Friday, December 28, 2012

Traveling to Chicago

Just in case y'all didn't know, I am a criminologist.  Every year my society holds its annual conference during the week before Thanksgiving. (Amazing timing, I know.)  This year's conference was in Chicago, IL.  Just imagine 3,000 criminologists descending on a single hotel with the purpose of discussing their research and networking.  For many, it's sort of a like an annual class reunion, but you actually want to see the people who go.  While the conference was productive, this post is more about the fun I had in Chicago when I wasn't at the meeting.

The first time I went to a conference I was under the illusion that I had to attend as many sessions as possible.  However, I quickly learned that overloading myself with sessions takes away from where the real action happens, which is in the hallways and lobby where people congregate to talk and hang out.  So, this year I resolved to be more social.  When one of my faculty members invited me out to the Shedd Aquarium I  took him up on it.  If you're ever in Chicago, definitely go to this aquarium.  They have absolutely everything you can imagine!

One of the neatest creatures at the aquarium is a sea turtle named Nickle.  Nickle is over 50 years old and has been at the aquarium for the last 20 years or so.  She was injured in a boating accident and, due to her injuries, will live out her days at the aquarium.

Nickle shares her tank with many other sea creatures including sting rays and puffer fish.  I really enjoyed watching the sting rays swim in circles.  In addition, the aquarium has exhibits for fresh water fish and  frogs.


On another day, a buddy of mine and I decided to go exploring in Chicago.  We went to Navy Pier and rode the Ferris wheel.  Even though it was super cold that night, we thought it would be super neat to see the Chicago skyline.  It turns out that conferences do not need to be all work and no fun -- just don't tell my advisor!