Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
In this professionally mentored Teen Driving Academy, developing drivers perform four drills reproducing common road issues, learn the finer points of vehicular dynamics, and study strategies for avoiding problems caused by other drivers. After an 8 a.m. breakfast and classroom time, students pile into the nine Autobahn-provided Mazdas, where they safely practice reflex-testing accident avoidance, wet-weather ABS usage, slalom drills, skid-control exercises, and proper hanging of fuzzy dice in an ornately wheeled, horseless training buggy. Lunch is also included, followed by a second classroom segment and more drills. Beyond highway-hugging safety, teens will also learn the basics of auto maintenance.
Housing whiz-bang activities sprung to life from the mind of owner and game designer J. Richard Oltmann, Enchanted Castle coaxes thrills from the young and young at heart. As bumper cars clunk together and a game room rings with the peal of 250 pay-as-you-play games, Enchanted Castle’s 60,000 square-foot space fills with scenes fit for dream-like days of timeless tomfoolery without a fee for admission. A laser tag arena hosts light-based combat, a miniature golf course tests putting mettle, and an indoor go-kart track lets driver reenact the time that the Indianapolis 500 was hosted inside a local gymnasium. Platefuls of wings, pizzas, and sandwiches dot tabletops in the dining area, where visitors can feast in front of karaoke, big screen TVs, and an animatronics stage show featuring in-house band the Jammin’ Jesters.
Route 66 Raceway's Test & Tune events give ordinary fans the chance to experience the exhilaration of being a professional NHRA drag racer. After their vehicles pass an NHRA technical inspection, drivers hit the pavement in their own cars or motorcycles to peel out down a quarter-mile strip without any speed limits or construction zones. The events welcome drivers of all experience levels, whether they're racing for the first time or tuning up a veteran vehicle.
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.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.