Showing posts from January, 2015

John Hancock Center Observatory

When tourists plan to visit Chicago, they often want to visit the Willis Tower since it's the tallest building in Chicago. Sadly it lost its tallest building in the world title back in 1998. And really I have a hard time calling it the Willis Tower. Just like I sometimes still slip and say Comisky Park when referring to the ball park where the White Sox play.

Anyway, being the tallest in the city, the Willis Tower gets all the attention, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret...there's another that's just as spectacular. The views are probably even a little better. I admit I have not yet tried out the Ledge  at Willis Tower and maybe that experience will make me sing its praises, but on our first visit to the John Hancock Observatory, I thought to myself "Why have I been going to the Sears Tower all these years when this place is so awesome?"

The observation deck is on floor 94 and allows for spectacular views of the city and the shoreline and the lak…

Myer's Castle: Dyer, Indiana

Meyer's Castle is tucked away just off of busy U.S. 30 in Dyer, Indiana, a complete escape back to a different time. This stunning estate modeled after a castle in Scotland was built in the late 1920's and today serves as a restaurant, banquet hall and wedding venue. I've been there many times to dine and also for a wedding and it provides a beautiful, nostalgic, romantic background. Our most recent visit was on Thanksgiving when they opened their banquet room to the public for a Thanksgiving buffet. My husband worked that day and I was planning to cook a big dinner the following day, so I thought I'd take the kids out for a nice dinner.

I've also made several visits to the Argentine Rodizio's Steakhouse, which is fabulous, offering a one-price multi-course meal including an abundance of meats brought out on swords and sliced at your table. The food is always wonderful and the venue makes a experience just that more special. A nightclub and lounge is also open …

Key Lime Cove Has Cure for the Winter Blues

These arctic temps, piles of snow and howling winds getting you down? Go to the tropics without leaving the Midwest at Key Lime Cove in Gurnee, Illinois. The indoor water park remains at 84 degrees all year long regardless of how brutal it gets outside.

With charming decor that transports you to the Florida Keys, the cheery theme continues throughout the entire venue. In our rooms, the bedspreads were bright and flowery. The artwork represents somewhere more sunny and sandy. The gift and snack shops make you feel like you are in a touristy town rather than a couple blocks off an icy interstate.

We dined at the Crazy Toucan where there were tropical drinks for the grown-ups and the kids and a menu full of seafood and spicy entrees along with some classic kid fare. There's also a killer spa that is a great way to cap off a relaxing weekend. I wasn't able to squeeze in a spa stop on this visit, but on my previous visit I stopped in for a pedicure and I totally recommend planning …

Kentucky Down Under: Cave City, Kentucky

One of my favorite attractions in all our years of traveling has been to Kentucky Down Under, an Australian themed animal park. You can stroll through the Outback Walkabout where kangaroos lounge beneath trees and you have a chance to pet them. You can hand feed exotic birds in the Walk-in Aviaries. Additional shows let you get up close to more creatures. In the Woolshed area are demonstrations on sheep herding, cow milking and sheep sheering. On one of our trips, my husband got to join the demo and milk a cow. Kids can also do gem mining and there's also the Onyx Cave on the grounds that is open for tours. My kids really enjoy visiting and it's a cool way to get a glimpse of life in Australia while still here in the states. For more info, visit

The park is open year round and conveniently located right along I-65 at exit 58 in Horse Cave, Kentucky.