City Cast

Chicago Kayaking 101

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on June 15
Jacoby in a kayak takes a photo on his phone

Jacoby on the high seas of the Chicago River Saturday. (Jacoby Cochran / City Cast Chicago)

Who actually makes good on their New Year’s resolutions? Turns out, City Cast Chicago podcast host Jacoby Cochran does.

After announcing that he wanted to kayak the Chicago River this year, Jacoby connected with the Shedd Aquarium’s river conservation group. He ventured out with a dozen other kayakers Saturday to learn about the river’s history and conservation projects.

Where did he kayak? Near Goose Island for about an hour and a half.

What’d he see? Plenty of birds, turtles, and all three species of herons that live near the river.

Don’t repeat Jacoby’s mistakes!

  • Wear plenty of sunscreen as there’s no shade on the river.
  • You’ll get wetter than expected. Dress accordingly!
  • Pay attention during paddling instruction: The river has a mind of its own. You’ll be turning, drifting, and playing catch up.

How would Jacoby rate the experience? 9/10. It was relaxing, cool, and educational. Next time he wants to try going solo: Just crack open a beer, whip out the binoculars, and slow paddle.

Where can you get your kayak on? The Shedd has a pay-what-you-can program. Ping Tom Park and Clark Park also offer kayaking rentals.

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