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Partly to celebrate our 40th Anniversary, July 14-18th we will take Amtrak from Newton, KS to Chicago to spend a few days seeing the sites. Scheduled are visits to museums, landmarks, boat ride, perhaps a ballgame. Wifey has suggested that one day could be dedicated to seeing GR layouts/stores/exhibits. Do any of you have suggestions?

Thanks,
JimC.
 

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Jim, the Museum of Science and Industry is a must see. The recently built HO layout will take your attenton quite some time. The restored Silver Streak Pioneer Zephyr is there for tours as well as other RR memorabilia. The rest of the museum is wonderful as well. If you try to take a train to the museum, you'll have to walk for blocks and blocks. Cab fare would be many $$$$$$.

http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits

Tom Ruby could add some additional thoughts on the Botanical Garden RR.
 

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The Museum of science in chicago is VERY cool.

Pioneer Zephyr (in the basement)
http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/pioneer-zephyr/

The train area of the museum has the HO layout go from daylight to nighttime automatically (with lights turning on).
http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/the-great-train-story/

They also have this engine there, I think theres some other engines on display but I dont remember (been a few years)
http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/transportation-gallery/the-exhibit/999-steam-locomotive/

Off Topic:
They even have the U505 Uboat right on premise,

If you saw the movie U-571 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141926/

This is one of the US captured german u-boats they where talking about with the engima code machine onboard.
Its right in the middle of the museum.

http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/u-505/story/the-first-exhibition/a-secret-made-public/

One of my fav places in chicago

Andrew
 

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Boy did I goof that:D
 

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And don't forget real "Chicago Style Pizza."
 

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Jim,
First off I hope you and Suzie have a greatr trip.
As a disclaimer let me say that I left Chicago in 1984 and so much has changed since then. But some of the things I believe are still there for enjoying don't involve trains except for one or two are....
Navy Pier
Wendella Boat tours
Chi Sox game or better yet a Cubbies game at Wrigley.
Goose Island
Old Town has The Second City
Lincoln Park Zoo
Brookfield Zoo
Morton Arboretum
Cantigney War Memorial
Adler Planitarium
Shed Aquarium
Field Museum of Natural History
Gino's East for Pizza
Giordanno's for Stuffed Pizza
Pullman Museum on the Southside (hate to say it but visit in daytime only sorry but.....)
Portillo's Hot Dogs
Dianna's in Greek Town
China Town
Miracle Mile (1 N Michigan Ave)
Hamburger Hamlet
Art Museum
Take a ride on the "L"
Merchandise Mart
Oak Brook Shopping Center (Actually the very first shopping mall in the country)
Yorktown Mall is just down the road and was the first indoor mall.
Sears Tower (or whatever they are calling it today)
Water tower Place (and the tower too)I would say Marshal Fields on State St. but that's owned by Macy's now:mad:
Hancock Center
Billy Goat Tavern (chee burger chee burger! coke! no pepsi!)
Grant Park
The Pump Room
Millers Pub
The Italian Village
Buckingham Fountain
If I think of anything else I'll post it
 

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Jim, someone already mentioned the Illinois Railway Museum in Union Il, it is worth the trip, check out the website and you will see what it is about, I could spend a week there and never get to it all or ride everything, great time, have fun and sorry we will miss ya

tom h
 

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I second (or 3rd) the IRM visit. A car would be a necessity as METRA doesn't get within 20 miles of the place. You might also think about a ride on the South Shore -- the country's last interurban.
 

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Yes, the Rochelle viewing pavillion is a fanstastic place to spend a few hours if you have the time. Trains both directions on both sides of the pavillion. A whole bunch of train nutz are there most of the time. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif
 

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Idea list # 1A.

Do you like streetcars and interurbans? There is a lot in a 50 mile radius. Take a circle tour starting at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, for a look at classic Midwestern interurban equipment.

Go fifteen minutes West to the Illinois railway museum, ( There you can ride on the restored path of the old Elgin and Belvedere interurban).

Then go northeast to East Troy, WI for a trolley ride on a remnant of the Milwaukee Electric. (It now terminates at a delightful country store/restaurant).

Go East to Kenosha for a trip on their city streetcar system and ride the PCC cars.

Then travel back south to the Chicago loop for a ride on the “L”. ( The Chicago architectural Society has a free Architecture tour on the loop elevated on Saturday am’s)

And three blocks way it the terminal of the South Shore, billed as America’s last interurban. Take it to South Band, or to the Indiana Dunes/

cheers
 

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Notwithstanding the typos ( Sorry, South Bend) I should not forget that 9 mi. NE of the IRM is the St. Aubin (tree) nursery and hobby shop. Check the hours. Always worth the drive, I say.

cheers
 

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I would definetly recommend a ride on the 'El'. We travelled on the Brown line right around the loop and then out to Kimball. The loop is brilliant whilst the line north west of the city provides some really interesting views of the suburbs from an interesting angle, the backs of buildings rather than the front. It gives some great ideas for modelling townscapes. Then on the return there are some great views of the city skyline.

Tim
 

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Idea List # 1B :

If you are not driving a car, take the train around town, starting at the old C&NW/metra terminal:

On the “UP West line” you can go West to Elmhurst. It is a good train watching place, and also the home of the legendary Al’s Hobby Shop. Al's doesn't display much much G scale, but it is fun and has so much else that G gaugers need:
http://www.alshobbyshop.com/store/index.asp

After dinner, take the UP North line you can ride to the Highland Park area and get off at Ravinia Park. Not G related of course:

http://www.ravinia.org/

You can also take the same train to see G Gauge trains at the Botanic Garden, as Torby said, and for train/bus/details, see http://www.chicagobotanic.org/
 

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Posted By Tom Leaton on 05/31/2008 7:29 AM
Idea List # 1B :
If you are not driving a car, take the train around town, starting at the old C&NW/metra terminal:
On the “UP West line” you can go West to Elmhurst. It is a good train watching place, and also the home of the legendary Al’s Hobby Shop. Al's doesn't display much much G scale, but it is fun and has so much else that G gaugers need:
http://www.alshobbyshop.com/store/index.asp
After dinner, take the UP North line you can ride to the Highland Park area and get off at Ravinia Park. Not G related of course:
http://www.ravinia.org/
You can also take the same train to see G Gauge trains at the Botanic Garden, as Torby said, and for train/bus/details, see http://www.chicagobotanic.org/





What a great idea to visit Elmhurst IL. That was my home town. The station is on the Northside of the tracks on First Ave between York Rd and Addison Street.The trains do make a steady passing thru Elmhurst too. Al's really brigns back memories. Spent many a day there growing up. There's now a Lou Malnati's Pizzaria on Park Ave which is the street on the southside of the tracks. There is a pedestrian tunnel under the tracks for a safe crossing. Two Brothers form Italy is just down the street from them and they have been there for 30 yrs now. Good food if I remember correctly. Then there's the Pizza Palace whivh, if I remember correctly is right next door to Al's. They have been there for.......well before I was born. It's a walk up York Rd but if you wnat a real taste of Nostalgia head to Hamburger Heaven. SE corner of York and North Ave. There are some real nice shops on York Rd Downtown just North of the station. I wish I could remember if the Walgreen's there reinstalled the counter and tables. That was always a treat. Infact the Lou Malnatis is in what I think used to be the Rexall Drug store on the corner of Park and York. You might even be able to catch a show at the old York Theatre. Lizzadro Museum Of Lapidary Art is a couple blocks from the station at Wilder Park. There were also some bneautiful walking gardens at Wilder that Suzie might like

Nice city just wasn't for me. Actually the cost of living there was really high. In the last 10 years homes sell close to the 1,000,000.00 range and then most folks tear'em down and build a new one. All of my family is gone from there now and most of my friends as well. There is one place if you want to take a cab to I would. Just say Hello for me. It's Jack and Dave's Silverado Grill. Located on Spring Rd about a mile from the station downtown. I've known Jack and Dave for now near 26 years. Thay have a great little place and it also just gappens to back up to the Ilinois Central line that runs through the city.

I hope you make the trip on the train. It's just about 30 minutes or so from Union Station Downtown Chicago to the stop there. You can actually take the train out to Geneva IL. That is a landmark town as well. Mill Race Inn is the place to visit out there. It's located on the Fox Riverand I think it's just South of the station there in Geneva.

You could also make the trip to Blue Island and see the birth place of the legendary JJ./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif Actually his home wasn't far from the Vermont Street Station there. I'm not sure who operates the line now but that used to be all Rock Island. There was also a stop for the IC commuter lines right there. Infact Blue Island is also when my Mother is from. Her Cousin married a gentleman that owned a place called Pete and Paul's Taven on Vermont Street accross the street from the IC stop. Actually it was the Terminus for the line. Too bad it's not August 14th. I think there is still an event called the Feast of St. Donatus. It was a huge Italian style carnival that was alway a treat to go to. It was also the place for our huge family reunions while growing up.

Good luck deciding what to do. Hehehe

Man this just made me a bit home sick. Funny thing, visiting there is like going back to Atlanta. Can't wait to get back there and with-in 2-3 days the 3-6 million people that congest the roads, etc remind me why I moved away in the first place.
 
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