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Chicago Spire

Chicago Spire

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Outside interest: Taking advantage of a Chicago summerComments July 16, 2009 BY MIKE THOMAS Staff ReporterYou might not have realized it until recently, what with some cooler-than-usual temperatures in June and early July, but summer is here.And more quickly than you think, it'll be gone -- replaced once again by gray skies and frigid temps and seasonal affective disorder.

� Click to enlarge imageKids and adults enjoy flying kites at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

(File)PHOTO GALLERYSummer fun in ChicagoSo if you feel like taking full advantage of the great outdoors while it's still possible to do so without donning an 800-fill goose-down parka, here are some options to consider.Explore natureEspecially if you live in the concrete jungle, tromping through an overabundance of vibrant, verdant foliage every now and then is good for the soul.

Both of those things are readily available not far outside the city at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and the Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

Each expansive nature preserve houses a multitude of exotic and not-so-exotic trees, plants, flowers and wildlife.

Each hosts concerts featuring acts that appeal to a wide range of ages.

The arboretum offers hiking trails through its woodlands, wetlands and prairies.

And at Chicago Botanic, whose rose garden is now in full bloom, there's a farmers' market on the first and third Sunday of every month, June through October.Chicago Botanic Garden 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (847) 835-5440, Price: Free, though parking is $20.Morton Arboretum 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle (630) 968-0074, Price: $11 adults, $10 for those 65 and older, $8 kids age 2-17, discounted Wednesdays, members free.Go jumpIf you can avoid psyching yourself out long enough to make it through pre-jump instruction, pulling on a jumpsuit, strapping on a professionally packed parachute, climbing through clouds in a noisy propeller plane and peering through an open hatch into oblivion from many thousands of feet up, you might actually dig the adrenaline-spiking experience that follows: tumbling (for newbies, strapped to a seasoned instructor) through thin air, briefly free-falling at 120 miles per hour as your cheeks and gums flap in the rushing wind, and ultimately (if all goes well -- and statistics say it should) floating feather-like in rejuvenating silence toward terra firma below.

Sure, it's risky.

But so are lots of things -- like driving to work in the morning.

Chicagoland Skydiving Center 12637 U.S.

Route 30 West, Hinckley (800) 404-JUMP, Price (tandem jumps): from $169.99 to $279.99 depending on altitude.

Video and/or still photos of jump from $89-109.Skydive Chicago 3215 E.

1969th Rd., Ottawa (815) 433-0000, Price: $209 (walk-in rate -- cheaper on Tuesdays, your birthday, with group rate or if booked on Internet), plus $119 extra for edited video and still photos of your jump.Catch a flickAs drive-in mavens will attest, there's something about watching films on a massive screen under the moon and stars (and possibly some rain clouds, depending on the night) that makes even mediocre fare somehow more palatable.

Maybe it's the fact that you're not trapped in a sold-out crucible with nowhere to move should the morons behind you begin talking to the talkie or obnoxiously munching nachos or sucking face like high school horndogs.Maybe it's that, in the absence of certain unbearable outdoor annoyances such as biting bugs, screaming sirens and driving sleet, some of life's pleasures are simply better when experienced in the wide-open.

Dining, swimming, drinking, coupling.

If you haven't tried it yet -- and if you're not too finicky about seating comfort, perfect sightlines or pristine audio -- moviegoing could be one of them.

Check out "Duck Soup" on July 21 and see what you think.Chicago Outdoor Film Festival Butler Field in Grant Park, Lake Shore Drive and Monroe Films shown at sunset on Tuesdays from July 14 to Aug.


Times and films subject to change.

(312) 744-3315 Price: FreeCruise the townMany city-dwellers rarely look up.

Straight-ahead or glumly downward, but rarely up.And that's a shame, because no matter how long you've lived in or around Chicago, you'll never fully appreciate its majesty or beauty until you have a good gander at the eye-popping architecture that has helped make Daleyburg one of the world's (certainly the country's) most popular tourist destinations.Among the best ways to appreciate said majesty and beauty is to float down the Chicago River on the deck of a big boat as a trained docent (tour guide) narrates your journey with colorful tidbits about classic historical structures -- and some (like the still unbuilt Chicago Spire) yet to come.

Chances are it'll give you a fresh perspective on a familiar place or, at the very least, impress your out-of-town guests.

The view alone, as you glide through a man-made canyon of glass, steel and concrete, is simply spectacular.Chicago Architecture Foundation Tickets at (800) 982-2787 or, Dock location southeast corner of Michigan Ave.

Bridge at Wacker Dr.

Look for blue awning at stairway entrance.

Price: $28/person (Monday-Friday), $32/person (Saturday, Sunday and holidays)Chicago Line Cruises 465 N.

McClurg (312) 527-1977, Dock location at North Pier Docks, just south of Illinois St.

and McClurg in River East.

Price: $36/person adults, $31 seniors, $21 kids age 7-18.Wendella Boats 400 N.

Michigan Ave.

(at the Wrigley Building) (312) 337-1446, Price: $22 adults, $20 seniors 65 and older, $11 kids 11 and under, infants and toddlers under age three free.,HOF-News-EasySum16.article
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