Reminiscing this weekend about our stop in Chicago. It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we visited the windy city.
There is so much to see and do in Chicago that we barely scratched the surface. We definitely need another stop there.
The nearest campgrounds for visiting Chicago are about an hour outside of town. We stayed in Joliet – home of the Joliet Correctional Facility where “Joliet” Jake Blues (John Belushi) served his time in the movie The Blues Brothers.
We spent two days touring the city. We like to grab a bus tour when in large cities. They are a great way to see an unfamiliar city. You get a great overview and lots of history.
We had to have some authentic Chicago style pizza, as well as a famous Chicago hotdog while in the city. Both were incredible.
Chicago is home to some world class museums. Most impressive is the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. It’s huge – the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.
Some of its exhibits include a full-size replica coal mine, a German U-505 submarine captured during World War II, a 3,500-square-foot model railroad, the first diesel-powered streamlined stainless-steel passenger train, and the Apollo 8 spacecraft that carried the first humans to orbit the Moon.
Apollo 8 Module
The story of the capture of the U-Boat was fascinating. In June of 1944, the US Navy captured the German submarine off the coast of Africa. It was the first enemy ship captured by the US since the War of 1812. During the war, the US captured 6 U-Boats.
The decision was made to prevent the Germans from learning that their submarine had been captured. The U-505 was towed to Bermuda and was renamed the USS Nemo. Nearly all of her equipment (including an Enigma message coder) was stripped out and studied by Allied engineers.
The crew was moved to Louisiana and placed in a POW camp and kept completely isolated from other prisoners. This was to prevent them from passing word that the U-505 had not been sunk but had been captured intact. The government did not inform the International Red Cross officials of the capture, and the crew’s family members were told by the German Navy that they had been assumed killed when the sub was sunk.
Here’s a film detailing the capture.
There were many planes on display, including a reproduction of the Wright Brothers first plane, the first privately operated Boeing aircraft and more.
The museum is simply too big to tour in one day. We didn’t even see half of it, and we were exhausted!
Can’t wait to be on the road again exploring and having new adventures.