Don’t worry, it’s totally natural to feel a little envy…if you didn’t win one of the beyond cool auction items from last month’s Naturally Funny Gala. Featuring behind-the-scene tours of eight of incredible spots around town dreamed up by our partners, the prizes included everything from a Field Museum-led birding expedition to a unique twist on your typical architectural tour from DePaul.
So, in hopes of making us all a winner of sorts, we decided to come up with simple DIY versions of these truly inspired tours.
- Around the World in 80 Trees at the Morton Arboretum: Springtime is the perfect time to plan a trip to the Arboretum. And, by reading up on its geographic tree collections, you can turn your next visit into a mini globe-trotting adventure.
- DePaul’s Architectural Tree Tour: Take a picnic and head to Lincoln Park, where, along with Liam Heneghan’s photo tour, you can admire the “blueprint of organic growth and development.”
- Behind the Studio Glass at WBEZ: The auction prize was a chance to sit in on a Worldview segment—not exactly a DIY-er. But, a similarly cool experience would be to check out another great Chicago Public Media show: Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Tix and schedule info here.
- Grad Student for a Day in Northwestern’s Solar Lab: This one is also not exactly DIY-friendly, considering the tour involved making your own solar cell and trying out a cutting edge laser. But, you can get a little armchair adventure in the university’s hot solar research via Facebook.
- Bring Your Own Binoculars to Dixon Waterfowl Refuge: The Wetlands Initiative may not be there to guide you through this internationally recognized habitat, but you can get a virtual tour by downloading their comprehensive bird checklist here.
- History Buff’s Tour of the Bridgehouse Museum: The museum is chock-full of info about the history of the river, and opens to the public for the season on May 10. Make a whole day out of it by planning a canoe trip down the river first.
- The Artist’s Way to Appreciate Nature at the Brushwood Center: Traipse through Ryerson Woods around the Center, then check out the historic building’s latest exhibits. For a behind-the-scenes feel, sign up for Brushwood’s annual Smith Nature Symposium on May 17, where you’ll get an insider perspective on the intersection of nature and art.
- Pro Birder for a Day at the Field Museum: First, download this Field app linking art to the science of birds for a sense of the museum’s non-public collections. Then make like a Field ornithologist and go birding at Northerly Island, where you can spot 230+ bird species.