We arrived at Navy Pier as it was getting dark. I had just loaded my LC-A+ with Fuji T64, what was I thinking?
By now you know my story: July 2009, 8000 km road trip, 3 generations, 1 van. I took along 10 cameras and 40 rolls of film. We passed through 10 American states and 3 Canadian provinces, but we kept the kids up too late in Chicago…
The moment we walked through the gates heralding a “Welcome to Navy Pier” greeting in the form of a brick and steel archway, we found ourselves in the line-up to a cart selling beer. We were trapped! It seemed the only way out was to buy a cold and tasty beverage and proceed like nothing had happened. So that’s exactly what I did – once again, my quick thinking had saved the day.
We had been on our feet walking through the streets and shops of downtown Chicago for about 6 hours at this point – the kids were getting cranky, the in-laws were getting cranky, my lovely wife was as lovely as ever, and I was quite content with my new found beer. I knew that we needed to find food and we needed to find amusement, or this evening was going to go from cranky to super-cranky. The first food stands and carts that we saw were full of sugary, fatty treats, and my wife’s eyes told me that there was no way we were feeding any of that to the starving children. Beyond a mass of carnival games, we found an entryway that seemed to lead to an area underneath all the excitement that was warmly lit and full of varied and delicious smells. We walked passed the cinnamon buns, and settled in to the line at America’s Dog. (According to the napkin, it’s where we could “Taste the best from East to West”.)
After we thoroughly enjoyed our meat on a bun, we ventured back outside to find the rides that we had seen on the internet. The Ferris wheel is what I was really looking forward to. We bought the 15 ride family combo (which cost nearly as much as parking for one night at our hotel), and made our way into the line for the Ferris wheel.
My youngest decided at the last moment that she was too afraid to ride, so she stayed on the ground with Nana, but the rest of us enjoyed the excellent view of the Windy City’s waterfront skyline. After the massive wheel, we rode the Carousel, The Light House, and the Wave Swinger. We passed up on the Mini Golf, as it was becoming evident that the kids weren’t going to last much longer.
There’s more to Navy Pier than beer, hot dogs, and amusement rides, but we sadly ran out of time.
Open from May 1st to October 31st, weather permitting.