Our second idea was to go up to Chicago and see all the Christmasy stuff downtown. But then Lauren had a better idea: Legoland, out in Schaumburg, plus do a little shopping at Ikea and Trader Joe's, which are a big deal to those of us living in the hinterlands.
The first room at Legoland was a Chicago cityscape, which as you can see, had my girls fascinated and excited. The level of detail was great--really beautiful work. The cityscape also included the lights gradually dimming and brightening to show us night and day in Chicago. I was hoping for icy winds whipping through the Lego city, with mingled scents of exhaust and pizza wafting about.
Not to worry, there were plenty more activities for the kids, including an indoor playground, a couple different rides, and a lot of opportunities to build with Legos. There was a track with a challenge to build a vehicle that could jump off the ramp and hit a target. I spent a lot of time, made many test runs, and did not, ultimately, solve the design challenge. A seven-year-old may have just walked up, dropped a giant wheel, and hit the target on the first try.
Lauren, the physicist, gave up on the car challenge before I did with similar success rates, but she went on to put her time to better use: