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Summertime and the Livin’s Easy

CAM02690With the polar vortex far behind us and an unusually late start to the summer, we are enjoying the outdoors while we can! 

In addition to our regularly scheduled shopping trips, we took an afternoon to soak in the sunshine with the adorable and amazing animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo The weather was beautiful, and the animals were out in full force, taking in some rays.

We got very lucky and arrived just in time to see the seal show! Watching the trainers feed the happy seals as they splashed around the rocks and ate fish was a real treat. We were even a little jealous that they were enjoying the water on such a warm day!  CAM02697

After that, it was off to see the big cats. They were all lounging around on the rocks, beautiful and powerful as they slept the afternoon away. Next, we visited the small animal house. It was a hoot! We saw the cutest little meerkats, naked mole rats, and tiny tarsiers, jumping tree to tree in the dark. Sharing the same house were snakes, lizards and toads of all types.

CAM02695We wandered and saw the flamingos and gazed at the apes. It was almost as if we were kids again and were spending the day at camp! 

By the end of the trip we were all hot, tired, and ready for a nap. *grins*

Residents will need to rest up as we prepare for the next round of the activities planned for this summer. We are ready to take advantage of all the good weather the city has to offer!

Spreading the Holiday Cheer at Greenview

CAM01144This week marked an especially busy time here at Greenview Place.

In addition the hustle and bustle surrounding the anniversary party and the holidays, we added some especially sweet activities into the mix. After days of baking, constructing and decorating, the Greenview Place annual gingerbread house has been completed! The house is a beauty, modeled after our own building.

It features a rounded window front and candy roof with peanut butter cup forest. Residents decorated cut-out cookies to place around the house and used coconut around for snow while listening to Christmas carol classics.

The house will be displayed in the lobby at our Winter Wonderland party this week.  

Later in the week, the residents boarded the van for a trip about town to see the holiday lights. We passed the Lincoln Park Zoo, filled with colorful ZooLights.  Then, we headed down State Street to catch a glimpse of the Macy’s windows. After that, we circled around the city’s tree, Lucy, in Daley Plaza and saw the glow of the ChristkindlmarketCAM01138

Finally, we capped off the week by decorating Christmas cookies with the seventh and eighth graders of Saint Luke Academy.  Residents and kids worked together to create editable works of art in red, white and green frosting! The results were delicious.

Party animals – Greenview-style

Did you know there is a place in Chicago that has a tree that pre-dates the founding of the city? 

Before 1837?

It’s true, and it’s at the Lincoln Park ZooCAM00326

In addition to that old burr oak tree, the Lincoln Park is the country’s oldest free public zoo. Free! And it’s an amazing place. 

The zoo boasts nearly 1,250 animals, and is the largest zoo within the city limits.  Today, the zoo is home to a lion house, primate house, gorilla exhibit, animal hospital, as well as a penguin and seabird house, and a birds of prey habitat.

CAM00339The zoo got its start in 1868 when the Lincoln Park commissioners were gifted a pair of swans by New York’s Central Park board of commissioners. From there, a bear from the Philadelphia Zoo joined the swans, and the collection has been growing ever since.
 
In 1959, the zoo opened the nations’ first year-round children’s zoo. In 1964, the zoo designed an exhibit to show urban residents what life was like in rural areas

This afternoon, we had a great time at the zoo. Many of our group had been there previously with their children, and many commented on how much it has changed. CAM00347

We saw lots of animals: the lions, seals, cougars, leopards, and great apes.

It was a beautiful day with lots of sun and fun. We had such a good time that residents can’t wait to go back soon. 

Shopping therapy

Of the many conveniences offered at Greenview Place, some of our favorites involve taking the van out and about. Every other Monday, we head out for a shopping trip – or, as we call it, an afternoon of retail therapy and fresh air.

An isolated shot of a beautiful woman carrying shopping bagsThis week we are headed to the Addison Mall, where we’ll find stores like Target, Dollar Store, and the Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet. Our residents always enjoy going out and about in the community and past trips have included trips to Kmart, grocery stores, and craft stores. In fact, on the last trip residents helped break in the brand new Walmart Supercenter on Diversey.

Yowzah!

We wasted no time acclimating ourselves to the new store, and founds loads of deals and fun items. tango_face_smile_big

In addition this month’s shopping trip, we are also planning an outing to the Lincoln Park Zoo. You may recall our trip to the zoo’s neighbor the Lincoln Park Conservatory a few months ago. Well, later this month we are headed back to Lincoln Park to visit the 35-acre free city zoo.

We will finish off the month with a final shopping trip. So, stay tuned for an update and pictures from our zoo adventure next week!

From field to table, with a stop in between

IMG_20130318_142320Recently, we took at trip to the Lincoln Park Conservatory to view the Spring Flower Show. In addition to the orchids, azaleas, and hyacinth we planned to see, we were also greeted with plants of a different sort.   These plants were the kind you might want at your breakfast table. Sounds interesting, right? With spring planting going on at the family farms surrounding Chicago, and some people observing Earth Day, we thought it was an appropriate time to see the plants that bring us our food every day.

Do you enjoy fruit for breakfast? (Who doesn’t, right?) Well, as we wandered through the different rooms, we saw trees growing bananas, coconuts and mangos. The banana plant was very tall, with clusters of ripe yellow fruit growing near the top. Although it sure looked like a tree, it turns out that bananas actually grow from a flowering herb plant.

MP900341903And what breakfast would be complete without coffee? Not mine! Although the coffea plant is native to Africa and Asia, the Conservatory had a plant growing nicely. The “coffea” plant produces purple fruits called cherries; inside the cherries are two seeds. The seeds of that plant are what we know as coffee beans, and make the drink that we are all familiar with. IMG_20130318_142805

Maybe you are more the hot chocolate type? The Conservatory had that covered too, with beautiful cacao plants. Do you like tea with ginger? We spotted a specimen of red tower ginger – just gorgeous. And how about this? There were food-name plants, too. What do you think of: yellow lollipop plants, and red shrimp plants. But they were definitely not made of lollipop or shrimp!

We urban folks don’t always think about how our food gets from the fields to our tables. So, like us, take a moment to think about all the things the earth, and the things growing from it, do for us every day.

A spring in your step!

Did you know that Monday March 4th is Chicago’s Birthday? And even though it seems like winter might last forever here in Chicago, believe it or not, spring begins in two weeks!

Chicago sealTo help celebrate the change in seasons, celebrate some Chicago history, and ring in the beginning of spring, we’re planning a trip to the Lincoln Park Conservatory Spring Flower Show. The annual Spring Flower Show began January 26th; and we have a bus reserved for our trip on the afternoon of the 18th. Yippee!  DSCF0207

After many fun-filled trips to other local flower exhibits, such as the Fall Colors Trip to Morton Arboretum and the summer trip to The Garfield Park Conservatory, our residents requested that we plan our next trip to the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  The flower trips are always so popular and well attended that we decided a trip to see the spring blooms was most definitely in order.

DSCF0209When we visited Garfield Park, we were able to take some beautiful pictures of the azalea plants there. We’re thrilled because a special feature of the Lincoln Park show is the chance to see the direct descendants of the great azaleas that were part of the Columbian Exposition. And we all know that was the World’s Fair held in Chicago in 1893!

This year’s Spring Flower Show runs through May 12 at the Lincoln Park Conservatory located at 2391 N Stockton Dr.

The first day of spring is March 20th, so why not take a moment to welcome spring, and see a slice of Chicago’s History?

Arboretum Adventure

Monday, a group of us went on an adventure to the Morton Arboretum. As you can see, it was an absolutely perfect day.  The sky was clear, the sun was shining and we had a wonderful tour around the seventeen hundred acre nature musuem. The deservedly famous Arboretum boasts five hundred acres of plant collections and gardens and nine hundred acres of woodlands, prairie, meadows, lakes and streams. Our group was treated to the “All Aboard Tour,” where an Arboretum guide boarded our bus. Vinita, our most able guide, narrated an hour-long tour as we enjoyed the view.

We were all ears as Vinita told us about the history of the museum.  We learned of the arboretum’s visionary founder, Joy Morton who, in 1922, founded the arboretum as an oasis to nurture trees, plants, and shrubs to grow. 

We were so lucky to have gone at this part of the season. It was a treat for the eyes. We started the tour with a drive around Meadow Lake, where we saw dazzling displays of autumn foliage.  There were beautiful oak trees turning rich shades of orange and red; the gingko tree’s fan shaped leaves were a brilliant shade of yellow.  One of the most spectacular views was found in the maple grove – the trees formed a wonderful golden canopy as we drove through!  Vinita was happy to let us know that it was a peak week for the maples. I guess so!

As we headed back home, many of us commented how marvelous it was to enjoy the beauty of the trees all around us. Helen and Jane exclaimed, “We love this!”

Even if you don’t have the time to visit the Arboretum this season, don’t miss the chance to see the beauty of autumn all around you.  Take a walk, look up, and enjoy the colors of the season.

We did!

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