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After years of pleading and missing registration dates for the Lincoln Park Zoo Conservation Camp, I got serious this winter and ended up buying a membership to the zoo to ensure I would get first chance and a discount to get my kids a spot in the coveted 2-week camp.
I complained in my head (and to my family) about the fact that I would be dropping them off at 9 a.m., picking up my little one at 11:30 and then coming back for the older boy at 3. Considering we live 25 minutes away from the zoo on a good day, it is a lot of driving.
I could not have been more wrong. As I drive east I point out my first tiny studio in the city and the apartment down the street where Daddy proposed to me. I'm out of my bubble and the kids and I love looking at all the old and new restaurants and bars in the hustling Lincoln Park. Once we turn into the Lincoln Park Zoo parking lot, we are hit with the beautiful skyline view and we hear the sounds of Lake Shore Drive and the beach to our left.
I'm smitten before I even park. While the kids are given an opportunity of a lifetime to learn behind the scenes about the animals and habitats, I enjoy every minute of the 2.5 hours I have until the little one is ready to picked up.
The free Lincoln Park Zoo in itself provides hours of entertainment for all ages. My kids love the carousel (which is not free), my husband gravitates towards the monkeys and I admire the giraffes.
Today I decide to explore the surrounding areas of the zoo. The Caldwell Lily Pond hidden off of Fullerton is the most serene spot in the city even though minutes from the bustle of rush hour traffic.
Next, I head south to the North Avenue Bridge and find myself along the lakefront inhaling the beach air and watching the bike riders, joggers and kids playing in the sand. I don't feel like I am in Chicago, suddenly I feel transported to somewhere tropical.
The time ends quickly and I walk along the many paths to retrieve my children refreshed, relaxed and grateful to live in a city that offers so much.
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