Paintball Explosion began when a group of paintball fanatics decided to make their dreams a reality and set about designing eight different fields of movie-set quality. Located just a 40-minute drive outside of Chicago, the real-life fantasy land they created includes the sci-fi-inspired, concrete environs of Code Black Field as well as the abandoned amusement-park setting of Biohazard Field.
The expansive facility also sports indoor and outdoor speedball fields for adrenaline-fueled fastness. Between matches, gamers can prepare at heated buildings with locker rooms and showers. With an onsite sports bar and grill, Paintball Explosion makes the paintball haven a place where enthusiasts can discuss the forces of velocity, wind resistance, and the physics of splatter.
At Kits Sports Center, children and adults can play basketball, baseball, soccer, or flag football. Youth programs like preschool PE, co-ed dodgeball, floor hockey, kickball, and beginning basketball instill teamwork, discipline, agility, and other skills. Adults can socialize in women's or men's soccer and volleyball programs, or push it to the max during a Flight Athletic Fitness Training workout, which incorporates sprints, drills, and bench-pressing of coaches.
As red inflatable obstacles shield snipers on the Speedball field, the Hyperball field's blue barrels protect players from enemy fire. Tipped-over speedboats litter the greenery of the Docks, and thickets of woods shelter the wooden walls of the Amazon and colorful fragments of children's play structures scattered throughout the Playground.
Each of the six fields hosts a variety of gaming scenarios, ranging from elimination and capture-the-flag rounds to attack-and-defend sessions or multiple flag-station contests. Laser-tag players itching to compete on terrain other than H2 Paintball's 10 acres can call upon its Mobile Command Option, wherein H2 personnel convert offices or empty basement shark tanks into miniature laser-tag arenas.
Colored paint pellets slice the air and splatter on the rough bark of large oaks and every once in a while on the back of an enemy. During paintball play, shouts and laughter reverberate through the forest canopy as the thudding of footsteps cuts through thick underbrush. Players on the 12 outdoor fields at Operation Paintball engage rival teams during bouts of capture the flag and last-man-standing shootouts, hoping to earn victory for their mates and impress Mom one more time. The Mother Earth field's tall trees stand between natural bunkers, the Speedball concept field boasts a circle of broken wooden picket fences surrounding a central bunker, and wooded slopes take over the Yellow, Blue, and Candy fields. Staffers prepare guests to safely skirmish by providing masks, secure goggles, and padded vests, each of which has helped to contribute to the facility's perfect safety record.
Near the runways of O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Paintball Park hosts competitors inside its 25,000-square-foot indoor arena. A quiet staging area away from the noise of roaring opponents lets combatants prepare for each skirmish before storming the field with paintball guns in speedball or scenario matches. Red and blue speedball-format obstacles lend cover during quick elimination games, and inflatable hummers, log cabins, and wooden boxes conceal warriors in themed games to give an authentic war-zone feel. Experienced staff members interact with players before and after matches by assisting younger competitors, offering strategies for overcoming difficult situations, and offering techniques for painting Monet's Water Lilies on opponents' bunker walls. O’Hare Paintball Park is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays.
A family walks down a lane cut into a sprawling field of corn, striding confidently until they reach a fork. After a debate, they turn left, and eventually left again. A wooden bridge leapfrogs them to a new path, lined with rows of eerily similar corn stalks. Luckily, it's a balmy day, the blue sky striated with wispy clouds, and they're not in a hurry to emerge from the green ocean of corn.
From an observation deck nearby, the 28-acre cornfield looks like a postage stamp inside the 450-acre farm, which grows soybeans, corn, and more than 50,000 Christmas trees. Homesteaded in 1840, the land is now owned and worked by a third generation of Richardsons. The family wanted to welcome visitors to the farm to enjoy the rural, outdoorsy fun that could only fit on such a sprawling space. They planted the corn maze?among the world's largest?and devised other attractions such as a zipline and paintball gallery. Visitors can also cheer on racing pigs, pet animals in an interactive zoo, and participate in different maze games. In autumn families come to pick pumpkins and in winter they cut their own Christmas trees.