Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tween Tour Tips for the Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show

Location: McCormick Place
Qualifications of the Guides: ages 10, 11, 12, & 13;
Knowledge based on two years of attendance
Good order: To avoid the longest lines and give everyone an opportunity at their favorite event.
Life preservers: Get there early so that you can get a free life preserver. Go in the main entrance on the far left as that is where the line forms for the free life preservers.
Wii fishing game: There are two games going. Get in line immediately after you receive your life preserver. It is difficult but we had some catches.

ATVs: Go straight to the ATV’s on the lower level ASAP. The line gets long if you wait until later. The older boys (and dad) can ride the big ones and that line was short and went really fast. The younger boys have to ride the smaller ATVs and that line was longer. Still the wait was not long at around 10:30 a.m. You do not get to drive as fast as you want but it is still fun.
Pretzels: Look longingly and Grandpa catches on pretty quickly. We like them best with salt.

Fishing Pond: When your time is up, go right back in line over and over. There was no wait because we did this early enough in the day. We used some of our uneaten pretzels as bait and that seemed to help.

Casting Area: Go to the area where lures are given as prizes for casting in the hoola hoops. We all just took one turn doing this. They taught us the slingshot method. It was pretty fun.
Huge RVs: We climbed into and through several huge RVs. It was fun to investigate every inch—the bedrooms, bathrooms, neat ways that the counters and tables covert to other uses, the TVS, etc. They had some rules about climbing on the ladders which were disappointing.
Free Bandana: Close to the escalator before you head up to the boats.
Fishing boats: Pay attention when Dad and Grandpa are looking at fishing boats. It is a good idea to give some subtle hints on what would be nice and make sure that the motor is big enough that it could also be used to pull slalom skiers. You know that they would like to do that but they just haven’t taken the bait yet. It is a good idea to keep encouraging them.
Large yachts and/or houseboats: These are really fun to climb in and through and imagine how it would be to own one. At least one of us can really see ourselves buying one of these instead of a house when we are grown up. It would be so cool to live like that and have all of that privacy and luxury and be on the water all of the time! We thought the port holes in the top were pretty cool. On one of the large boats there were three port holes. Some of our favorites were the Silverton 38, Sport Bridge and Convertible.
Lunch: We brought our own sandwiches and cookies and just bought drinks. We sat on the picnic tables by the canoes but skipped the canoe rides. They are boring and the line goes really slow.
RC Boat Drag Strip: We watched this for a bit but decided not to wait in line. The boats seemed to be malfunctioning lots while we were watching. It looked like fun. Maybe another time, we would hit this early in the day.
State Farm area: Remote control boats and video car racing games—where three of you can race at a time. It was not too busy so we got multiple opportunities to do both activities as much as we wanted with minimum wait time. We all got prizes and they were pretty good—bags, key floats, water bottles, etc. One prize was an IPOD but no one had won it yet while we were there.
Expo area booths: We did those pretty quickly just going down a couple of aisles but Dad did end up buying a cool hammock that he had been thinking about since the prior boat show.
Big boat tour: We decided to look at one last big luxury boat. We had to wait in line for that for ½ hour but it was really good. Then it was time to go home.
Car ride home: One of us brought The Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham which kept us entertained for a good portion of the trip home.
That’s about it. Have fun!

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