.” And yes, there will be a trunk at the anniversary party,” said Buzz.

Continue reading “Kaehler Luggage still relevant one hundred years after birth”

Martin Luther King Jr Day celebrations

Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington
DC. (J Jacobs photo)

Cities from LA to Memphis and Chicago and New York to Washington DC and Atlanta are celebrating MLK Day today, the third Monday of January. The day has been officially observed to honor the civil rights leader in all 50 states since 2000.  It is an American federal holiday so schools, banks, post office and some business are closed.

Celebrations to honor Martin Luther King Jr range from service projects and parades to concerts and free museum visits.

If in DC go to the Marin Luther King Jr Memorial and watch the Peace Parade from 11 a.m to noon ET on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Milwaukee Place. The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade features musical performances, dancers, and members of civil rights organizations fighting for equal rights.

If in Chicago, you can spend quality time at one of the following events:

Continue reading “Martin Luther King Jr Day celebrations”