Children ages 6 to 12 from our Bridge International School summer program enjoyed a full day trip to Chicago’s downtown Millennium Park escorted by SEAC staff, parents and volunteers. This beautiful summer day in June was a perfect opportunity to soak up some sun as well as the sights of the city.
The ride on the CTA’s 146 Outer Drive Express bus traveled virtually door-to-door from near our school’s Foster Avenue location to Michigan Avenue with only a few local stops. The short 30 minute ride along DuSable Lakeshore Drive provided views of the lakefront and the impressive Chicago skyline.
At Millennium Park the group enjoyed exploring the Crown Fountain and “The Bean” (Officially named “Cloud Gate”) before enjoying a picnic lunch in a shady spot nearby.
Throughout the day SEAC teaching staff shared details about the art and architecture they were seeing that will be the basis for a follow up lesson.
After lunch there was time to appreciate the nearby Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor music venue and home to the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra with its unusual design by architect Frank Gehry.
Next the group headed over the long winding BP Bridge stopping along the way to admire the skyline, including the Prudential Building which was one of the city’s early skyscrapers and compare it to the Aon Building which at 87 stories is currently Chicago’s 4th tallest building.
At Maggie Daley Park everyone enjoyed the opportunity to run and climb before finding a shady place to rest.
The walk back over the bridge and through the park was a chance to review what was seen and experienced on the excursion before boarding the bus for the ride back home.
Sure this was fun but it was also a chance for students to appreciate the opportunities and inspiration that can be found all around them as residents of a world-class city. Several students (and even a staff member or two) had never been to Millennium Park before this visit. As we are all wrapped up in our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to ignore what we have available to us. We just need to take the time to look around and also make some effort to understand what we are seeing.