- An average of 35 million visitors flock to Chicago each year.
- Chicago has 15 miles of swim beaches.
- Chicago inventor Martin Cooper invented the first cell phone.
- Chicago is home to 552 parks.
- Chicago is home to Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the world’s last free zoos.
- Chicago is the former home of President Barack Obama.
- Chicago’s Western Avenue is the world’s longest continuous street, at 23.5 miles.
- Cracker Jacks were introduced during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
- Four states are visible from the top of the Willis Tower (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin).
- Gotham City from Batman was based largely off of Chicago. - Gotham City license plates were designed to look like Illinois plates so that they would be consistent with other plates while filming car-chase scenes in the city.
- Historic Route 66 began in Chicago.
- In 1885, Chicago became home to the first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building.
- In 1895, the first automobile race ever seen in the United States was held in Chicago.
- In 1924, the first gay rights group in the U.S. was created in Chicago.
- Shedd Aquarium is home to the oldest aquatic animal in a public aquarium in the world, an Australian lungfish named Granddad, who is at least 85 years old.
- The Ferris wheel was invented in Chicago in 1893 and debuted at the Chicago World’s Fair. Each car was 24 feet long and 13 feet wide and could hold 60 passengers.
- The first all-color TV station made its debut in Chicago in 1956.
- The first animal purchased for the Lincoln Park Zoo was a bear cub, bought for $10 in 1874.
- The first blood bank in the United States was created in Chicago in 1937.
- The longest MLB game to ever be played was in 1984 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Chicago White Sox defeated the Milwaukee Brewers after 25 innings.
- The movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was filmed in Chicago.
- The Wrigley Building was the first air-conditioned office building.
- Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, was named after Wrigley who invented Wrigley gum in you guessed it – Chicago!
- The first version of softball was invented in Chicago on Thanksgiving Day in the year 1887 by George Hancock.
- Walt Disney was born in Chicago.
Hectic school and extracurricular schedules and the abundance of screen filled options make it challenging to keep family members engaged with each other instead of their phones, tablets and TVs. Take away the warm temperatures of spring and summer and you immediately have a recipe for stir-crazy kiddos and parents alike. Here is a list of 50 nearly free things you can do as a family DON’T involve screens this winter.
I know it’s much easier to revert to screen time in the cold dreary depths of winter. But with a little extra thought you can have plenty of activities to keep your family happy and healthy.
There are a collection of states in the Midwest that are often referred to as “flyover” states. Although, there are lots of corn, wheat and windmill fields, there are several places that are worth seeing along the way. Here you will find just a few!
Great Platte River Road Archway Monument From 1843 to 1869, nearly half a million pioneers n rode and walked the trails West. This monument celebrates the Pony Express, the wagon trains and the pioneers, trappers, traders, and more.
Fort Kearny State Historical Park Take a 30 minute stretch break and enjoy this historical crossroads of the Oregon Trail.
Pioneer Village This is a private museum founded by Harold Warp in 1953. There are 28 buildings on 20 acres with over 50,000 historic items dating back to 1830. Literally, you can visit an entire village from the 19th century including a one-room schoolhouse, prairie church, land office building, Elm Creek Fort, general store and more. It is interesting for all ages and definitely worth a few hours for a visit in Minden, Nebraska.
Henry Doorly Zoo I have visited many zoos over the years with my children. This year I had the opportunity to visit the Doorly Zoo in Omaha with my grandson. It was an extraordinarily hot day, but we had a wonderful time. The lay out of the zoo is designed to leisurely stroll through or take a train or gondola to view different exhibits which is helpful when it is very warm. The steam engine train is one-of-a-kind and worthwhile to ride with younger children. I wish we had more time and it had been a bit cooler. The splash area is a welcome respite from the hot weather and the misters were placed throughout the park so we could at least cool off! Three hours was really not enough, but still a memorable and worthwhile place to visit.
Lunch or Dinner in the Old Market with a stop at Pioneer Courage Park Step back in time and enjoy the larger than life statues of a wagon train traveling thorugh downtown Omaha. Then do a little shopping and have a nice meal in the Old Market of Omaha. An enjoyable break from the highway!
Living History Farms near Des Moines tells the history of Iowa farming through the ages. Travel at your own pace through historical time periods spanning 300 years. On-site docents in character share interesting stories and demonstrations.
Quad Cities Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Davenport to see the sights or spend an afternoon on the Mississippi River with a stop at the Davenport Skybridge for a lovely view.
Enjoy the journey!
Children between the ages of 5 and 15 who travel by air without a parent or guardian are known as unaccompanied minors (UMs). Millions of children fly alone safely every year, but you should take all necessary precautions when you arrange for your child to fly alone. Air travel has changed in recent years—there is much more congestion at the airports and in the air. Flights get cancelled, or sometimes delayed for hours. The steps below explain how you can prepare your child for a solo trip that will be safe and enjoyable.
1. Research the air carrier. Determine first if the carrier flies to your child’s destination city. If the carrier has direct flights to the destination city, inquire about their unaccompanied minor (UM) policies. Most airlines have similar policies on UMs, but it pays to do your homework:
2. Inquire about connections. Some airlines will not allow a UM to travel on connecting flights. Most airlines that do allow a UM to travel on a connecting flight will charge a fee for airline personnel to assist your child with changing planes.
3. Ask about all required paperwork. You will be able to download and print out consent and liability release forms and have them filled out prior to the flight. If you do not do this beforehand you can also complete these documents at the airport, however, it will save time and effort to complete this prior to arriving at the airport. You will have to provide your child’s name and age, as well as details about any medical considerations, including prescription medicine. You will also list the name of the person whom you are authorizing to pick up your child when the plane lands. (Upon arrival, your child will be escorted into the terminal and released to the person you have authorized.)
4. Be very clear about the airline carrier’s policy on young adult passengers. Most airlines consider a child of 16 or over to be a young adult, and don’t assist the child on the flight unless you specifically request the assistance and pay the fee. If you don’t make such arrangements, the airline expects your child to be responsible for making his or her own plans if a flight is canceled, delayed or redirected.
5. Keep flight arrangements as simple as possible. Even if the airline allows your child to take connecting flights, it isn’t an ideal situation. Try to book a nonstop flight. Make reservations; do not allow your child to fly standby even if the airline permits it.
6. Arrange for your child’s meals. If food will be served during the flight, reserve a meal for your child, especially if your child has dietary restrictions. If there is no meal service, be sure to pack a meal for your child.
7. Request e-tickets. Electronic tickets, stored in the airline’s computer, means your child won’t have to worry about carrying and possibly losing a paper ticket. However, all UM passengers must wear a pouch around their neck (given by the airline) with their ticket and copy of their paperwork is stored in it until they reach their destination. Electronic tickets are a nice insurance though.
8. Don’t forget about medications. Most airlines will not permit their employees to administer medication to children under any circumstances. If your child requires medication that he or she cannot take unassisted and which would normally be necessary during the time of the flight, ask your child’s doctor about alternatives.
9. Prepare your child for everything he or she might expect before, during and after the flight:
10. Do everything necessary to make your child’s flight comfortable:
11. Pack a small carry-on bag for your child and include the following items:
12. Pack some snacks, even if a meal is to be served. Include gum, for chewing during take-off and landing to relieve air pressure changes.
13. Give your child a small amount of cash.
14. Allow extra time at the airport. In addition to arriving several hours early, factor in traffic delays, security delays and time you might need to fill out any extra paperwork that may be required at check-in.
Every city has their niches, the things that make them unique, the places locals couldn’t imagine living without and the things that people will travel near and far to see; from micro parks to big hikes, from small towns to major cities, from secret treasures to the world renowned. Every city needs to be loved; here are just a few reasons to love Portland.