What do you do when you want to celebrate your birthday, you’re obsessed with Chicago, you want to accommodate the schedules of all of your friends, and you used to be a youth director?
If you’re me, you plan a Birthday Staycation.
After the success of the 2011 Fourth of July Staycation, I figured that a day full of fun events could be a great way to share my birthday with my friends. If you were there to celebrate with me, thanks for joining; and if not, block off a couple hours on your calendar and re-create the day for yourself.
1 p.m. Lunch at RJ Grunts
We had a great time at this first Lettuce Entertain You restaurant — the very restaurant that popularized the salad bar. On a Sunday early afternoon, we were able to enjoy this extensive salad bar along with breakfasty treats like waffles, bread pudding, and eggs.
2:30 p.m. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
After lunch, the group went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, down the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo. We loved learning about bugs, the environment, and ecosystems; but by far the best part was the butterfly exhibit. We loved seeing butterflies up close (and I especially enjoyed playing with my camera’s settings to get the perfect shot). If you haven’t yet visited this museum, this is a must-do in Chicago.
5 p.m. Whirlyball
People wonder if you actually learn any “real” skills in youth group, and my answer is that of course you do — how else would I be so good at Whirlyball? I can’t claim to be good at many sports, but when it comes to Whirlyball, I know a thing or two. We all had a great time making fools of ourselves trying to beat the other team to scoop up the whiffle ball with our lacrosse stick to throw it into the basketball net, all while on bumper cars.
6:15 p.m. Dinner at Giordano’s
As we all now know, even non-Chicagoans can enjoy Chicago pizza. So Giordano’s was a perfect way to end a packed day — with lots of cheese, tomato sauce, flaky crust, and even a scoop of ice cream and a birthday sparkler.
A great day of exploring all of the diverse opportunities Chicago has to offer and a wonderful way to celebrate my 26th birthday. Now I better start planning…how will I ever top this next year?