Things I learned going to free days at the Shedd Aquarium last week:
1) Getting there early helps, but it’s still crazy when school is out. Every 5 minutes you are there past opening time, you are pushed back 5 parking spaces. By that equation, I was lucky to snag a metered street spot all the way down by the planetarium at 9:40am. That’s still better to me than shelling out money for the lots. Not so lucky were the boys who had to walk what felt like the distance of the Milky Way to get to the front of Shedd.
2) There is always a line, even at 9:45am. At least this line was half the size of our last free day attempt which was on a Saturday (I plead temporary insanity for that hair-brained idea). Lines in the summer are much more bearable than in the dead of Chicago winter when we had to bail because we did not want to put our family at risk for hypothermia.
3) Free is not really free. I knew it was only free general admission. Looking at the first level fish used to be fine for the kids when they were toddlers. Now that they are mature fish viewers who have clear memories of seeing everything else that is NOT included in general admission (basically, all the really cool stuff), they only talked about wanting to see the penguins (Connor) and the jellyfish (Ethan). In other words, we saw the cool stuff at the “discounted” price of $I-could’ve-bought-new-shoes-at-Nordstrom.
4) Lunch is about the view. I felt better that I had at least packed a lunch. I did save $I-can-now-buy-socks-at-Nordstrom. In other words, the price paid to get in made my saving by packing a lunch a psychological but not practical financial gain. It’s ok. We ate with the best skyline in the world. 🙂
5) I’m NOT the meanest mommy in the world. With both boys home all day and family stress, I’ve been back to my roaring lioness ways. Apparently, there are other mommies out there who make my roaring seem tame and kitten-like. Wow. I’ll just say, wow.
6) My kids AREN’T the whiniest, craziest, or loudest kids in the world. They are actually quite normal, dare I say, good. It just takes being crammed in with hundreds of others in this big city to realize that. I’m glad that I could treat them to see the Wild Reef sharks, Polar Play Zone penguins, and mesmerizing jellies.
7) It was a good day. They really enjoyed it, and so did I. However, there is a strong possibility that at Shedd’s next free day, I’ll be buying shoes at Nordstrom.