How To Play A Game With Goose Poop

A little over a week ago, my family decided to hop in the minivan and drive to Chicago for the day and visit the Shedd Aquarium. Although it’s a 3 ½ hour drive for us, this is merely a blink of an eye to me. I love road trips and a spontaneous adventure is right up my alley. However, we have NEVER attempted a road trip with this long of a drive with all three children spontaneously before.

I grabbed a bag of pretzels, goldfish crackers and a change of clothes for each family member and off we went at 7:30 a.m.

The first 10 minutes of the trip were absolutely wonderful! We sang, we talked about how much fun we were going to have and I passed out a few crackers to everyone.

15 minutes into the trip the question of “when are we going to get there?” began. My husband and I looked at each other with questioning concern wondering if we had just made the biggest mistake of our lives.

We somehow managed to make it to Chicago by 11:00 with little to no major problems until our 7 year old daughter, Iris exclaimed, “I think I’m going to throw up.” I quickly made my way to the back of the van where she was located and grabbed the first thing I saw which was her winter coat and held it in front of her.

This left us with a little dilemma since the weather was pretty chilly and we had to park 2 miles from the aquarium. I did have a sweatshirt in the car that I put over Iris’s shirt but it still left her a little underdressed for our long jaunt. She was a trooper though and didn’t complain at all and her upset stomach had quickly disappeared.

We approached our destination and saw the big building looming just a short distance. We were all excited and relieved that our long car ride was completely worth it as we anticipated our next few hours of fun!

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL

As we got closer, our excitement was soon overcome by shock, disbelief and horror.

The line leading up to the aquarium stretched and winded 200 yards back. My guess is 3000 people were waiting in this line. We are from a small town. Even though a NFL stadium is 10 minutes from our home we do not understand the concept of waiting or large crowds for anything. If the checkout lane at the grocery store takes more than 5 minutes; we get impatient and think that something is going terribly wrong.

I thought the line I was witnessing for the aquarium surely had to be for something other than just seeing a few tanks with fish in it. I thought, perhaps they had just flown in a whale and it was giving birth inside or that Jacques Cousteau had come back from the dead and was signing autographs. Certainly, no one would stand in a line this long, with this cold temperature just to get a peek at a few sting rays.

The line was so long, I couldn’t even fit it all into the picture!

I questioned a few people in line and they told me it was in fact just for the aquarium. They didn’t seem the least bit concerned that they were potentially waiting 2 hours in a line to see jelly fish and sea horses.

I didn’t know who was crazier at this point… the people happily waiting in line or me, who should clearly have investigated this outing a bit more thoroughly.

At this point, my husband and I began whispering what we were going to do and what other alternatives of fun we should do instead when I noticed another door to the side of the building. It said “accessible.” I ran over to find out what this was all about and discovered it was the entrance point for anyone in a wheelchair or who had a stroller.

There has never been a point in my life that I have been happier to have a kid in a stroller until this moment. I showered our 2 year old with kisses and said, “Thank you so much for getting your family in the aquarium with no wait time!”

We spent the next couple of hours going from tank to tank looking at all the sea life. The place was really crowded so it was hard to get too close to anything but we managed to see a fin or two!

After we felt we saw everything we could possibly see we headed out and started our long walk back to our vehicle.

We cut through a park and noticed a huge flock of geese. The kids began chasing them and trying to get them to honk. After they had their fill of running amongst the geese we held hands and walked along the pathway that was dotted with goose poop every few steps. I began by calling out “Goose Poop” to alarm every one of the potential danger so they wouldn’t step in it.

Bency and Iris chasing after the geese

It turned into a game of who could spot the next droppings first and call out loud enough so that all of Chicago was alerted. Stepping over the droppings wasn’t adequate. Wild jumps and hops were in order to clear the areas of mass destruction. Laughing and giggling rang out on this cold walk and our tired legs were forgotten as we enjoyed this best part of our day.

The most amusement of our day!

There is an area 5 minutes from our home that contains walking paths and where I have spotted huge flocks of geese hanging out. The next time we need a little excitement in our lives a quick drive over there should suffice as we happily play our game of “Goose Poop.”

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49 responses

  1. I’ve never played any game with the word “poop” in it. I’m missing out, aren’t I?

    My son never fails to vomit on road trips, and my daughter has an affinity for pooping her pants in those situations. Just in case we keep a towel, bucket, toilet paper, changes of clothes and plastic bags in the back of the car when we travel just in case.

    I’m glad you at least got to see some fins! I have been wanting to go to Shedd Aquarium forever but we just can’t swing it financially. Maybe in a few years.

    • After talking to some friends from Chicago this past weekend they said we should have skipped the Shedd completely and went to the Natural History Museum. I guess it’s really cool! I’ve been to several big aquariums across the country and the Shedd was by far the worst..my favorite was in Tampa Bay, Florida! Your son and daughter sound like real peaches to travel with too!!! LOL!! It would have to really worth it if I was to pack that much stuff!!

    • haha!!! My wise thinking husband put the jacket in a plastic bag, tied it up and stashed it under the van in the parking ramp we were parked at. We retrieved it back out for the ride home so it wasn’t terribly pleasant on the way home but not as unbearable as it could have been!!! We really lucked out with that stroller…I’m going to start bringing one along every where I go even when the kids are still teenagers..I’ll just put a doll in it!! LOL!

      • Ha! My kids are teenagers and would still sit in the stroller themselves! You ought to see them in a grocery store! I gotta say, it’s a riot reading about all the escapades of people with young kids again!

      • Oh, I’m sure there’s so much better insight looking back on it all now! I know when my kids are teenagers I’ll look back and really miss all of this stuff! Sounds like you don’t have to miss anything though…your kids are still keeping you on your toes!! LOL!!! Thanks for reading!

      • yeah, they are a lot of fun and I have been lucky enough to be a stay at home mom, so I haven’t missed a minute. Everyone should cherish every minute and know that you will laugh about all of it….someday…even the puke!

  2. you are a brave woman to attempt a trip like that! Glad you didn’t have to wait in that long line! Sometimes strollers are complete lifesavers, as are games about things as ridiculous as poop! 🙂 It takes a very clever mommy to come up with these ingenious ideas! haha!

    • After that long ride there was no way a wait in that line would have ever worked out! I know we would have waited 30 minutes and the kids (and probably me too) would have started having meltdowns and we would have ended up just going to find a McDonalds playland or something!! LOL!

  3. Cute! We used to play “pillow or possum” on road trips. You’d spot stuff on the side of the road and predict if it was a “pillow” (trash) or “possum” (road kill). Some parts of Texas don’t have enough signs to play billboard games. Goose poop doesn’t sound weird at all!

  4. My family just got back from a road trip too. That’s why I’ve been M.I.A. Let me tell you, I think a future post is in the works. Happy to be home in my own bed! No throw up and definitely no goose poop. Sounds like you all had one memorable day even though at first sight it liked you’d have to wait in long line. I’ll have to put my stroller back in the trunk in case I can use it for crisis moments like these. 🙂

  5. What a trip! I love that you all were able to find the silver lining and turn it into a fun day after all.
    I was a habitual car puker well into childhood–we always had “the towel” with us, and to this day I am a nuisance to travel with due to motion sickness. I feel for your daughter!
    I saw in another comment that you really enjoyed the Tampa aquarium. It is my favorite, too. We lived thirty minutes from it for five years and might have to make the two hour drive up sometime so A. can enjoy it as her brother did!

    • It’s been over 10 years since I’ve been to the aquarium in Tampa but if I remember correctly it had a wall that allowed you to actually look in the ocean. Regardless if it did or not I remember being really in awe of everything and spending all day there…it had so much to look at!

      This is the first time Iris has ever got sick on a car trip…I hope it’s not going to be a life long thing! We have a trip planned to go to Albuquerque this summer which will be a 24 hour drive…will definitely bring a towel this time!!

      • I used to take 24 hours trips with my parents–but I was and still am an only child…two 12-hour days in the car from CT to New Orleans. Beautiful drive! I’ve started to remember an empty grocery bag every time we go anywhere for things like that, and because A. seems to need to “go” in her diaper pretty regularly right after we drop off L. at school. One nice thing about an SUV is that the trunk space makes for a great changing table. Of course, the folks in the school parking lot get to see way more than they wanted to…we really need to work on that potty training…

  6. A resurrected Jacques Cousteau signing autographs. Love it.

    Sounds akin to when your kids play with the boxes that the toys came in, rather than the toys on Christmas morning. At least you tried, LOL!

    • It was exactly like that! We drove 7 hours to spend some time with geese…perfect! In fact, Bency told me he wrote about going to Chicago during writing time in Kindergarten last week. I asked him what his story was about. He said he wrote that he saw skyscrapers…he never mentioned the aquarium!

  7. Hilarious! Mr S was in the room when I opened your post to read and said the title out loud, he walked out saying no thanks.. I am still giggling 🙂
    I yell out a similar version when walking after rain.. Snail alert!

  8. How awesome that you guys were in Chicago! I know the lines are always a little daunting, but usually it’s worth it. Did you eat really good pizza while you were here? 🙂

    Can I play travel guide for a minute? I know it’d be a longer hike for you, but the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis would be an excellent get-away for you family during the winter months. Lots of hands-on stuff for the kids to do, slides, little houses, a carousel (inside!) and ramps to get from floor to floor. And dinosaurs! It’s really perfect for kids who are about the age of your trio. We did a children’s museums of the Midwest tour when the kids were younger (COSI in Columbus, OH, Indianapolis Children’s Museum and Chicago’s own children’s museum). It was a lot of fun.

    We’re always dodging goose poop at the little park near my house. The kids have grown up hearing the alert, so it’s pretty ingrained now.

    • That does sound like a great little get away for us!! I almost contacted you about our little trip to Chicago to see if there was anything we should know but since it was the night before that we came up with the idea I figured it was too last minute! Next time we get such an idea in our head I will definitely email you! We didn’t get to eat any pizza (insert sad face!) We love this place called Exchequer but it was a little further than we wanted to walk plus we weren’t exactly sure what street it was on. Every time we have found it is only because we were wandering about looking for things that looked familiar! We ended up eating on Wabash at some place called Pita something?? It wasn’t too great…pizza would have been so much better!

      • If you ever head this way again, let me know — even on short notice! One of my husband’s favorite things to do is to make recommendations about Things Not to Miss in Chicago. He’s a native and loves this place as much as I do (long lines notwithstanding!). Hope you had a great time here — even with the poop and carsick issues! 🙂

  9. Hi Melissa, I forgot to ask you something. Would you mind giving me your email address? I want to contact you about something “special” I have planned for the month of December. You can submit it on my contact page that way it’s not publicized. Thanks! 🙂

  10. I can’t believe people would stand out in the cold for hours waiting to go see an aquarium. That is totally a Mentos moment, that you found the accessible door, and scored a fast entrance with the stroller. Amen, sistah!!! No fish is worth hours in the cold. Love the goose poop story. It’s always the things you can’t plan that turn out to be the best.

  11. Hahahaha – my boys would LOVE your goose poop game! 🙂 Good for you for continuing to be spontaneous with regard to family outings and being able to roll with whatever comes along.

    Nice catch on the vomit, by the way! 🙂

  12. Wow! I remember doing that same trip as a kid, but from Michigan – for us it was 4 hours. We stayed overnight though since we also went to the sears tower and a few other things. But I definately remember Shedd Aquarium! Or… Well I remember that we went… I don’t remember too uch about the inside even though I know I enjoyed it.

    • Yeah, I think in a few years we’ll go back and do more stuff. With the little one it was pretty hard. He didn’t have a nap all day and even though he was a trooper I was just waiting for something disastrous to take place!

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