Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Great Train Adventure: the Skokie Swift

When I mentioned to 'Lil Buddy that I thought we should take an adventure on the yellow line today, he sparkled so much that I thought he would burst into a cloud of pixie dust! Lil Buddy has been going on about ALL of the train lines ever since we got a CTA map shower curtain. He has been particularly interested in the yellow line, though, and it's shiny new Oakton stop and platform: totally visible from the street!

I thought, why not today? Sweet Potata would be at daycare so we could do some serious train time and walking!

We began our trip by parking at the Park n Ride Garage next to the Howard St. station. (note to potential travelers: you have to have exactly 5 $1 bills or one $5 bill to exit this garage. I'm not kidding. There are no alternatives. If you don't have it and you call the number on the garage, the man who sits in there will tell you to park your car again and walk down 3 flights of stairs to the shopping complex for change or an atm. Now you know)

We parked and waited for the yellow line/Skokie Swift at Howard. If you have a little train nut, this is a mind blowing station! A veritable Tidmouth shed of Red, Purple, and Yellow line trains running between this northern point of the city and Evanston and Skokie. Your tiny engineer will recognize the signs: "95th St.!," "Linden!", "No Smoking!"

Here's some of the fun stuff we captured at Howard:

We boarded the Skokie Swift and headed to Oakton. It's only one stop north. A short ride with lots for little train lovers to see. "Is it up? No, it's down. See, Mama. I told you it was down."

 Once you're there, you are in the midst of charming, downtown Skokie with it's shops, restaurants, and big fancy park!!! We headed for the park hoping that the Exploratorium would be open. The Exploratorium is a big, indoor play place with climby stuff, a water table, an art room--you get the idea! It's right there at Oakton and Skokie Blvd, only about $5 or so to get in, and totally not open on Wednesday mornings. (that's when we went) If you fail to read up on the hours before you go (as we did), then venture just outside to the super rad playground. Check this out:

 Post playground, we declared hunger and walked into charming downtown. I held out for some time for a coffee shop/deli type place. Lil Buddy threw a fit in front of Subway. Guess who won that tug of war? we had a great lunch anyway. LB announced that he really wanted to see Dempster, the final stop on the Swift, so we plotted our final destination. Disappointed with the over sweetened iced tea I got from the Subway fountain, I was excited about Dempster because I remembered it housed an adorable Starbucks. So we pressed on to Dempster, enjoying more railroad crossings and signs, and finally, a chocolate chip cookie split right down the middle.
It was a great day!

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