The bus swerved like crazy and the sound of machine gun fire rang through the bus. "Duck, duck," our tour leader yelled, as we all tucked our heads into our laps.
Then it happened, a giggle. Soon we were all laughing as we rode through an unusual tour of Chicago's history-The Untouchables Tour, which takes you back into the time of Al Capone and John Dillinger.
This isn't a family tour-too much talk of bloodshed, but it's great fun for couples or older kids. My 17-year-old son is a big fan of learning anything he can about the gangsters in Chicago, so this trip gave him a chance to see some of the historic sites firsthand.
The trip started with our guide entering the bus dressed the part of the gangster era. He carried a fake gun in his hand, which he pointed at us and told us all to shut up. We were willing to clam up and listen when we pulled in front of Holy Name Cathedral and learned the stories of mobsters killed right where we were parked. We saw the bullet hole in the church dating back to a mob hit in the '20s.
We went on to see the Biograph-more mob hit history-and passed other sites where the building no longer stood, but we were able to learn about what happened here back in the era of prohibition. The tour takes about two hours and is conducted entirely on the bus-good news for us since it was cold and rainy the day of our tour. While we were driving between sites, the driver and our tour guides entertained us with raffles and trivia about Chicago's gangster history. Our tour guides were over the top with their tough-guy accents and corny jokes, but they were greatly entertaining. It's a tour that's just plain fun, with a little history thrown in.
Follow up the tour with dinner at one of the many restaurants within walking distance and you've got a great way to ditch the kids and enjoy a little grown-up time.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.