We have so many tourist attractions in Chicago, but none quite compare with Cloud Gate. This unique sculpture is the centerpiece of our Millennium Park and draws millions of visitors every year since its unveiling in 2006. It is made from 168 stainless steel plates welded seamlessly together and polished to a highly reflective degree so that the skyline and visitors are mirrored and distorted all around and below the bean-shaped oddity. Hence, the nickname The Bean.
The sculpture has appeared in many movies and music videos because of its fun and unforgettable design and underlying artistic theme. So now we get to the story Mother Goose has prepared for you today…
The sweet sister of the goose has seen this sculpture in many movies lately, and was very interested in finally seeing it in person. She told us over and over that she’d love to see the Bean as soon as possible.
When we’d finished conquering The Willis Tower, we climbed back aboard the Pink Line elevated train and looped around the city again, this time disembarking at the intersection nearest to Chicago’s Millennium Park. We strolled along the city streets for just a couple of blocks and arrived at the Michigan Avenue entrance to the park, a lovely tree-covered lane with music playing around us.
Suddenly, my sister clutches my arm! Her eyes were round as saucers and with terror in her voice, she cries out, “What is THAT?”
I look to where she is staring open-mouthed.
“What is that?” she asks again. “I see people sliding off a concrete roof or something…” Her voice trails off in bewilderment and no small level of fear.
Mother Goose looked at her sister, expecting her to be winking in merriment at the thought that she had finally arrived at the Bean, but there’s nothing but confusion and disorientation on her face.
“Honey, that’s the Bean,” I whisper to her, not wanting to upset her any further than she is already.
“Nooooo,” she speaks in hushed tones like one who is viewing an alien sight, something from a far and distant galaxy.
“Bunn, it’s the Bean! It really is!”
She shook her head in disbelief and amazement. We took her around to the plaza side of the sculpture so that she could view in in a familiar context as she had seen in the movies. THEN she was able to absorb the Bean in all its reflective and distorted glory.
We walked toward the Bean with our hands in the air so that we could spot ourselves in the very strange “Funhouse” mirror of gigantic proportions. Jessi, our experienced tourist guide, thought we should lower our hands as it appeared that we were actually worshiping the Bean.
We walked around it with all the other tourists, snapping pictures and marveling at the sculpture’s beauty and wonderful elements.
We walked under it, gazing up at the omphalos of the piece. This is very similar to a belly-button and provides multiple reflections of any subject standing directly below it. Very strange, indeed!
Most of the other tourists were touching the Bean, and there were fingerprints and hand smears everywhere on the mirror. Mother Goose wished that she had brought her Windex along so that she could clean the surface and wipe it smooth. Oddly enough, my sister refused to touch the Bean!
Most of the other tourists were having their photos taken next to the Bean — you could almost see the images flying up through the cybersphere to Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. My sister refused to get close enough for a photo opportunity. She stood at a great distance with her guard up, just in case. I was able to capture only one shot of her and The Bean together.
After we viewed the Bean from every possible angle, we stopped for a delicious dinner at Panera and planned our next tour destination, Oak Street Beach.