Fire truck tours are conducted for groups by reservation only. O’Leary’s can customize tours for birthday parties or specific events and has a special Fireworks Tour that ends at Navy Pier. It can even bring a fire truck to your door for birthdays.
If you are looking to boost your family’s civic pride, O’Leary’s Chicago Fire Truck Tours may be the best tour in town. Owner/Operator George Rabiela is a former captain with the Chicago Fire Department. His pride in Chicago and its firefighters shines through his unique view of the city and its many landmarks.
Guests of all ages get a kick out of riding down Michigan Avenue in a 1965 vintage canopied fire truck while its speakers blare great Chicago-themed songs. On our tour, kids in complimentary plastic firefighter hats sang, “Go Cubs Go” while waving to pedestrians along Roosevelt Road. As if the bright red engine isn’t enough, the balance of facts and history, Chicago architecture and periods of classic music make this tour unlike any other.
The tour takes off from Illinois Street (at Michigan Avenue) where you take in classic architecture like the Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building, but moves quickly along to new skyscrapers like Trump Tower.
On our tour, the truck made its first stop at a working fire station, Engine Company 13, in the heart of downtown, where families heard about the dedication and sacrifice of firefighters across the country. The station houses a 9/11 Memorial as well as a memorial to a fallen Chicago firefighter. Rabiela doesn’t shy away from the dangers of the profession, so parents should be ready for kids’ questions about dying in the line of duty.
We caught a glimpse of Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain before making a second stop at the Chicago Fire Academy in the South Loop. Here, we learned more about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and the other theories related to the Chicago Fire. The academy is on the exact spot where Mrs. O’Leary’s barn stood, a fact my sons found fascinating. Kids can watch firefighters in training and examine some of the old-fashioned fire engines in the main lobby.
O'Leary's Chicago Fire Truck Tour http://www.olearysfiretours.com/ (312) 287-6565