We were so excited to get to visit with one of my mom's very good friends, Ellen! We met her at yet another Barnes and Noble in Chicago, and it was so nice to catch up! I love sharing my boys with people that have been in our lives for a long time :)
After lunch we headed to Skokie to check out The Exploritorium! I have always heard of it, but never thought much about it. WELL! That was a big mistake--it is now on our To Do list every time we are in town! It's only $3 for admission, and Jackson was kept busy for quite a while! This picture above is my attempt at using the panoramic feature on my camera. I think it actually worked out ok! Basically, there is one large room broken up into different areas. There is a huge water play area, dress-up, cars/trains, magnets, a huge Lite-Brite board, a toddler area, a climbing wall, some balance beams, and a huge area of tunnels, slides, and climbing area. There is a gate separating the entrance foyer form from the actual play area, so the kids are actually enclosed the whole time. You can't quite see everywhere from one spot, but it's not bad for keeping track of kids.
Jackson spent the majority of his time at the water play area. There are little smocks for them to wear and hand dryers for when they are all finished. There were many little nets and tons of squirty toys to fish out of the water table. There was even a locks system to open and close. I immediately bought some squirties when we got home and was thrilled to find little nets in the $1 section of Target! They are all set in my bucket for pool toys for this summer :)
Still fishing :)
Mimi and Graham hanging out! Graham's shirt says "Grandma's Cozy Cabin." Jackson had quite a few Grandma and Grandpa outfits that I'm trying to get use out of for Graham too!
Checking out the magnet table
Giant Lite Brite!
He made a "J!"
The dress-up area scenery was pretty neat. There were several of these large panels, and they rotated on something like the spine of a book so the kids could flip between them. The selection of actual dress-up clothes was a little disappointing, but I can only imagine how hard of a spot that is to keep fully stocked. Jackson found a teeny camo jacket to wear :)
The weather finally warmed up a bit, so after another visit to Nan, we stopped at the playground that is shaped like a pirate ship near her house before meeting Bampa for dinner at Ted's Montana Grill. This has become one of our favorite restaurants to visit when we are home. The food is yummy, but they also don't cram as many tables as possible into the dining room, so I don't feel like we are bothering anyone with high chairs, two kids, stuff, etc.
Graham was SO happy eating on this WHOLE trip!
Jackson was really into the Wikki Sticks Ted's brings kids. This was the first time they held his attention, and it was a nice change from the coloring pages most restaurants have (although those held his interest for longer this trip too).
Jackson became OBSESSED with the American flag on this trip. He was ECSTATIC to have a little flag in his dinner when it came to the table! One happy little boy :)