If you’re going to be one of the 40 million people who visit Chicago each year – be an informed guest. These 6 facts will make you know some of the surprising Chicago “firsts” and make you trip more relaxing (see fact #6).
1. Some Like It High! Chicago brought a staple of amusement parks and carnivals everywhere into existence. The first Ferris wheel welcomed its first brave riders at the World’s Air in 1893. At 264 feet is was a tall feat of engineering. Interestingly, today’s Chicago Ferris wheel – the one at Navy Pier — is reaching new heights for this year’s 60-year centennial of the Pier. It’s will check in at 196 feet – still 68 feet short of the very first, even Ferris wheel.
2. Stars In Your Eyes? The stars may be shopping on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, but Chicago was the city that put stars in everyone’s eyes. The Western Hemisphere’s first planetarium, the Adler Planetarium. Today, it holds space science exhibitions, a collection of antique scientific gear, three theaters and the Doane Observatory where the public can still see the stars (and planets and galaxies far, far away) up-close.
3. Gravity Can’t Get You Down. Or, change your direction in the case of the Chicago River. It’s the only river in the world that flows backwards. It’s flow was reversed by the Sanitary District of Chicago in 1900. It’s also green for Saint Patrick’s Day. Go figure – the green tint is created with orange powder!
4. Slipped a Mickey? That’s another Chicago fact. Michael Finn, a Chicago bartender from 1896 to 1903, is said to have used the term to describe his “habit” of slipping drugs into customer’s drinks. The drugs knocked them out and Mickey could empty their pockets!
5. Lions And Tigers Are Free. Well, not really, they’re in cages, but the famous Lincoln Park Zoo? Come on in! It’s not only the first public zoo in this country; it’s free. Founded in 1868, it now boasts 35-acres of lions and tigers and bears and much more! The only thing that’s creepy (besides the reptiles) it that is built on the old city cemetery so there are dead bodies underneath all the fun.
6. Eat, Drink And Be Merry. Because no matter where you are, all public restrooms are free. Chicago banned pay toilets in 1973. Thus, all public restrooms are free.
If you’re going to Chicago for an extended stay, make sure you use a corporate long-term stay provider. They’ll find you the perfect place for you to “come home to” so you can get all that work done and enjoy all the fun of Chicago today!