Former professional basketball player Mike Robinson—a product of the Chicago Public School system who was drafted by the Utah Jazz and played professionally in Europe for eight years—created In the Paint Basketball to help youths develop as players. His development programs teach the fundamentals of the game, such as shooting and dribbling, but also connect kids to mentors and encourage them to discuss problems they may be having in school with peer pressure or homework.
Go-karts roar across the racetrack, bumper boats collide, and the cracking sound of confined home runs rings out from batting cages. This multisensory symphony fills the landscaped grounds of Fun Time Square, where attraction after attraction beckons visitors of all ages to kiddie train rides, 18 holes of mini golf, and the blinking lights of pinball machines in the onsite arcade. More intense thrills unfold at a paintball field, where abandoned cars, inflated cover, and war-torn art teachers guard players from enemy paint.
Aboard Seabreeze Charter's 36-foot cruising yacht, passengers slice through Lake Michigan's waves, steered by the steady hand of United States Coast Guard-certified captain Lorenzo Carrer. A native of Italy, Carrer has sailed in the Mediterranean and traced passages through the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast. Also decorated with various racing awards, Carrer now helms the yacht during chartered trips, and graciously hands over the wheel when instructing new sailors in the waters near Navy Pier. The vessel itself features two private cabins and a radio with an iPod connector, on which patrons can play classic maritime ballads about the difficulty of untying boating knots. In addition, an on-board life raft and a digital emergency call feature guard the boat against potential mishaps.
Following the precise baton sweeps of maestro Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony crashes through selections from its American Mavericks Festival, which showcases provocative pieces by iconoclastic composers. The evening opens with Henry Cowell's Synchrony, originally written to accompany a dance by famed choreographer Martha Graham. The composition anchors itself to contemplative trumpet solos intertwined with wistful piccolo before giving way to the discordant bombast of timpani, cymbals, and gong. Absolute Jest, composed by living legend John Adams, receives its Chicago premiere, combining the typhoon of a full symphony with the nimble unity of the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Like a DJ wearing a powdered wig, the piece splices together scherzos from Beethoven's late string quartets, building a new composition out of fragments from the master's work. Finally Charles Ives's Concord Symphony—orchestrated by Henry Brant—commemorates the New England transcendentalists, with each movement creating a tonal portrait of a different thinker's philosophy. The ominous swell of bassoon and violin in the first movement echoes Emerson's revelation of man knocking at destiny's door, and the majestic woodwinds and flute in the fifth movement's opening reflect nature, which had a heavy impact on Thoreau (himself a flutist).
Evergreen Racquet & Fitness Club's 94,000-square-foot recreational facility is loaded with racquetball courts teamed up with a heated pool and fitness room. Clients reserve their slot and then step onto one of four racquetball courts for a round of racket-based ball swatting and sweat-band-absorbency testing. For a pre- or postgame workout, patrons can head into the fitness room to break a sweat on rows of treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes lined up before dumbbells and Cybex weight machines. Kids age 6 and younger enjoy a tots-only sprinkler area, and the 30’x50’ heated outdoor pool lends moisture to workouts and powdered energy drinks. To soothe muscles after a session of beefing, ligaments unwind in the whirlpools and dry-heat saunas in the locker rooms. Though not included in today's Groupon, patrons can partake in volleyball, basketball, and the batting cages and fielding area for an additional fee.
Whisper Creek’s visionary architects, Greg Nash and Billy Casper, and Orchard Valley’s architect, Ken Kavanaugh, present two championship-style courses of verdant, undulating terrain, flecked with challenging features. Golfers traverse Whisper Creek's 240 acres of protected wildlife sanctuary in GPS-enabled golf carts that provide yardage measurements, record scores, and eliminate the need to ask tiger-head club covers for directions. During an 18-hole round (up to a $68 value with cart), clubs send dimpled orbs hurtling past imported white-sand bunkers, pristine waters, and more than 5,000 character hardwoods. Over on Orchard Valley’s 6,800-yard, par 72 grounds, manicured practice facilities conduct dress rehearsals for the course’s 18 holes (up to a $76 value with cart), which span sand traps and wetlands, including the expansive water hazard on the aptly named "All or Nothing at All" second hole.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.