Pump It Up's two indoor inflatable arenas bounce socked striplings high off the ground with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Trained, amiable staffers supervise fun-filled visits where parents can leap around with their kids through gargantuan, air-filled bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an air-filled obstacle course. Attendees can also focus their free play for special events, such as custom birthday parties and themed, private team parties. These themed soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. Both giant arenas are climate controlled and maintained according to rigorous guidelines enforced by the well-trained staff and local police. Supplementing its thorough rule enforcement with expert installation and anchoring, Pump It Up holds itself to strict safety standards.
Chicago Photo Safaris founder Gary Gullett enlists an eagle-eyed staff with a passion for helping amateur photographers capture their surroundings in captivating ways. A team of drivers, classroom instructors, and tour guides delivers photography education across all seven continents, as well as Amelia Earhart's secret eighth continent. The staff members boast photography experience from institutions including Professional Photographers of America and National Geographic.
Chicagoans may have noticed the city looking a little bluer lately. That's not due to seasonal gloom. This blue is reminiscent of the sky on a sunny day—the kind that invites a leisurely bike ride around town on one of Divvy's blue-painted cycles. There are currently more than 3,000 of them cruising the streets and parked at 300 solar-powered, touch-screen-equipped stations, which make up Chicago's still-expanding but already highly popular bike-share program.
Getting in on the action is simple. Purchasing a 24-hour pass or an annual membership lets you unlock any bike at any Divvy station. After adjusting its seat to fit your height and the number of streamers you want to tie to the seat post, it's ready to take for a ride—perhaps along the Lakefront Trail, to work, or on an adventure with friends. If your trip lasts less than 30 minutes, you won't pay anything extra. For longer jaunts, you can pay an overtime fee or just re-dock your bike at any station and take out another one. (Stations have twice as many docking spots as bikes, so you should never have trouble finding a parking space.) Annual members can pick up accessories such as helmets with gear discounts at a wide range of bike shops, or just feel extra-special with perks at participating restaurants and other businesses.
The cheery blue bikes themselves are designed for smooth city riding. An internal gear system means there's no chain to snag pant legs or skirt hems, and a front rack relieves shoulders of purses and bags. Flashing front and rear lights and a bell ensure that other road and path users know that you're rolling through.
Most Divvy rides go smoothly, but sometimes you?ll hit a bump along the way. Be prepared with these tips and tricks for bike-share newbies.
In the spirit of the city motto, "Urbs in horto" (City in a Garden), Chicago established its first parks in 1869. The Chicago Park District as it exists today was created in 1934 and holds sway over 8,200 acres of open space, including 31 beaches, 40 nature areas, and upward of 570 parks. But the park district provides access to more than just the green expanses of its outdoor domain; its facilities harbor the waxed hardwood of indoor basketball courts, the chlorinated splashes of swimming pools, and other features that facilitate active lifestyles. Park administrators offer athletic programming year round, as well as seasonal events such as autumn pumpkin patches and summer's Movies in the Park, part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks initiative, which features more than 750 citywide cultural and arts activities. The park district also oversees many local civic landmarks, including the iconic Buckingham Fountain.
The teachers and child development professionals at Bubbles Academy operate on a very simple principle: it is never too early, or too late, to start learning. That's why their music classes start practically at age nothing, and fitness classes go all the way up to mom and dad ages.
Still, the main focus of the curriculum is early childhood education, and the structure of the program is designed to help little ones achieve developmental milestones through art and play. From the cooking class for 2- to 6-year-olds to the Bubble Step class that encourages 2.5- to 3.5-year-olds to gently separate from caregiver, the programs at Bubbles Academy are meant to ensure kids grow up to be curious, creative, and confident. Bubbles Academy's programs have attracted the attention of some high-profile moms: Laurel at Chicago Mom Source called Bubble Academy's programs "perfect for a child who will be starting preschool soon."
It seems like the stuff of the silver screen: in 1997, husband and wife Donzell and Alisa Starks realized their dream of bringing movies back to Chicago’s South and West sides. Luckily for film fans, this story is true—the Starks founded ICE Theaters, the first African-American-owned theater chain in the country. Today, the cinemas stand as hubs of community and culture in the neighborhoods they serve, entertaining audiences with new Hollywood releases screened alongside independent films highlighted in their Black World Cinema and Shortcutz series.