Glow-in-the-dark palm trees rise above Englewood Fun Center’s 18-hole miniature golf course, greeting guests as they arrive to partake in any of the center’s indoor or outdoor attractions. Clients don Hawaiian leis before taking to the 18-hole, custom-designed mini golf course, where they will lope through a tropical pastiche of tiki huts, misting waterfalls, two ponds, and multiple bearded Tom Hankses. Indoors, scampering tykes can slip on socks and tumble freely among the cushy walls and elastic floors of the inflatable bouncing area, or try their hands at skee-ball and other games in the arcade. The indoor facility also encompasses three batting cages, where hitters shoulder their favorite bat or oversized banana and swing at soft or hardballs delivered at adjustable speeds and heights to accommodate all ages and skill levels.
The DVIDA-certified instructors at Always Ballroom Dance Studio believe that dance can benefit anyone, and uphold a policy of total acceptance across experience levels. On the glossy scape of blond hardwood floors, they monitor shimmies in both private and group lessons, prepping couples for their wedding-dance debut or showcasing a stock of nightclub moves. Pupils needn't reserve a spot or have a partner to attend most group sessions?the studio provides everything down to airsickness bags for soaring spins, and accommodates diverse tastes with more than 20 dance styles on its syllabus. Special events such as lock-ins and Salsa Saturdays top off the swinging schedule.
Dixie Twin Drive-In transports moviegoers back to the 1950s with a constantly changing selection of first-run films on two outdoor screens, one 120’ x 52’ and the other 100’ x 65’. Cars pull into the drive-in’s tree-enclosed grounds and tune into a private FM radio station, which provides the audio accompaniment to movies’ car chases, star-crossed love affairs, and alien invasions wedged awkwardly in the middle of historical biopics. The theater starts the season with weekend screenings, then kicks into full swing with daily screenings during the warmest weeks of summer.
The World Series of Comedy brings together a horde of more than 100 humorists from all over the country to compete for laughs and a grand prize of 37 weeks of work at comedy clubs across the nation. The competition gives audience members the pleasure of acting as judge and jury without the moral and legal gray areas of serving as executioner, allowing fans a say in which comics move on to the final showcase (panels composed of comedy bookers have the most influence in the judging process). Pick from 13 shows—three wild-card shows, eight preliminary shows, and two final rounds—each sporting a lineup of eight, 15, or, in the final showdown, three comics toiling for your approval. Call to reserve your tickets.
Rave Motion Pictures screens the summer blockbusters in 20 auditoriums outfitted with stadium seating. The theaters' digital projectors allow projectionists to easily play such gripping tales as Scream 4, a documentary about Sidney Prescott's return to Woodsboro, where Ghostface threatens the townspeople's safety (movies playing subject to change). Stretch out while watching as rows are spaced 48 inches apart from one another, one for each of the states recognized by most public-school systems. Check showtimes online for all the movies screening throughout the summer.
A freestanding climbing wall with craggy angles and multiple inclines steals the spotlight at Vandalia Recreation Center by soaring to 27 feet up the middle of an atrium. But climbing is far from the 58,000-square-foot center’s only attraction. Gravity-bound members burn calories at a fleet of cardio machines and build muscle with strength equipment and free weights in the fitness center, and a three-lane, 1/16-mile track helps runners train for catching the gingerbread man. At the Aquatic Center, a zero-depth entry pool welcomes swimmers who rack up laps and children who whoosh down a twisting waterslide and through a giant frog’s mouth or frolic in waterfalls. A vortex and bubble bench set the stage for aquatic fitness, useful for independent exercise or formal classes.
Aquatic aerobics sessions join plenty of other organized activities on the center’s bustling schedule of fitness classes. Students stretch during yoga, break a sweat to the Latin beats of Zumba, and pump their legs through spinning classes. While parents work up a sweat, their offspring head to childcare at Ricky’s Tiny Tikes (ages 6 months to 4 years) or Luther’s Jungle indoor playground. Here, children 4 and older clamber through the jungle-themed slides, tubes, and nets with the help of a bi-level play structure or polish their da Vinci forgeries with paper and crayons.