f you've lived in Chicago for a while, you've no doubt discovered that even the most beautiful skyline can get to be a little "same old, same old" when you look at it the same way.
If you've lived in Chicago for a while, you've no doubt discovered that even the most beautiful skyline can get to be a little "same old, same old" when you look at it the same way.
If you're in the mood for a little adventure-and your budget allows-consider a tour with Rotor Zen Helicopters to change your perspective. Flights take off from Midway Airport's executive terminal and travel all the way up to Lincoln Park and through downtown in just 30 minutes. Between the speed and the absolutely stunning views, you might be tempted to leave Lakeshore Drive's congestion behind forever.
True daredevils will want to take advantage of the option to have the doors removed (a perk for this claustrophobic flyer) and have truly unobstructed views of all the city sights.
You'll see all the touristy highlights, from Adler Planetarium to Wrigley Field to Lincoln Park Zoo-although the view from a couple thousand feet up is a bit different. You won't soon forget the time you looked down on the John Hancock Building!
If you're scared of heights or flying, this probably isn't the trip for you, but if you've ever wanted to see Willis Tower's Skydeck from the outside, it's a must-do. Rotor Zen doesn't have an age limit for helicopter tours, but kids must be able to sit in their own seat and follow safety instructions (roughly 5 and up). They'll love the oversized headsets that let them listen to air traffic control chatter-and the little button that allows them to speak to the pilot. For kids who have an interest in aviation, pilots can provide a complimentary educational experience after the flight, opening up panels and giving some explanation on how helicopters work.
At $199, it's definitely a splurge, but if you have a kid who's obsessed with flying, it could be worth it. At the very least, it will put some "Wow" back into the Windy City for years to come.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.