Friday, September 28, 2012

Navy Pier

After our lovely, relaxing architecture cruise, we walked down to Navy Pier.  I had been so so excited to go to Navy Pier after seeing pictures of all the fun things it has too offer!  I am so glad my parents were nice enough to include it in our plans, I don't know if they would have thought about going there if they hadn't seen me get all excited about it, they are just the best mom and dad in the world!

We were all pretty excited about riding the Ferris wheel, so that is the thing we headed to first.  Like I mentioned a couple of posts ago, the first Ferris wheel in the world was created in Chicago for the world fair.  The original Ferris Wheel, sometimes also referred to as the Chicago Wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. With a height of 264 ft it was the largest attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, where it opened to the public on June 21, 1893. It was intended to rival the 1,063 ft Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition.  The original Ferris wheel was double the size of the wheel at Navy Pier, that thing must have been massive!

We got the most spectacular views of the entire pier and city skyline on our little ride.

Bethy recently taught me how to take awesome HDR photos.  HDR basically takes two pictures and combines them into one great looking photo.  Here are some examples from my many experimental HDR pictures I took while on vacation.
After our Ferris wheel adventure, we decided to walk to the end of the pier to see the stained glass museum.  It was so much fun to walk along the waters edge and just soak up the bright, colorful fun atmosphere of the pier.  There are all sorts of restaurants that have cute patio dinning, shops and arcades on one side of the walk and lots of different boats ranging from a huge pirate ship to upscale yachts available for tours on the other side.

We had to get some sort of carnival food while we were on the pier, but we didn't want to spoil our deep dish pizza dinner we had planned for that night.  So, we opted to have a lunch of churros and elephant ears.  Churros are my absolute favorite carnival food, and they just so happened to have all different kinds of FILLED CHURROS!! My mind was blown, you could get chocolate, vanilla, cream or strawberry filling inside your deep fried, cinnamon rolled goodness.  Dad and I opted for the chocolate filling.  I wish I could say they were amazing and to die for, but ... the filling was kind of not amazing. BUT it had opened my eyes to the possibility, and I bet I could recreate a much better version at home!  They were still fun to eat while watching boats sail by and feeding little bits to those chubby little birdies that you see everywhere.
Mom got some elephant ears.  I had never heard of this treat before, but man it was delicious.  Basically, it is just deep fried dough drenched in butter and covered in cinnamon sugar, so really, how could it not be divine?

We made it all the way to the end of the pier! It was beautiful at the end, it was a lot more peaceful and quite then the rest of the pier.

Here, we sat on one of the numerous benches set up along the water and rested our tired feet and just soaked in our surroundings.  All three of us just savored that beautiful moment in time, sitting on a bench on the waters edge soaking up the warm sunshine and feeling the nice breeze on Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, perfection.

After we felt rested up enough to continue exploring, we headed into the free stained glass museum.  Navy Pier is pretty awesome in the fact that it's free to enter, no cover charge, and there are tons of free things to do within the park, such as this amazing stained glass exhibit.  So, we were at the pier for a big chunk of the day, and we only paid to ride the Ferris wheel, and for our little treats.  The rest of our fabulous experience was free!

Their collection of stained glass was stunning.  There was such a range of all different types and styles represented.  They had quite a few Tiffany windows which, of course, were my favorite. I just could not get over the beauty of the opalescent glass that he used and how he created the look of different layers.  There is a reason why he is so well known for his work, it's just unlike any other!

There were also quite a few modern pieces.

More Tiffany's

My next favorite stained glass that we saw, was this series of the four seasons done in the art neavou style which might be my favorite style.  I think the summer panel might be my favorite.  I love her crown made of poppies. and her long dark, swirling hair.  But they are all gorgeous!

By now the sun was setting and we were anxious to get to Giordano's for some famous deep dish pizza.  The walk back up the pier was gorgeous in the glow of the setting sun.