Lincoln Park Zoo

As a tourist coming from outside of Illinois the most common idea of sight seeing is the main Chicago sights: Willis Tower, Hancock building, Magnificent Mile, the Lakefront, etc. The last thing that one thinks about is going to see something that you can do back home, like going to the Zoo.

Every city has their own unique Zoo, where the residents are able to escape reality and spend some time with our furry friends from all over the world. Over the 4th of July holiday I spent the day at the Lincoln park Zoo. After living in the city of Chicago for the last 6 years I thought that it might be about time that I visit this magical place. I don’t know about most of you, but I turn into a 5 year old when I get past the gate. I literally drug my boyfriend around the park going “ooohhhh and awwweeee”. It was a very hot day, I recommend that when you visit you try to go around September. Or if you do decide to venture during our hot Chicago summers, take a lot of water!!

I have to say that my first Zoo experience at the Lincoln Park Zoo was great! We took the red line up to the Zoo as parking is generally a little pricy for my taste. For those of you staying with us at the Hampton Inn & Suites, it is so easy to get there, just take the Red Line at the Grand Stop headed North and get off at Fullerton. Then walk east until you reach the Zoo. Very accessible and easy route from the downtown location. When you get there, no need to take out your wallet as the Zoo is completely free!!! Not a bad deal, huh? But of course they always accept donations, so feel free to give a little back as it goes toward making the Zoo a better home for the animals. They are just too cute to refuse! So…my first stop was  the Pygmy hippopotamus. He was such a cute little guy, check out my photo:

Hippo at Lincoln Park Zoo

He was so excited to see us there, that he kept trying to push his way through the glass. He would swim up and down trying to find a way out. But aside from his cuteness, I did find out some information about this type of Hippo. It seems that due to habitat loss, the Pygmy Hippo is endangered. This particular species is solitary and a nocturnal mammal. The population has dwindled and we don’t know the exact numbers, but from the information provided by the Zoo, scientists estimate that 3,000 of the animals may live in the wild. At this time, The Lincoln Park Zoo cooperatively manages Pygmy Hippopotamus populations with other institutions in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Some cool facts about this species that I was able to find out, courtesy of the Zoo webpage: Special Adaptations

  • The pygmy hippo’s skin secretes a red substance, giving rise to the legend that the species “sweats blood.” The substance isn’t blood, but its function is unknown. Scientists believe it may serve as an antibiotic or help block excessive sunlight.
  • The eyes, ears and nose are located on the top of the head, enabling the species to see, smell and hear while the rest of its body is underwater.
  • The pygmy hippos’ ears and nostrils pinch tightly shut when the animal dives underwater, making it easier for them to stay submerged.

You don’t have to be so excited about the animals to go to the Zoo, just enjoy the nice walk and the fact that you get a chance to explore a different side of the city. It is a nice break from being around so many people when walking down the Magnificent Mile or when seeing the amazing sites the Willis Tower has to offer. Check out the Zoo next time you are in Chicago, you won’t be disappointed!!

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Free fun with Movies in the Park

All too often the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown has families looking for activities to do in the evening. One of my personal favorites is FREE… Movies in the park. From classic movies like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day off” to new movies like “Puss in Boots” or “Iron Man 2” play in park venues all over the city from June 11th to October 24th. Bring a picnic basket and a blanket and have a nice enjoyable relaxing evening watching a movie in one of Chicago’s 125 parks.

 Click here to find a list of dates and times that fit your trip into Chicago.

“New” releases this summer that will be available:

  • The Dark Knight (shot in Chicago) – June 23 at Churchill Field, 1825 N Damen
  • Grown Ups – July 1 at LaFollette, 1333 N. Laramie Ave
  • Inception – July 1 at Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Dr.
  • Iron Man 2 – June 20 at Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
  • Salt – July 19 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
  • The Social Network – July 5 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
  • True Grit – July 28 at Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale Ave.
  • Twilight: Eclipse – July 22 at Meyering Park, 7140 S. Martin Luther King Dr.

Animation for the Kids:

  • Despicable Me – June 17 at Winnemac 5100 N. Leavitt St
  • How to Train Your Dragon – Aug 9 at Touhy Park,  7348 N. Paulina St.
  • Megamind – June 23 at Graver Park, 1518 W. 102nd Pl.
  • Shrek Forever After – June 17 at Shedd Park, 3660 W. 23rd St.
  • Tangled – Sep. 9 at Athletic Field Park, 3546 W. Addison St.
  • The Princess and the Frog – Aug. 9 at Fulton River Park, 601 W. Kinzie St.
  • Toy Story 3 – Sep 16 at Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave.
  • Up – Aug. 2 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
  • Wall-E – Aug.31 at Willye White Park, 1610 W Howard St.

Classic Movies:

  • Airplane! – June 14 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
  • Back to the Future with Michael J Fox – Aug. 6 at Harold Washington Park, 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd.
  • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – July 12 at Fulton River Park, 601 W. Kinzie St.
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – July 13 at The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – July 16 at Jonquil Park, 1023 W. Wrightwood Ave.
  • JAWS – July 12 at 63rd Street Beach, 6300 S lake Shore Drive
  • The Karate Kid – Aug 30 at DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark – Aug. 25 at Lake Shore Park, 808 N. Lake Shore Dr.
  • Sixteen Candles – Aug. 17 at The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.
  • Top Gun – Aug. 18 at Mary Bartelme Park, 115 S. Sangamon St.

 

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