What Actually Happened...
On Saturday night, we gathered up the kids and headed in to downtown Chicago. We invited many people to go with us, but the only one who accepted the invitation was The King's grandma, "Nana".
I had found a ticket package that included tickets to the John Hancock Observatory and a 90-minute boat tour, but The King's mother said that she was afraid of boats and didn't want to go. I was under the impression that she wanted to go to the observatory with us, so I didn't push the boat issue anymore. It turned out, however, that she didn't want to go at all. So we didn't get the boat ride AND The King's mom stayed home. Oh well.
We took the "fastest elevator in North America" up 94 floors to the observatory. The view was absolutely incredible. One thing that was REALLY cool was that everyone got their own little Palm Pilot (it probably wasn't a Palm, but it looked and acted very similar) with headsets, and you got your own personal tour of the city. As you walked around the observatory, there were numbers posted along the walls. When you reached one of these numbers, you stopped, entered the code into your machine, and listened to a brief narrative about Chicago. There was an adult version and an edited down version for the kids. The kids really loved this! I thought it was a great idea, because it seems that the usual reaction of kids on a sight-seeing tour is, "I'm bored!" No one was bored here, and the only time I heard from any of them is when The Dragon would ask, "Which way is left?" or "Which way is right?" They were able to find several landmarks in Chicago, though I daresay that it is easier to spot them during the day than at night.
One of the fun facts we learned is that Twinkies, Sundaes and Cracker Jack were all created in Chicago. Well, that's according to The Princess. I don't remember hearing it on my recording - but I was listening to the adult version.
We got there in time to see the fireworks on Navy Pier. That was a strange experience. The fireworks seemed very far away and very tiny, and they were in slow motion. When you think about your firework experience from the ground, well, it's very different. We could still hear the loud booms during the finale, but they weren't that loud.
Thanks for the tip! The John Hancock building was great!
(I took pictures but they are not on my computer yet. I will try to post them when we get back to Utah.)