A Chicago New Year

Okay so I think I’m finally detoxed from our boozy weekend hopping around Chicago’s finest establishments! I’m actually trying this crazy diet (because it’s New Year’s and everyone’s doing it, obvs), so I’m feeling re-energized and a bit less bloated from all the bacon 🙂

I have two more days in Chicago to catch you up on! Monday was a frigid chilly day that we actually decided to spend outside. The Lincoln Park Zoo is right on the lake and just north of where we were staying. So we bundled up and went on the search for animals braving the winter chill.

Paths outside the zoo

Paths outside the zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is free (score!) and has a great assortment of exhibits and attractions. Stars aligned for us on Monday and we saw tons of animals – zebras (including a baby!), giraffes, monkeys, reptiles, birds, seals, sea otters, lions, tigers, bears (I’m serious here), and the list just goes on and on.

Tiger

Just hanging out

One of the most amazing things of the weekend happened in the Ape House. As we were admiring the big gorillas and silverbacks, a female ape came swinging down with a little package. A newborn ape was (literally) breast feeding as she swung around the ropes. It was so cool to see the little baby (about 6 weeks old) and pretty crazy to see him actually nursing. Makes me want to study more on evolution…gorillas are just so familiar.

My new friend

My new friend

When we were in the Ape House, the zookeeper just so happened to start a training exercise with the gorillas so we had front row seats to watch these amazing animals interact with the keepers and practice movements and activities that make it easier for them to do daily necessities like health checks, eating and exercising. When we left that area and wandered to the outdoor seal exhibit they were just starting the talk there too. Talk about perfect timing!!

Another cool happening around the zoo were the sleepy lions. According to the zoo’s website, the male and female lions just became roommates – they’re taking the relationship to a whole new level!

Sleeping with one eye open

Sleeping with one eye open

The male really wanted nothing to do with us but the female gave us a big yawn before settling back down for a catnap.

Check out those teeth!

Check out those teeth!

Definitively check out the zoo on a visit – free, lots of animals, cool activities/interaction and close to the loop!

Later that evening we got ready for our New Year’s festivities – dinner and a show! We had secured tix to the sold out The Book of Mormon for our big NYE activity. I love to actually do something on NYE vs just go out drinking (plus we had arguably done enough of that already!).

We popped over to a quick dinner at Rosebud’s, where I enjoyed a ricotta dumpling dish with green beans, roasted red pepper and mushrooms.

After dinner we headed to the theatah and hiked our way up to the balcony. One perk of sitting up top is you can pretty well see the entire stage! I was a little nervous heading to my seat with a glass of wine in hand, thought I’d go tumbling down into the orchestra!

NYE

NYE

The Book of Mormon has been the source of some controversy, being a parody of sorts of the Mormon missionaries. It definitely was over the top and the opposite of PC, but really was hysterical. I laughed many, many times throughout the show and never was offended for more than a split second. That’s saying something, since I usually don’t appreciate crass humor or anything I think is too off color. Recommended for sure.

After the show we headed to Wells Street to ring in the New Year. The House of Glunz was a great, low key hangout to watch the ball drop and enjoy a drink. The bar recently reopened after being closed since prohibition in 1920. The entire time the space has been owned and used as storage or event space by the Glunz family (since 1888!) but not until 2 weeks ago did it return to being a functional bar and restaurant. I got a history lesson from the original owners great-grandson! 🙂

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

All in all it was a great New Year’s – active, educational, eye-opening, funny and relaxed. And I wasn’t even hung over for New Year’s day. That’s the best! 🙂

Our last day in Chicago was spent cooking up breakfast at home and heading to the early matinee of Les Miserables. I was soo so excited to finally see the movie, as we tried to go the day after Christmas and it was completely sold out. I’ve read the book about 10 times and have seen the musical at the theater, so was super amped for this star-studded version. I was so impressed by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and the actress who played little Cosette. Ahh-mazing. Tears, laughter and singing along in my head. Will definitely be purchasing on DVD.

It was a fantastic way to begin the new year. So far, so good 🙂

BTW have you read your horoscope for 2013? Mine’s dead on – http://shine.yahoo.com/horoscope/leo/overview-yearly-2013.html

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2 thoughts on “A Chicago New Year

  1. Pingback: 2012 Travel: A Year in Review | oh, to have the world on a string

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