Wednesday, January 5, 2011

To the Movies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Just this weekend I found that the Notebaert Nature Museum will be showing films from the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival on Saturdays and Sundays this winter for toddlers to about 8 years old. What fun -- a ride through the wintry city and a stop at the movies! The screenings are on Friday mornings at 9.45 am for the youngest children and Saturday mornings at 9.45 for 5-8 year old early risers.  The films look to be a good mix and admission gets you into the Museum for later if you wish. Shows begin late in January but it’s a good idea to get tickets early as seating is sparse.

Hmm, but how to get there on two wheels?  Check out the Good Routes page here to look for a good ride or to share one.

Some ways we go are:
From Humboldt Park or Logan Square going west I try to take little streets and eventually reach Belden or Webster streets going east. From Bucktown I follow Cortland or Webster and go north on Racine to Belden, which is quiet and all stop signs and lights from just west of De Paul all the way to the lake. Once at the Lake just turn north and coast up to the Nature Museum. The Belmont bus also runs east with room for two bikes or as many people as you can fit, and it stops right in front of the museum.

From Hyde Park (south) or Rogers Park (north) there’s the Lakefront Path. The LFP can be challenging in winter for family riding, but the Chainlink now has an update forum for riders that are curious about the condition of the trail, commented on by fellow winter cyclists. I rarely take the path myself; definitely look at the Active Trans info page or the  lakefront path information wiki.

From the South Loop I would take Peoria to Lake, cut along Wacker by the river on the sidewalk, and then go north on Wabash all the way to the Gold Coast. I cut east to State from Wabash as it disappears just by the Sofitel, then walk/ ride State or the sidewalk on Astor or Lakeshore through the Gold Coast to Lincoln Park. I ride in the park past the zoo and up to Fullerton and the Nature Museum. This route is mostly a quiet path through a busy area.

There are lots of good places for an emergency bathroom stop heading both east and north on these rides and of course the museum has plenty of bathrooms.
Goodies at Bake

Bake is good but hard to see without a big sign. It's on
the north side of North Ave near the Handlebar.
A winter ride is always fun when there are delicious hot drinks or a treat for a morning bite. Food and coffee is available at the Museum but it isn’t my favorite spot. Coming from the west, we stop early in the ride at Bake on 2246 W North Ave,  Floriole Bakery on 1220 W Webster, a quick jog from Belden, or try Sweet Mandy B’s next door.  Coming from the north, Bittersweet Bakery is at 1114 W Belmont. The Red Hen Bakery on 500 W Diversey (just north of the park/museum and about two blocks west of the giant Goethe statue) does breakfast, coffee and sandwiches. North Pond Cafe has fancy brunch on Sundays but it’s too fancy for kids!  These places take care of a morning treat, but for later I’d pack lunch and a snack so I don’t have to depend on the food in the Museum cafe. And a thermos of something hot and cheery can be a big help on a cold morning ride with kids. 

Bike parking is good at the Museum or along the park that surrounds it. You can bring your unsorted recycling to the bin out front. Don’t forget to bring some crumbs for the ducks and geese and walk around North Pond, which has one of the best views of the city and a playground. 

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