Archive for the ‘Excursions’ Category

Brookfield Zoo

October 25th, 2022 Comments off

I thought it would be fun to visit Brookfield Zoo on our anniversary Sunday (10/23) since it’s been six years since our last visit. I was wrong. So very very wrong. The parking lot was filling up quickly when we arrived which was before the zoo even opened. We paid $15 for parking and had free passes I got from the library. We waited in the car until we saw the huge line start moving and even then we were caught in this massive crowd trying to get into the zoo. From there we went straight to the giraffe area before it got too crowded.

To get away from all the people we explored the relatively deserted nature area around swan lake. I’d say that’s the most peaceful area of the zoo hands down.

We avoided going into most exhibit buildings except for the penguins because I cannot pass up the opportunity to see them!

This photo didn’t come out great but makes me laugh.

We didn’t get to see any tigers which was disappointing, but the lions were very photogenic!

Overall we were only at the zoo for two hours before leaving because the crowds just kept increasing. You should have seen the line of cars waiting to get in at noon! It was a beautiful day out and they were doing Boo at the Zoo (lots of kids in costumes) which was a recipe for overcrowding. I get the feeling they don’t limit how many people they let in either. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people there before, and I hope to never again.

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Sonny Acres & Ghoulish Homes

October 24th, 2022 Comments off

Late morning Saturday (10/22) we decided to make our annual visit to Sonny Acres, and it was crazy busy. So much so that we ended up parking on the west side of the farm which we’ve never had to do before.

We made our way over to the food area and I was shocked that they had raised the prices of their apple cider donuts once again. Last year they were $2.50 each and now they are $3. Where does it end? They already doubled the price of their haunted hayrides from $10 to $20.

Well, we people watched for awhile and decided to get donuts elsewhere. I called over to a local bakery but they were all out so we decided we’d try Costco. Well, we happened to be right in the vicinity of a Beef Shack, so we stopped there for lunch first. It was a nice day so we ate outside and then grabbed a dozen apple cider donuts from Costco for $8.50.

Later that evening we did the second half of the Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour in St. Charles (there were so many houses on the list this year we split the list in two and did the first half on 10/15). It was ok, but there were too many new houses participating with underwhelming decorations. I feel like if you’re not going all out then maybe a decorating contest isn’t for you. I dunno, I feel burnt out on all the previously fun fall activities we’d do. I don’t know if it’s the repetition, or that they seem to get more boring every year or what, but I think we’ll still go see houses but not bother with Scarecrow Fest or Sonny Acres anymore.

Categories: Excursions, Food Tags:

BBQ Scarecrows

October 10th, 2022 Comments off

I think we finally found our go-to BBQ place! Finally, after 17 years! I mean, Smoque in the city is amazing, but it’s just too far when the craving hits. I recently read about a place called Route 38 BBQ which is less than twenty minutes away, so we decided to give it a try on Saturday (10/08). Not only is it cheaper than Smoque (we got a meal of double meat plus mac & cheese, coleslaw, cornbread, and mashed potatos for $25 whereas a comparable meal at Smoque would run closer to $50), but dare I say their beef brisket tastes better. It’s so good you don’t have to drown it in sauce. Winner, winner, brisket dinner! (No photos were taken because we greedily ate everything up).

Sunday (10/09) we visited St. Charles for their annaul Scarecrow Fest. This may be the last time. Not only were the number of scarecrows shockingly low, but everything was just blah. I have lost my enthusiasm for the craft booths too, and the food vendors are ridiculous. The corn dog booth had a sign that read “Corn Dogs w/ free fries” but when we asked how much they were the girl goes “$5 for the corn dog and $10 for a corn dog with fries”. Ummm… I don’t think they know what free means! Needless to say, after a disappointing half hour of walking around we went to Atlas Chicken Shack in nearby Geneva to grab some rice balls that we took home to eat.

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River Trail Nature Center

September 30th, 2022 Comments off

We passed River Trail Nature Center on our way to ABT on Sunday (09/25), so after ordering our refrigerator we decided to explore it before heading home.

(Not my photo above)

They have an apiary on site, which is basically a bunch of bee hives. In addition, they have lots of bird feeders around the property where we saw chipmunks and nuthatches, none of which my phone was able to capture well. There were some cool exhibits inside too.

We are planning to go back in the summer to explore the nature trails, and I’ll bring my camera to get some bird shots. Hopefully by then I’ll have a new mirrorless Canon.

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August Nature Excursions

August 30th, 2022 Comments off

We typically visit nature spaces on the weekends in the mornings before it gets too warm, but on Wednesday (08/17) we decided to go for an evening walk at the park. We came across this interesting feather that I later learned once belonged to a Northern Flicker, which is a type of woodpecker.

I hope to see the actual bird one day! They seem to be just as elusive as Blue Jays. I hear them often, but rarely ever see them.

Speaking of elusive, it’s not often we’ll see a dragonfly that isn’t zipping around, but one decided to hang out right by our front door.

We’ve never seen this particular color before. It’s a Emperor Dragonfly.

Saturday (08/27) we visited Mount Saint Mary Park in St. Charles. We’ve been there once before I believe, but it’s been many years. I read they were wrapping up their annual Sculpture in the Park event so I wanted to check it out.

In addition to all the cool sculptures, we saw a lot of wildlife including ducks, pigeons, finches, a hummingbird, and this awesome bird of prey that is either a Red-Shouldered Hawk, or an Osprey.

My bird app says it’s an Osprey (based off the photo), but around the same time I was using it to listen to bird calls and it identified a Red-Shouldered Hawk, so I’m not sure which it was, but it was cool to watch. It even dove and caught a fish at one point, although I was unable to catch that on my camera.

After the park and a trip to a nearby record store (more in another entry about that), we ended up at Stone Creek Miniature Golf in Geneva.

We’ve been there years ago in the evening but I don’t think we’ve ever played during the day. It was perfect weather-wise and it wasn’t too crowded either. Pictures of You by The Cure was playing over their speakers when we arrived which I thought was cool.

Although it wasn’t crowded, there was a large group playing ahead of us, so we were forced to really take our time on each hole as we’d be waiting for our turn at the next one anyway. It took us an hour to play all 18 holes and I’m thankful for that delay. Otherwise we likely would have blown through the course much quicker.

Despite Joe’s teasing about beating me, I actually won by two points!

If it wasn’t for Joe’s recent oral surgery, and having to be careful about what he was eating, we would have stopped somewhere for food, but we ended up going home after golfing. We were away from the house for five hours as it was, so Wookie was happy we didn’t stay out any longer.

Categories: Animals, Excursions, Fun & Games Tags: