Between AD 700 and 1400, the city of Cahokia gradually rose from the floodplain of the Mississippi River to become the largest city north of Mexico. Across 6 square miles, its population of 20,000 people worked together to create a thriving community grounded in astronomy, agriculture, and economics. To this end, they erected large, lasting structures such as an enormous wooden calendar that notified citizens about the changes of the seasons. Giant earthen mounds served as the foundation of the city and the site of the big mud fight that decided the mayoral election each year.
Through careful excavation, research, and reconstruction, the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society aims to preserve the site and educate visitors about its importance. During visits, guests on self-guided tours can explore 800 acres of the city, including the 100-foot-tall Monks Mound and Woodhenge, the giant calendar.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Gateway Fun Park delights visitors year-round with a range of entertainment attractions for all ages—from group outings and birthday parties to packs of friends wiling away the afternoon. Mini golfers aim for the green amid two 18-hole courses' babbling brooks, stone partitions, and miniature buildings. Drivers safely let loose their suppressed road rage by bouncing into each other in bumper cars. A full-scale go-cart track gives lead feet of any age a taste of the open road, and the kiddie track lets kids ages 4–9 finally take the wheel their parents normally refuse to let them eat.
Trophy fisherman Walter Krause, who has 15 years' experience on the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail and the Pro Musky Tournament Trail, takes up to two anglers aboard his private boat for a guided trip through two fish-filled Illinois lakes. Whether plumbing the depths of Cedar Lake for striper or pursuing Kinkaid Lake—one of the top trophy-muskie lakes in Illinois—for oversize bass, muskies, and walleyes, participants benefit from Walter’s 46 years of experience and on-board depth finders and GPS. During the course of each customized trip, visitors learn how to track fish movements, how to properly hold rods, and how to train a wall-mounted singing fish to bait other fish with its seductive crooning. Walter provides each angler with life jackets, bait, tackle, and rods, although participants must bring their own fishing licenses, lunches, and weather-appropriate clothing.
Backed by the 28 years of dancing experience of owner and director Dawn Brooks, Dawn's Dance Depot offers a variety of boogie-bettering classes for anyone ages 2 and up. Children, teens, and baby-bodied Benjamin Buttons can enlist in any of schedule's dance classes, which incorporate multiple styles and skill levels.
Fitness and sport. McArther's Tae Kwon Do & Fitness focuses on both with traditional and sport tae kwon do classes. During those classes, students bust boards with fists of fury, master technique, and spar to enhance agility, strength, and balance. As they teach these skills, instructors also infuse students with the values of confidence and discipline. Similar benefits are bestowed during yoga and koryo gumdo—a martial art that employs the graceful use of the long sword.