Thursday, April 28, 2016

Traveling In Chicago - Touring In Our Own Backyard

        Years ago our cousin Naomi Rushakoff gave us the book Chicago’s Museum’s- A Complete Guide to the City’s Cultural Attractions by Victor J. Danilov. At that time, our lives were incredibly hectic. I thanked Naomi for the book and put it on the bookshelf never to be looked at again. A conversation with my son and daughter-in-law a few days ago about interesting yet obscure Chicago places reminded me of Chicago’s Museums and I decided to take a look at it.

         It’s entirely fitting that Naomi gave this book to us. She was a person of infinite enthusiasm for interesting activities and places both famous and obscure, near and far. When my children were growing up, they loved to visit her and her husband Bill because she would find fascinating places to take them that no one else would have thought of. Knowing Naomi, she probably read the book and got a few more local travel ideas. She never seemed to run out of them.

         In the desire to channel at least a bit of Naomi’s enthusiasm, I’ve made a goal of visiting many of the places featured in the book. The book was written in 1987 and updated in 1991. Since then, some places in it have been closed and others not mentioned in the book have been opened. All in all, however, Chicago's Museums is a good place to start getting travel suggestions. When traveling to foreign cities, it’s often interesting to go to some places less traveled. Why not do it in my own city?

         Since this past Sunday was a beautiful day with summery temperatures, we chose one of the outdoor attractions – North Park Village Nature Center. Although I had driven past the entrance countless times wondering what was inside, I had never actually been in there.

        The North Park Village Nature Center and Preserve, situated in the North Park Village complex, was originally the site of the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium. It was closed in 1974 due to the decline in cases of tuberculosis. Now the complex that is owned by the Chicago Park District is home to a senior housing complex, park district field house and gym, and a 46- acre nature area complete with trails and a nature center.

         It’s amazing that this site in the middle of a busy city neighborhood could be so tranquil. Such a large area set aside for nature is really a treasure. On the trail, we saw several deer, geese, and ducks. We were told that other animals have been sighted there at other times. We also saw that they are in the process of restoring the habitat. I’m sure if we go there several months from now, we’ll see even more. Now that we know it’s there, I’m sure we’ll be back. These are just some of the pictures that I took of the Nature Center. If you’re looking for a respite from the bustle of city life, this is definitely a place to go.

playground near the North Park Village Nature Center
duck pond

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