The Pride of Prairie Avenue
Prairie Avenue, south of the Loop, was the city's first “Gold Coast,” and
its most famous address is Glessner House, a must-see for anyone
interested in architectural history. The only surviving Chicago building
designed by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson, it represented
a dramatic shift from traditional Victorian architecture when it was
built in 1886 (and inspired a young Frank Lloyd Wright).
The imposing granite exterior gives the home a forbidding air.
(Railway magnate George Pullman, who lived nearby, complained, “I
do not know what I have ever done to have that thing staring me in
the face every time I go out my door.”). But step inside and the home
turns out to be a welcoming, cozy retreat, filled with Arts and Crafts
furniture and decorative arts.
Visits to Glessner House are by guided tour only. Tours are given
Wednesday to Sunday at 1, 2, and 3pm year-round (except major hol-
idays). Tours are first-come, first-served, with no advance reservations
except for groups of 10 or more. It's located at 1800 S. Prairie Ave.
( & 312/326-1480; www.glessnerhouse.org). Admission is $9 for adults,
$8 for students and seniors, and $4 for children 5 to 12. Bus: 1, 3, or 4
from Michigan Avenue at Jackson Boulevard (Get off at 18th St.).
was akin to that of an exceptionally gifted woodworker. Wright was a true
hands-on, can-do person; he knew the materials he chose to use as intimately as
the artisans who carried out his plans. And his stunning, almost-minimalist use
of form is what still sets him apart as a relevant and brilliant artist. Other details
to which the docent guide will call your attention, as you complete a circuit of
the temple, are the great fireplace, the pulpit, the skylights, and the clerestory
(gallery) windows. Suffice it to say, Unity Temple—only one of Wright's mas-
terpieces—is counted among the 10 greatest American architectural achieve-
ments. For small kids, a brief peek into the temple on a walk around the
neighborhood (after touring the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, for
example) is best; teens will appreciate the architecture more.
875 Lake St. & 708/383-8873. www.unitytemple-utrf.org. Self-guided tours $6 adults; $4 seniors, children
5-12, and students with ID. 45-min. guided tours Sat-Sun on the hour 1-3pm at no extra charge. Mon-Fri
10:30am-4:30pm; Sat-Sun 1-4pm. Church events can alter the schedule; call in advance.
Brookfield Zoo All ages. Brookfield is the Chicago area's largest zoo.
In contrast to the rather efficient Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield is spacious and
spreads out over 216 acres with 2,700 animal residents—camels, dolphins,
giraffes, baboons, wolves, tigers, green sea turtles, Siberian tigers, snow leopards,
and more—living in naturalistic environments that put them side by side with
other inhabitants of their regions. These creative indoor and outdoor settings—
filled with activities to keep kids interested—are what set Brookfield apart. One
of the newest exhibits, The Living Coast, explores the western coast of Chile
and Peru and includes everything from a tank of plate-size moon jellies to a
rocky shore where Humboldt penguins swim and nest as Inca terns and gray