Historic spacecraft, fragments of far away worlds, and maps of the galaxy make outer space seem completely within reach. That's the magic of The Adler Planetarium. From the moment visitors pass through the Clark Family Welcome Gallery?a portal of aluminum tubing, fabric, and video projections?they embark on a journey through space, time, and imagination.
Chicago might be far from any ocean, but that obstacle didn't stop it from pioneering the first permanent inland saltwater aquarium in the country. Thanks to civic leader John G. Shedd’s drive and contribution of $3 million paid for nearly a million gallons of seawater transported by rail from Florida’s coast, by 1930 the city hosted exhibits large enough to accommodate a wide variety of marine species–sea mammals as well as fish.
Today, Shedd’s dream continues to thrive with the aquarium’s scores of undersea creatures—from sharks and dolphins to vibrant sea cucumbers—showcased in educational, eye-catching exhibits. The permanent collection spirits visitors from the Great Lakes to the Amazon River to the waters of the Arctic Circle. The resident critters often share their turf with temporary guests such as sea jellies and stingrays, who fill dramatic special exhibits.
The most exciting animal encounters, however, may come via the year-round aquatic show. Trainers demonstrate the natural behaviors of sea lions, dolphins, and even beluga whales. They have some four-legged company, too: a trio of rescue dogs often appear alongside their finned adoptive family, demonstrating how learning through positive reinforcement transcends boundaries between species.
Beginners and seasoned yogis alike are welcome at 105F - Bikram Yoga Chicago. Here, instructors lead classes that are designed to lure students to their limits, providing a demanding physical challenge for all skill and fitness levels. Each of the three studio locations contains a practice room that is heated to 105 degrees with 40%?45% humidity, creating a sweat-inducing, tropical setting that aids practicers by loosening their muscles as they sink into each stretch.
The 90-minute classes all follow the same sequence: two breathing exercises and 26 standing and seated asanas, which use deep twists and bends to methodically work organ systems and muscle groups throughout the entire body. Instructors slowly guide students into poses and ensure that they can perform each asana at a level that safely challenges their limits. Continued practice can help yogis hone their strength and endurance while also learning to maintain a greater sense of focus and mind-body awareness, even in the face of physical distractions like another student's Sudoku puzzle back tattoo.
Yes, Yoga Is a Sport
And Gianna Purcell is the reigning champion. Follow her journey to the top from her very first class at 105F in Chicago.
Today, millions of people live and thrive among the streets and skyscrapers of Chicago, but at one time the bustling metropolis had only one resident?namely, the city's apocryphal, somewhat legendary founder, Jean Baptist Point DuSable. A Haitian of French and African descent, DuSable was the first of Chicago's great African Americans, a company that includes the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington. In one of the DuSable Museum's standing exhibits, the Thomas Miller mosaics, portraits of DuSable and Washington peer out along with eight of the founding members of the museum?a constellation of lodestars reminding visitors to maintain Chicago's diverse heritage.
While the mosaics incorporate the museum's own story, other exhibits examine African American achievements of all kinds. Red, White, Blue & Black, for instance, examines the contributions of black men and women in the armed forces. In A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story, visitors explore the nuances of the momentous campaign through memorabilia and more than 150 mayoral artifacts. An animatronic likeness of Mayor Washington himself even steps in to relay stories and first-hand accounts made possible by animatronic robots' ability to travel through time. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts musical performance, film festivals, and book signings that introduce members to more aspects of African American history, including the scholars who continue to uncover it.
The exposed-brick walls of Iron Cycles speak to the straightforwardness of its employees, who prefer to focus on riding, not attitude. This judgment-free approach leads to unbiased treatment for every cycle. The staffers treat well-worn heirlooms with the same degree of care and dignity as they do snazzy titanium builds or a custom-crafted commuter. Perhaps their respect for bike diversity stems in part from their disparate cycling backgrounds: founder Brandon is an off-road racer, Ben was a bike messenger, and Steve has more than 25 years of both pedaling and mechanic experience.
Regardless of the bike brand or model, each of the shop’s services adheres to the mission of safer, savvier trips. Repairs address basic adjustments as well as complete overhauls, furnishing customers with new saddles, kickstands, and even handmade tires imported from overseas. The staffers oversee fitting sessions that fine-tune parts to suit the bike's function and the owner's body type. They can also build custom cycles that correspond to clients' goals, whether they want a frame that can hit high speeds or wheels that can store several decks of playing cards at once.
"Life takes life out of you. Yoga puts it back." Amy Treciokas, founder of Yoga Now, lives by these words. In high school, Treciokas—already a fledgling yoga practitioner—was drawn to the savasana relaxation pose because it "was a great time for a nap." After being reintroduced to yoga as an adult, she truly fell in love. A consuming passion for the energizing and stress-relieving practice of yoga led her to spend three years in India to learn at the feet of yogis in Mysore, an intensive period of study that helped her to obtain authorization to teach Ashtanga yoga. Not long after she was authorized, Treciokas founded Yoga Now.
Yoga Now's studio evidences a commitment to sustainable-living practices, including bamboo flooring, eco-friendly insulation, and energy-efficient lighting powered by giant hamster wheels. Students practice yoga on rubber mats and sustainable cork blocks, or they relax their muscles by lounging in the complimentary sauna and steam room or indulging in one of nine massage modalities that are available seven days a week. An extensive team of teachers and healers helps to fill out a class schedule that spans from early morning to night.