In 1997 PAWS Chicago set out to halt the unnecessary killing of thousands of homeless cats and dogs in the region, establishing a no-kill shelter and organizing public-awareness campaigns. More than 20,000 adoptions later, team members still visit Chicago Animal Care and Control every day to take as many pets into their care as they have room for, providing necessary medical attention as well as spaying and neutering services. The Luerie spay and neuter clinic and GusMobile spay and neuter van serve the pets of low-income families and tackle the problem of animal overpopulation in city neighborhoods, catching, treating, and releasing more than 18,000 cats and dogs every year to prevent the unchecked growth of local animal colonies. Through the Adoption and Humane Center in Lincoln Park, PAWS also adopts out animals that enter its shelters. The center maintains a cage-free facility to ensure pets live in comfort and dignity until they can be matched with an adoptive family.
As night falls, participants in the noncompetitive Rave Run pull on neon T-shirts, don glow-in-the dark glasses, and stuff their pockets with glow sticks. Spectators look on as the throng of illuminated runners, which includes kids and adults, make their way through a 5-kilometer course that winds through city streets.
The event culminates with an after party, where a DJ spin tunes and powerful lasers cast out beams that illuminate wide smiles and the secret locations of any lost arks in the vicinity. Fog machines and CO2 jets help create a high-adrenaline atmosphere as attendees dance with their glow-in-the-dark compatriots. All the fun is for a good cause; The Rave Run partners with a local charity in each participating city.
More than a decade ago, K9 Fit Club founder Tricia Montgomery admitted it to herself: She and her dog were both overweight. They set out to lose weight together, and after dropping more than 130 pounds, Montgomery created K9 Fit Club to share her success with others. The curriculum is focused on joint dog-and-owner workouts—the core classes include games of fetch, obstacle courses, and cardio exercises, and others cover tai chi and dancing. The success of Montgomery's program has captured the attention of The Biggest Loser producer David Broome, who will bring Montgomery's program to reality TV in 2014.
Each season, more than 222,000 plants change color at The Morton Arboretum–an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Ill. They originate from 40 countries in the northern hemisphere, which means an exploration of the arboretum's 1,700 acres is like a trip across America, China, and Europe. Throughout the year, scores of tree-focused events, activities, and services for adults, children, and professionals keep nature enthusiasts engaged and educated. The sights along its 16 miles of walking trails and nine miles of roads evolve yearly from rich greens in the spring and summer to a rainbow of yellow, orange, and red in the fall, before clearing its canvas in winter. Seasonal attractions, including Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, grant guests with a unique, interactive experience that includes dazzling light projections and electric splashes of color. Such events help summon more than 800,000 annual visitors to the grounds and more than 36,000 member households, all of which visit between 7 a.m. and sunset, daily.
The Geneva Park District encompasses 50 parks and 3,000 annual programs over its 700 acres. Stone Creek, a river-themed mini-golf course with a windmill, water wheel, creek with real running water, and a wishing well offer playful variations on the sport of kings, and is great for groups, parties, or picnics.