12/10/14

Website of the week: Tour Chicago's lakefront from the comfort of home

A closer look at web tools and sites that boost research and empower Great Lakes communities to secure a healthy environment and economy. 

It's getting a little chilly for a stroll in the Windy City, but don't let that stop you from enjoying it's beautiful downtown lakefront. With Chicago Water Walk, you can explore some of the city's most celebrated sites—Navy Pier, the Chicago River, downtown marinas, Buckingham Fountain, and Museum Campus—from anywhere. 

The mobile-friendly website takes viewers on a journey through time to discover how Lake Michigan and the Chicago River transformed a small trading post into one of the economic and cultural hubs of the world—and the vital role these natural resources play in the city’s present and future.

Each stop in the virtual tour combines history, current events, and water sciences with fun facts to show the importance of aquatic ecosystems in the city’s past, present, and future. Stunning photos, historical images, and links to videos and other resources bring these issues to life and reveal a lakefront that will surprise even lifelong Chicagoans. 

Visit the website and you'll learn why the decision to reverse the Chicago River is still making waves more than a century later, how a city that sits along Lake Michigan can be concerned about having enough water in the future, and how native trees and plants are helping the city prepare for changing weather patterns. You'll also hear about efforts to restore much-needed habitats for millions of birds, fish, and other wildlife.

And for those willing to brave the cold, a mobile tour app is available for free on both Android and Apple devices. You can follow the suggested routes or visit the sites that most appeal to you using the app's interactive map. 

The Chicago Water Walk website and app were developed by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant with funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program and technical support from the University of Illinois Administrative Information Technology Services

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