Let the Touring Begin!

City touring, that is!  With all the college tours out of the way, we were now on a mission!  By the way, as a side note, I loved DePaul University and their mission statement … I wonder why!  Who of us wouldn’t want to go to a university with the wonderful St. Vincent de Paul as our guide …

Ok back to the mission … EXPLORING!  First day:  The Lincoln Park Zoo and the Hot Dog Fest!  Yes, there is a festival for HOT DOGS!  These people love their dogs, I’m telling you!!  But first, to get to the zoo, we had to walk a couple of blocks from the Red Line and we passed right by “Oz Park.”  This park is a memorial to Frank Baum, the creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, who lived in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in the 1890s.  There are huge statues of Dorothy & Toto, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and The Lion and we walked right by this guy on our way to the zoo:

We’re … Off to see the … Lions, Tigers & Bears! Oh My! Oh and please excuse the “photo-bombers!”

This park is definitely a place on my “explore more” list!

The Zoo is a pretty amazing place.  It’s free every single day of the year and it’s not just a little zoo … this is a full-fledged beautiful, clean, organized, fabulous zoo.  I’ve always loved going to the zoo at home and when we travel, but sometimes, it’s just so sad.  I didn’t get that feeling at all in this zoo.  The animals we saw were all out wandering around, playing (well “rough-housing” in the “Teen Aged Male Gorilla” exhibit — they seriously look like all of our boys at that age!!), even looking at us looking at them!  It was a great experience for us and since it’s free, we will be visiting a lot!  They have quite a few brand new babies … as in “Bella” the newest in their gorilla family who was born in late April.  She was still hanging on to Mom when we were there, being carried around like any normal 4 month old baby.  I stole this picture from their website since our pics didn’t do her little face justice.

Bella and her Mama!

We spent the morning visiting with as many of the animals as we could but I don’t think we hit even a quarter of the zoo.  I was curious as to how they can offer this place free every single day and this is what it says on their site:

Mission Statement:
Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience in the heart of Chicago and by advancing the highest quality of animal care, education, science and conservation.

Funding:
Lincoln Park Zoo is a privately managed institution that depends primarily on the support of its visitors, members and donors to remain open and free every day. More than two-thirds of the zoo’s operating budget is provided by revenue from its food service, retail shops, parking, and fund-raising activities. The remaining portion is provided by a fixed annual subsidy from the Chicago Park District.

Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m really glad we went.  Here are a few more shots of the tigers and monkeys and gorillas!

Now, do I dare mention … the Hot Dog Fest?  This is a true thing … a festival for a hot dog!  hahaha!  Now you remember that these “Chicago Dogs” are not my favorite, however, Landon was crazy about them so we walked over to the other side of Lincoln Park to join the festivities!  “Hot Dogs, Hot Dogs, who wants a hot dog?”  Well I can say that they had some wonderful, refreshing, homemade lemonade!  TBTG!  Cuz there are NO Hot Dogs for me!  The rest of the family enjoyed them though so I’m happy for them!

We're off ... to get a Hot Dog!

We’re off … to get a Hot Dog!

After a few dozen dogs, some lemonade, a corn dog for me, fries and lots of water, we were done!

Break Time!

Break Time!

Time to go home!  So off we went, on a very slow stroll to find our Red Line.  I’m not sure we’ll eat for the rest of their visit.  Hmmmm …. talk to you tomorrow!

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