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We had fond memories of Matthew Broderick playing Ferris Bueller, a charismatic high-school student who turns a day playing hooky into an almighty adventure in Ferris Beuller's Day Off and were eager to introduce Ferris to our kids, despite his rascally nature. After all, Ferris fakes illness to skip school, stealing his best pal Cameron's father's Ferrari and heading downtown to Chicago with his girlfriend (and a very nervous Cameron). Although Ferris manages to fool just about everyone into thinking that he really is home sick -- his parents touchingly bid him farewell before leaving for work, and students at school start a "save Ferris" campaign -- the Dean of Students is desperate to bring his school's most notorious truant to justice. Our memories of the film's joyous nature overshadowed the film's mature themes, and our tweens and teens loved the way Ferris periodically turns to the camera to deliver a deadpan, wise-beyond-his-years commentary on teenage life ("Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."). As parents we could take issue with the fact that Ferris never gets in trouble for his transgressions, but the truth is that once he jumps a parade float and grabs the mike to belt out "Twist and Shout," his rebel message had taken hold of our hearts.
We couldn't wait to explore the city that Ferris calls his own. You can't know Chicago until you've gazed down 1353 feet from the Sears Tower (recently renamed the Willis Tower) as the kids did in the film. Take the elevator to the Skydeck, check out the Skydeck Scavenger Hunt before descending to the real world and heading over to Millennium Park. Though the Park didn't exist in Ferris' day, you can bet he would have wreaked some havoc there. You can lunch on some Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza (see below), check out the Park Grill, smack dab in the middle of the park, or bring a picnic for a scenic meal on the lawn of the Prizker Pavilion. You're now just a block way from The Art Institute of Chicago, which has one of the world's most notable collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art-- don't miss "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grade Jatte," the George Seurat painting that captivated our trio from the movie. If you're lucky, the Cubs are in town and you can take in a day at Wrigley Field; that's where Ferris catches a foul ball. Build in 1916, Wrigley has retained it's charm over the years, and is on every baseball lover's list of the best ball parks. Friendly and convivial, you don't have to be a Cubs fan (or even a baseball fan) to enjoy an afternoon here. From the beautiful lake to the friendly crowds, you'll be glad you took the time to visit this terrific city.
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Spend a Weekend in Chicago
Age Recommendation: six and up
Time Allotment: At least two days!
Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about this Adventure:
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