Through curls of fog lit by ultraviolet light, players find vantage points to take aim at their opponents in Lazer X's bilevel, 6,500-square-foot arena. Wearing computerized vests, players blast each other with phasers while avoiding distractions caused by pulsing strobe lights, animatronic creatures, and up-tempo music that begs them to stop and do the macarena. After the game, vests tally up points, and players can review their scores on a printout that will also detail the hits they made and received. Alternately, patrons can follow-up games with a trip to the arcade where they can keep their trigger fingers in tip-top condition.
With hands gripped to the wheels of karts capable of cresting 45 miles per hour, up to 12 racers hum around the hairpin turns and straightaways of K1 Speed's indoor track during adrenaline-spiking sprints toward the podium. This brand of excitement can be found at all 20+ locations, where racers eschew the fumes and inflammatory skywriting of gas kart exhaust for European, eco-friendly electric karts designed to instantly accelerate out of curves, which are bordered by safety barriers that absorb impacts.
New racers get two races to use on the same day and a monthly license; those already holding a license receive three same-day races. During races, Bowman go-karts zoom around one of three tracks at up to 35 mph, the same speed as an underachieving cheetah.
In the winter, it looks as though an alien spacecraft has touched down at Links & Tees Golf Facility. Within this futuristic structure—actually an inflatable golf dome whose three layers trap heat—PGA professionals teach lessons and golfers practice their snow-clearing swings. This impressive indoor facility—along with an outdoor driving range that boasts more than 50 hitting stations, a 10,000-square foot putting green, and a 5,000-square foot chipping green—has repeatedly landed Links & Tees among Golf Range Magazine's Top 100 Golf Practice Facilities.
After warming up at the range, golfers can take to the tees and bentgrass fairways of a nine-hole executive course, where three ponds snatch up balls and a smattering of sand bunkers tempt hungry golfers to stop and dig for clams. They can also head for Putter’s Peak, an 18-hole miniature-golf course where tiki statues line fairways, the rumble of a Lilliputian waterfall fills the air, and putters must venture into the dark depths of a cave. After either a miniature or executive round of golf, visitors can pull off the plate armor that protects against mis-aimed balls, put down their clubs, and pick up a hot dog or pizza at the 4,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Course at a Glance:
Choosing canvases, signs, or wineglasses to brush and decorate, groups of visitors to The Painted Party gather around tables for BYOB painting classes. At the behest of an experienced art instructor, each painter daubs, blends, and Jackson Pollocks their canvases, following a series of easy-to-follow directives. They can take the resulting work of art home at the close of class.
If you've been bowling in Chicago, chances are pretty good you've been to a Chicagoland Bowling establishment. With member centers from 3700 N. Western to 12345 S. Halsted, the organization connects pin destroyers all over the city. The advantages of this network include tournaments that span the entire region, scholarship programs for talented youth bowlers, and a cornucopia of options for clowns who juggle bowling pins.