Costumed actors hide inside Heaps Haunted Corn Maze, ready to scare all those who dare enter. Alternatively, the flashlight maze is completely unhaunted and challenges visitors instead with a series of dead ends, switchbacks, and branching paths that they must navigate armed only with a flashlight. After walking through the maze of their choice, guests can unwind during a half-hour moonlight tractor ride, staying in the mood by singing the Scooby-Doo theme song under their breath.
A hailstorm of paint projectiles rains down upon CPX Sports' more than one dozen fields, each of which poses different challenges and requires specialized tactics. The crown jewel of the park is the Town of Bedlam, a massive maze of small-town 1950s buildings that jut out between streets dotted by paint-splattered cars and streetlights. There, snipers poke their heads out of the central city hall's tower as the opposing team hides out or checks for abandoned shampoo samples inside the post office. The Jungle of Doom drops teams into a heavily wooded field to vie for control of a central temple, and chromatic combatants weave between desiccated cars in the Wastelands, attempting to collect the most gas cans. A full pro shop outfits players with markers, protective gear, and Sesame Street coloring books for target practice.
The Joliet Park District sprawls across more than 1,000 acres, engaging visitors with everything from sports to nature. Guests can wander through the foliaged paths of the Pilcher Park Nature Center and the organic community garden, or treat their senses to the floral colors and aromas that fill the bird-haven greenhouse. The 10,000-seat Joliet Memorial Stadium hosts high-school and college sporting events, while a dozen athletic fields fill with recreational players hitting baseballs, catching softballs, and spiking soccer balls when the referee isn't looking. During the summer, inner tubes transport patrons down Joliet Splash Station's high-speed water slides and 865-foot lazy river, and the glittery strands of Fourth of July fireworks color the skies above the stadium.
The resumé of award-winning actress and comedian Kathy Griffin sparkles with performative gems. Across a decades-long career she has garnered two Emmys for her Bravo show My Life on the D List, four Grammy nominations for her comedy albums, countless standup specials, and performances on television shows such as Suddenly Susan. A longtime Los Angeles resident and alumna of famed improv group The Groundlings, Griffin perches on the edge of Hollywood in crowd, allowing her to skewer stars' foibles and excesses using firsthand observations and a scandalously wicked sense of humor. The tales unfold in the palatial Rialto Square Theatre, replete with a stunning columned façade, a domed rotunda modeled on Rome's Pantheon, and a 20-foot chandelier dubbed the "Duchess" for its regal air and haughty frigidity around untitled light bulbs.
In 2011, the Slammers capped their inaugural season by rising from the ashes of the now-defunct Joliet JackHammers to claim the Frontier League championship. This year, the team begins its quest for a second title by playing their rivals, the Traverse City Beach Bums. 2011 All-Star Game MVP Erik Lis swings for the fences in hopes of topping last season's 20 home runs and 77 RBI. Similarly trustworthy at the plate, infielder Hector Pellot led the team last year with a .319 batting average. Before the opening day game, the team will take to the field for a ring ceremony commemorating last season's championship. The celebration provides a perfectly good excuse for the post-game fireworks display, which is intended to entertain fans and trick a local parliament of owls into thinking the sky wars have begun. In addition, attendees receive a magnet schedule to stay apprised of the Slammers' upcoming games as well as Slammers loot, which can be used as cash inside Silver Cross Field or aboard any pirate vessels docked in the parking lot.
As the Plainfield community has grown, so has its park district. Although the district was established in 1966, a population boom in the early '90s led to more diversified facilities, each one with different features. The Ottawa Street Pool, for example, invites visitors to bask in 200,000 gallons of crystal-blue water with diving boards and lap lanes, while the Normantown Trails Equestrian Center offers horseback-riding lessons and neighing tutorials in an indoor arena.
Pretty Muddy's founders designed their 5K obstacle course with a simple goal: to provide a stress-free opportunity for women to cut loose and have a blast in the mud with their friends. Women run or walk at their own pace, encountering low-pressure architectural obstacles along the way that are devoid of hay, splintering plywood, and axe-wielding trolls. The finishers sport post-race looks ranging from mud-drenched to only lightly splattered, depending on their course strategies.
Though the course architects designed obstacles to be fun, Pretty Muddy team members are stationed at each one to provide assistance, and obliging signs point out alternative routes for those who’d rather keep walking. The team often reminds participants that it isn’t about how many obstacles they surmount, but about sucking every drop of fun out of the experience.
At least two aid stations are present on every Pretty Muddy course to keep everyone well hydrated. After they finish, muddy ladies can compete for costume prizes, grab a drink and listen to the music, or free themselves of icky attire at onsite rinsing and changing stations.