Grant Park; The Front Yard of Chicago

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This three hundred and twenty acre urban park located within the business district of Chicago is a central component of the area. Named after Ulysses S. Grant, the park features numerous sections that provide an enriching experience for every visitor of any age, such as the famous Millennium Park. There is an array of recreational activities, such as sports, gardens, sculptures, and more.

Fantastic Features of the Grant Park

Millions of people enjoy the characteristics of this incredible park on an annual basis. Some of the more enjoyable attractions are described below.

Millennium Park. This section is worth hundreds of millions by itself, considering the sights, such as the Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, and Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The BP Pedestrian Bridge connects Millennium to the other sections of Grant.

Daley Park. Across that bridge, the outdoor activities of Daley are widely available. Some of the resources include tennis courts, chess tables, activity building, and skating rinks.

Art Institute of Chicago. This century old art institute is one of the top art schools and museums in the country. They have an extensive collection of art available for viewing, particularly American.

Buckingham Fountain. An incredible light and water display is located within the heart of Grant. The Buckingham Fountain is actually one of the largest in the world, and it was a donation from Kate Buckingham, a Chicagoan philanthropist.

Museums. The southern end houses three museums dedicated to the natural sciences, including astronomy, history, and marine biology. Each museum is quite extensive with an excessive amount of informative displays and demonstrations.

Petrillo Music Shell. This outdoor amphitheater frequently hosts musical performances, such as during the Jazz and Blues festivals.

Gardens. There are multiple gardens located throughout Grant Park, each one more beautiful than the next. Positioned strategically around the other attractions, the various flora, including trees, bushes, flowers, and more, are perfectly displayed together or with the help of columns and fountains.

Hutchinson Field. This large open space is perfect for sporting activities, such as football and soccer, and multiple baseball fields are available too.

Chicago Lakefront Trail. This 18 mile trail highlights the Lake Michigan shoreline; perfect for joggers and cyclists. The walking paths throughout the park are also great for a daily dose of physical activity.

Additional Resources. More than one dozen softball and baseball fields, one dozen tennis courts, a dog park, and structured fitness programs are also available to the general public.

There are also finely crafted sculptures and other art displays located within the 320 acres, such as the Abraham Lincoln Monument and the Christopher Columbus sculpture.

Grant Park is an incredible landmark for Chicago inhabitants and the millions of annual tourists. A substantial amount of time would be required to fully utilize each resource provided throughout the grounds. The campus is more than incredible with the museums, gardens, and other well-designed and integrated structures; it should definitely hold a strong spot on every bucket list.

Millennium Park; An Expensive Endeavor

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While the completed Millennium Park is incredibly beautiful, artistic, and praised by critics, the unbelievably poor planning and budgeting is the most unique aspect of this Chicagoan landmark. Various issues plagued the construction process that delayed the project four years and more than tripled the planned budget.

Millennium Park Problems

Considering the name, the park was intended to celebrate the turn of the millennium; however, the grand opening was pushed back until 2004, when it was finally opened. However, the three day celebration was still attended by hundreds of thousands of people to praise the green design, which includes the largest rooftop garden, and accessibility. The park is also full of wonderful structures, buildings, gardens, and more that are extremely well-designed and visually appealing.

Another major issue was the cost overruns. While the original budget proposed a cost of $150 million, the final price equaled more than triple that proposition. Private donors covered about $200 million, but the city and tax payers were responsible for the remaining amount. The rampant overspending was attributed to cronyism, horrible planning, and poor designs. Many of the structures required modification or complete redesign, which caused the cost of some portions to spiral out of control. However, many people consider the park well worth the extra expenses, and the design was much improved over original plans.

Beauty behind the Beast

While there were numerous problems faced during development, the final product is undoubtedly beautiful and enriching to Chicago inhabitants and visitors. Additionally, this 24 acre addition to the 320 acre Grant Park has a host of brilliant features. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is the main focus of the park with seating for over ten thousand people. Many music and other performance groups perform at this awe-inspiring creation. The AT&T Plaza holds the Cloud Gate structure, which is known throughout the world. The reflective droplet shaped sculpture is reminiscent of mercury. Another sculpture is the Crown Fountain that combines water and video to create an interactive experience.

The BP Pedestrian Bridge is likely the most striking in aerial views. The highly unique curved, stainless steel coated bridge is well-known for the aesthetics. However, the McCormick Tribune Plaza and Ice Rink is a favorite by many. The free public skating is great for watching people and outdoor physical activity. When the winter months are over, it is converted into a grill, which consistently wins best burger competitions.

While many blunders occurred during the development of the Millennium Park in Chicago, the finished product is more than incredible. The tripled cost was enough to create intricate, aesthetically pleasing structures, including buildings, theaters, bridges, and more. The park is continually praised for the high level of accessibility and beneficially green design, such as being home to the largest rooftop garden. The artistic ability showcased in both the building designs and sculptures is simply unbelievable. This tourist attraction is an obvious must-see for any visitor within the area.

Lincoln Park; The Largest Chicagoan Public Park

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Located on Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park encompasses 1,200 acres and covers seven miles of the Chicago, Illinois shoreline. The combination of zoos, museums, recreation areas, beaches, harbors, and more attracts more than twenty million visitors every year, which easily puts this wonderful collection of resources on the map for most visited parks in the United States.

What You’ll Find in Lincoln Park

The park is filled with numerous outdoor activities that any age can enjoy. Many are even free for entertainment on any budget. This is the perfect place for creating lifelong bonds, experiences, and memories with friends and family.

Zoo. The zoo is very highly regarded and completely free of charge. It houses more than one thousand animals, such as reptiles, monkeys, large cats, and bears. There is also an example of a farm that includes cows, pigs, and other relevant animals; people can even try out common farm work, such as milking a cow.

Museums. Two different museums are available, including nature and history. The nature museum includes tons of displays relating to ecology, and a dedicated butterfly room is another beautiful feature. The history building focuses on the rich foundation of Chicago. Possessions of Abraham Lincoln and an extensive research library are housed on the premises.

Recreation. There is an array of recreational options available for public use. The many fields could be used for sports, including football, soccer, and baseball. A nine hole golf course is also open, and areas for horseback riding and archery. There are seven different beaches for playing in the water or tanning under the hot sun. The 18 mile trail running throughout Lincoln Park is popular for biking and jogging.

Lake Michigan offers many other recreational activities too. There are numerous harbors with hundreds of docking facilities. The public launching station can be used to drop-in a boat for starting a fun day on the water.

Wildlife. The natural flora and water resources allow various fauna to flourish. Visitors will undoubtedly spot one of the many types of birds, turtles, frogs, and beavers when viewing the North Pond Nature Sanctuary. Other species, such as the more than one hundred and fifty species of birds, can be seen throughout Lincoln Park, particularly in the Bill Jarvis and Montrose Point Bird Sanctuaries.

Art. More than one dozen well-crafted statues are standing strong in the park. The subjects include eternally famous people, including Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare, and Alexander Hamilton. These massive pieces of well-designed art pay tribute to those that have greatly influenced the history of Chicago and the entire world.

The largest Chicagoan public park attracts more than twenty million visitors each year. The sports fields, golf course, zoo, museums, harbors, beaches, and many other parts of Lincoln Park provide an entertaining experience that takes months to fully enjoy. The range of wildlife sanctuaries and large statues provide an excellent visual experience for every age. The perfect place for building bonds with friends and family.

Top 10 Family Fun Activities You Can Do at a Park

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Family Picnic at a Park

Our lives have got so busy that we hardly manage to find some quality time for ourselves and our family. Your kids keep complaining that you aren’t spending enough time with them, but you can’t really help it as you have bills to pay and things to buy. This goes on to be the reason for your kid’s addiction towards playing computer games and watching television shows. Slowly and steadily they make playing video games their occupation and spend all day doing similar activities, not only harming their physical self but also obstructing their overall growth. Hence, instead of simply resorting to the comfort of your home even on weekdays, it is a wise idea to go out with your whole family to get some fresh air and give an opportunity to your kids to do some outdoor stuff.

Now, when it comes to going out with your family, the first thing that hits your mind is movies and theatres. Well, let me tell you, there are way better options than watching a movie or going shopping, one of the best being a visit to the park. Regardless of your budget, you can always visit a park. There will be ample adventures to keep your kids busy and enough freshness in the air to help you get relaxed. Whether your local park is an expansive national park or just a small neighborhood green space, it is bound to be recreational enough for people of all age groups, so don’t miss out on outing there with your whole family. The below given are 10 of the most creative suggestions that are sure to give you enough ideas to make your family’s visit to the park a relaxing and even memorable one:

Playground activities

Gone are the days when kids used to go out and play with their friends. Nowadays, multiplayer gaming is the new home of kids to play and communicate with each other. The most a kid can do after getting bored with his or her PlayStation or computer is switch to watching something on the television. Keeping the activities confined to such involvement with the machines can turn out to be not so good in the long run, and even instill a sense of loneliness in the kids. Visiting a park will allow them to follow some outdoor activities like playing on monkey bars, giant slides, and other such activities. They may even interact and play with other kids of the same age group, thus helping them to feel more active and get rid of the lonely feeling.You can join them as well and experience pure fun with your family. This will also help your kids feel more comfortable with you.

Watching for wildlife

Wildlife can be found in most of the parks and watching them can be a real pleasure, especially while being with the kids, as they simply love watching it. Watching the various birds, bugs and other animals are sure to relieve you of the week long tension and stress and provide your kids with quality entertainment. They may even start taking photos of the animals they find there or create drawings after returning to the home.

Having a picnic

Going to the park with a view of having a picnic there is a great idea as well. A picnic is a fun filled activity and sure to be an amazing entertainer for your whole family.

Playing hide and seek

Yes, if you intend to get more out of your visit to the park, you need to allow the kid in you to take the charge. Playing hide and seek will turn out to be a really enjoyable experience for not only the kids, but also the parents. The excitement and thrill the activity offers is something of an unmatched quality and there aren’t many things that offer a level of enjoyment as entertaining as playing hide and seek.

Playing other outdoor games

Both parents and the kids need to play some outdoor games the most. You keep working throughout the week days rather rigorously, hardly finding any time for yourself, let alone your kids. Your kids, on the other hand, are forced to either study or spend their time playing computer games all day, and need a break big time from such activities. Visiting a park and playing games like tennis, badminton, volleyball, etc can provide the much needed break to both the parents and the kids.

Experiencing the nature

Top 10 family fun activities you can do at a parkDue to our limited interaction with the nature throughout the week or probably longer if you are not someone visiting it regularly on the weekends, we tend to become more materialistic and less caring. Experiencing the feel of the nature by visiting a good park with a lot of greenery is sure to help develop our softer side and be at ease with ourselves and our family and avoiding the frequent arguments which many usually have otherwise.

Taking a walk

Yes, taking a simple long walk around the park can be a quality experience as well. Enjoying the fresh air and talking to your family in a light mood can be a real delight for sure. Also, such a walk also comes with various health benefits for the skin as well as the overall health due to the fresh oxygen rich air.

Going on a scavenger hunt

This can be a nice little involving activity too. Work together with your family to come up with a list of items you manage to notice in the park like a swing, a fence, sand, a pinecone or even a leaf.

Watching the sky and the clouds

Mad you would say. Well, not really. Watching the sky and the clouds besides having a good long talk with the family can be quite a good refreshing experience.

Playing with dirt and mud

I know that not many of you are going to like this idea, but believe me, it can make you laugh and enjoy like nothing else. Playing with dirt and mud in the park can make you feel like you are a kid again and help you connect to the kids in a much better way. If you manage to free yourself of all the shy feeling you get while playing this way, you are sure to have a memorable experience while playing with dirt and mud in a park.

Top 10 Parks to Visit in Chicago

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Top 10 Parks to Visit in Chicago

If you find yourself visiting the Windy City it is important that you get the full effect, and of course not just the touristy stuff. So here we have put together a list of the top ten most reviewed and favored parks within the Chicago area. All are going to have something unique to offer, and all of which offer family entertainment, great date night qualities, and just shine with the Windy City’s personality.

Ping Tom Memorial Park, Chicago.

Ping Tom Memorial Park is a 17.24-acre public urban park in Chicago’s Chinatown

Ping Tom Memorial Park is one of the hidden gems for parks within Chicago. What you have here is one of the locals, most admired, and cherished parks, and due to its location, chances are, unless you hear about it from a local, you probably would never have the opportunity to embrace its great qualities. This is where a Water taxi will come in handy, which is something that can really, add to its charm. You will take the water taxi and have a chance to go through China town and last but not least, Memorial Park.

There are a lot of different ways to get to the park, but the history of the park is really one of its greatest charms. It was named after Ping Tom, whom was a Chinese businessman and leader who absolutely love the parks in the Chicago area. You will find a playground, green area for picnics, and a few other great outdoor activities.

North Park Village, Chicago

North Park Village, Chicago. 46-acre nature preserve and educational facility.

North Park Village is one of the greatest Nature areas within the Chicago area. There is a great savanna, forest, wetland and prairie area for those that want to see different animal habitats.  The park is the host for an annual Maple tree Tapping Festival, which is about Maple syrup, and of course, making the syrup and few other things. There are great activities for the kids, and maple syrup contests.

When you are looking for somewhere to take the kids then it is priority to take the kids to Indian Boundary Park in Chicago. Here you will find a mini farm where your kids will be able to see all farm animals, and llamas. There is a playground and a giant oversized wooden castle for the kids play on as well. This is within a residential area which is included apartments and condos and is a safe area to take the kids on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Here tennis enthusiasts take advantage of the tennis courts as well.

Lincoln Park, Chicago - A leader in animal conservation and care

Lincoln Park, Chicago – A leader in animal conservation and care

While we are on the topic of the zoo, the Lincoln Park is home to the largest zoo in Chicago, and is one of the top stops for tourists and Chicago natives. This is the oldest zoo in the United States and holds over 1200 animals and the best part, is free for the whole family. There is a great display which teaches all ages how to work and live on a farm as well. There are paddle boats, fishing and a great role for walkers all within this family friendly park.

If you find yourself at the southwest end of the city, then you must make a stop to Marquette Park. On top of offering the most in varieties, you will also find that this park offers over 300+ acres, two gymnasiums, buildings, auditoriums, golf, rose garden and a great community garden. Yes this is all within ONE park. Also there is a park or court for every sport, including an indoor driving range.

You can’t say you have been to Chicago without adventuring to the outskirts of the city as well. When you head about 20 miles outside of the city you will find a 500 acre park, which is open to the public. This is Cantigny Park, where you will find championship quality golf courses, restaurants and well maintained beautiful gardens.  This is a park that does offer specific and seasonal hours, Feb. thru summer and is open on the weekends.

Lake front parks are available which is south of Grant Park, now we are talking about the Burnham park. This park was named after the infamous architect and planner Mr. Burnham. This park is on 600+ acres and offers six mile walking paths, which are along Lake Michigan. This is a very serene, romantic park with great paths, and skate parks, row boats and yes, there are beaches in the Chicago area, right here in the Burnham Park.

Garfield Park offers the largest indoor garden, so when you are looking for that ‘walk in the park’ in the middle of winter, or on a rainy day, this is a great way to get started. There is a great children’s garden, which if you live in the area, and have children in school in Chicago, chances are they will take a trip to this large park and indoor conservatory, which was built in 1908 offering wonderful pieces of history.

Millenium Park, Chicago.

Millenium Park, Chicago – a lively, spectacular gathering spot located in the heart of the city of Chicago.

There are parks for indoor activities, school lessons, play grounds and beaches, but when you are looking for that serene, change of the season portrait of perfection we encourage you to check out Millennium Park. This is one of the busiest parks in the city, and the most popular park for concerts under the open sky. During the winter, there is a pond that has been constructed and built for ideal ice skating and Christmas pictures in the park. This is also where you will find “the Bean” which is a glass 50 ft. sculpture well known to Chicago natives.

Last but not least we want to talk to you about Jackson Park. This was, of course, named after President Andrew Jackson. There are several reflection pools, gardens and a great 500+ acre open park with several breeds of animals. There are large trees with several different types of birds, and other sites that you may not find in other parks. This is the one park in Chicago that offers driving paths, bike paths, walking and jogging. The bottom line is there is something for everyone in Chicago, and finding the right park for you is a great privilege and you will be able to choose which one is best for you, right here within the Windy City.

Written By G. Klein – MezzoLogic SEO Los Angeles (LA #1 Internet Marketing Company – SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Social Media Management)