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John Hancock Center- One of Chicago’s most well-known buildings. This building is the 12th tallest building in the world with 100 floors. These floors house apartments, offices, shops, a hotel, an ice rink, restaurants, its own post office, and radio and television facilities. The biggest attraction is the observation deck. This building was completed in 1969 and features tapered design for structural and space efficiency.
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The Hancock Observatory- This observatory is located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building. It’s 1, 00 feet above the Magnificent Mile and is the city’s only open-air skywalk. At this observatory you’ll see a 360-degree incredible view of Chicago, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and other parts of Illinois. The telescopes located here are Sound scopes that talk and give you realistic sounds effects with narration in English, French, Japanese, or Spanish. This observatory is also home to the History Wall which contains more then 100 photos on display featuring Chicago’s history. Also there is a great dining option called The Cheesecake Factory located at the lower level of the Hancock building.
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Lambs Farm- This farm is located in Libertyville which is located north of Chicago. The farm was founded in 1961 and is a premier non-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities. The farm grew from a small pet shop to a 72-acre campus. Activities focus on the enrichment of the people of Lambs Farm- building their determination to lead full, satisfying lives. The people gain independence by having the freedom to be as self-governing as possible and they accomplish all this with dignity, taking pride in all that they do. The farm is fun for the whole family. The farm features: a petting area with sheep and goats, mini-golf, a miniature train ride, cow bounce house, and an Old World carousel.
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Ogilvie Transportation Center/ Northwestern Station- This station was built to replace the former Chicago and Northwestern Station that demolished in 1984. The Northwestern was designed by Helmut Jahn who had also designed the United Terminal at O’Hare International Airport and the James R. Thompson Center. The station is one of the two major rail hubs in downtown Chicago along with Union Station which site is right across the street from its location.
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Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum- The Adler Planetarium is located on Lake Shore Drive at Chicago’s Museum Campus. The museum opened in 1930 ranking as the first planetarium in the western hemisphere. Adler fuels the imagination of its visitors with all new exhibits, state-of-the-art computer technology. It’s also the world’s first Star Rider Theatre, while showcasing a renowned collection of historical astronomy artifacts. It’s home to more than 35,000 square feet of exhibits! Exhibits include scale models of Solar System, ancient astronomical instruments, and interactive adventures. Historical collections of astronomical instruments and rare books are among the finest in the world located at Adler’s. Adler is also the only museum in the world with two full-size planetarium theatres. Since 1930, the wonder of the stars has been visible in the historic Sky Theatre.
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Navy Pier- This pier was originally built in 1916 to serve Lake Michigan freighters and provide transportation to other cities on the Great Lakes, as well as for recreational purposes. In 1941, Navy Pier was converted to military use and used throughout World War II. Also 1946 to 1964 this pier was a college campus. After a lull (pause) in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Navy Pier was revitalized and it is a multi-million dollar convention, and is a cultural and recreation center today. Navy Pier is Chicago’s most visited attraction. A number of features of Navy Pier include: A reminiscent of Chicago’s 1893 World Colombian Exposition, a 150 foot Ferris wheel, and a musical carousel that has paintings with historical depictions of the pier painted on it. Also an 18-hole Chicago-themed miniature golf course and a cliff climbing structure. Indoor attractions are: 15-minute walk through Funhouse Maze and the Chicago Children’s Museum. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater with its 500-seat courtyard theatre and 200-seat flexible black box theatre located at the pier. Also an IMAX theatre with a 6-story flat movies screen featuring 2D and 3D films.
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Union Station- This station is an historical landmark in Chicago because it is the last remaining of Chicago’s great turn-of-the-century train depots. In the 1940’s, over 300 trains arrived or departed daily and 100,000 commuters pass through Union Station each day. Most of the daily commuters go directly to the trains and never pass through the Great Hall. The Great Hall which is the portion of the station that dates back to 1925. This section has marble floors and walls, Corinthian columns, and bronze torches. If you need a bite to eat while your there is a variety of options. There is a cafeteria style deli with a bar, a food court, Corner Bakery for sandwiches and baked goods, Gold Coast Dogs, and Connie’s Pizza. Also located at the Union Station there is convenience for magazines, newspapers, and Chicago souvenirs.
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Shedd Aquarium- This aquarium is located on Chicago’s Museum Campus. It’s the world’s largest indoor aquarium with more than 8,000 aquatic animals representing more than 700 species from all parts of the world. The Caribbean Reef that’s is teaming with bright, colorful new corals and more than 60 species of animal. The animals include: Bonnet Head sharks, Southern stingrays, Angelfish, and a Hawksbill sea turtles. The Marine Mammal Presentation that is presented several times each day. This presentation features animal-care staff interacting with the dolphins and whales as they dive, spy hop and walk on their tails. Shedd also offers Habitat Chats for visitors to learn about the aquatic world and its inhabitants in an informal setting. Another feature at this aquarium is called Animal Encounters that gives you a chance to look at, learn about and touch such critters as a Chilean rose tarantula, Leopard gecko, African bullfrog, Red-tailed boa, or King snake. Also another event featured at the aquarium is for 3-5 year old preschoolers called “Tots on Tuesdays.” This event features a full day of activities, including story times, crafts, animal touch programs, videos, costumed characters, dancing, and singing.
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Willis Tower Sky Deck- On the 103rd floor of the Sky deck you can see 40-50 miles out! This sky deck features interactive, museum-quality exhibits that highlight Chicago’s history and historic characters. This sky deck also has interactive kiosks that provide a tour of Chicago’s landmarks. In the sky deck there is an area called Knee-High Chicago that is a kid-level display that extends all the way around the sky deck. The sky deck also provides high-tech, high powered telescopes for a closer look at the city.
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Six Flags Great America- This is a world-class family entertainment complex that features thrill rides, spectacular shows and exciting attractions. This park is located north of Chicago in the suburb of Gurnee and is open May through October. Six Flags has entertainment that includes shows, concerts, and festivals. Also in addition to the rides and shows Six Flags has plenty of shopping and dining options. Shopping includes souvenirs, clothing and candy. Dining includes pizza, pasta, burgers, chicken, fajitas, special kids’ meals, funnel cakes and more!
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Harold Washington Library Center- This center is located at State Street and Congress Parkway. The center is neo-classical, with its design that used elements of ancient Greek and Roman structures. The center is 756,640 square feet and opened October 7, 1991. The center appeared in The Guinness Book of Records as the largest public library building in the world. On the north wall of the main lobby is a mosaic mural by Jacob Lawrence entitled “Events in the Life of Harold Washington.” This mural depicts many of the former Chicago mayor’s accomplishments as a Civilian Conservation Corps worker, a soldier, a lawyer, a U.S. Congressman, and Mayor of Chicago. Also located at the center are: the Popular Library, the Thomas Hughes Children’s Library, the General Information Services Division, the Business/Science/Technology Information Center, the Electronic Resource Center, and the Copy Center. The Computer Connection, the Talking Book Center, the Government Publications Department, and the Municipal Reference Collection are more of the centers that are located here.
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Union Station- This station is an historical landmark in Chicago because it is the last remaining of Chicago’s great turn-of-the-century train depots. In the 1940’s, over 300 trains arrived or departed daily and 100,000 commuters pass through Union Station each day. Most of the daily commuters go directly to the trains and never pass through the Great Hall. The Great Hall which is the portion of the station that dates back to 1925. This section has marble floors and walls, Corinthian columns, and bronze torches. If you need a bite to eat while your there is a variety of options. There is a cafeteria style deli with a bar, a food court, Corner Bakery for sandwiches and baked goods, Gold Coast Dogs, and Connie’s Pizza. Also located at the Union Station there is convenience for magazines, newspapers, and Chicago souvenirs.
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Lincoln Park Zoo- This is among the oldest zoological gardens in the country. This zoo was established in 1868 and is also among the most modern. Because this is a premier Chicago attraction the Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes more then three million visitors each year! This zoo provides the tourists with remarkable educational experiences as well as fun and enjoyment. This zoo is also famous for its historical structures, the zoo has succeeded at combining state-of-the-art animal and visitor facilities with beautiful architectural reflections of past times and sensibilities. Lincoln Park Zoo stands as one of the last free major cultural institutions in the United States and the only one left in Chicago. The zoo is open 365 days a year. In addition to observing the animals the zoo features its SBC Endangered Species Carousel ride, paddle boat and swan boat rides, the LPZOO Express train ride, the 4-D Virtual Safari simulator, and a Safari Audio Tour.
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Buckingham Fountain- This fountain is located in Grant Park and is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions and is also one of the largest fountains in the world. The Buckingham Fountain was opened in May of 1927. The four sea horses on the sides of the fountain represent the four states that touch Lake Michigan: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The fountain operates from April 1st to November 1st each year and runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. Every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the fountain produces a major water display and the center jet shoots 150 feet into the air! At the fountain at dusk the fountain’s hourly major water display is accompanied by lights and music. The capacity of the fountain is 1.5 million gallons! The fountain also contains 820 lights.
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Chicago Blues Festival- This festival has been an annual tradition in Chicago for over 20 years! It is held at Grant Park in mid-June. The festival features a variety of local and national talents performing Chicago blues, swing, boogie woogie, and delta blues. The festival is free and draws nearly a million people each year!
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The Art Institute of Chicago- This institution holds one of the world’s greatest art collections. Some of the exhibits are as followed: The African and Amerindian collection, the Ernest R. Graham Study Center for Architectural Drawings, the European Painting collection, the holdings of the Department of Textiles, and the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Dining options at the Art Institute include the Court Café and the Garden Restaurant. The Art Institute also has a museum shop.
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Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament- This event is located in Hoffman Estates a suburb located in the greater Woodfield area northwest of Chicago. This event features jousting matches from the 11th century featuring beautiful Andalusion horses. Your personal wench will serve you barbecued ribs and roasted chicken. The show also features brilliant costumes and the weaponry of the time, including swords, lances, maces, and bolas. The horses are known for their glorious physique and noble temperament. The horses used in the shows are bred and trained at the Medieval Times Chapel Creek Ranch in Texas.
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Chicago Cultural Center- This center was completed in 1897 and dedicated as the city’s original Chicago Public Library. This center was completed at a cost of almost $2 million. The center was inspired by the neo-classical style of the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. The building’s structure consists of three-foot thick masonry walls faced with Bedford limestone that are set 104 feet above a granite base. The most notable features at the center are its spectacular stained-glass domes. The world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome estimated at $35 million, is the 38-foot dome in the Preston Bradley Hall at the south end of the building. The building is the setting for hundreds of programs and exhibitions and programs covering a wide range of the performing, visual, and literary arts that are presented on almost everyday of the year.
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Millennium Park- This park was first planned in 1997 as a way to create new parkland in Grant Park and transform unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots. Millennium Park has now evolved into the most significant millennium project in the world. “Millennium Park” says that one prominent civic leader, “will be a worthy creation for all time. It will define Chicago to the entire world as America’s greatest city.” The park is located in the heart of Chicago. The Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and admission is always free.
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Ravinia Festival- This is an outdoor entertainment venue located in Highland Park, just north of Chicago. This festival features a variety of acts such as: classical, pop, contemporary, blues, and jazz. The pavilion where it is located holds 3,200 reserved seats, but the main attraction is picnicking on the lawn. The general admission tickets are available for lawn seating, where the guests bring lavish picnics, often with tables, tablecloths, candles, and crystal. Some tourists choose to purchase their meals at one of the several onsite restaurants or preorder a gourmet boxed meal and wine. Rental lawn chairs are also available. The venue features a gift shop and is a smoke-free environment.