Just like at the beach, when you wade into Seafari Springs' zero-depth pool, the water will just cover your toes. Keep going, and the water's surface stretches farther and father above those toes, up to 12 feet at its deepest. Surrounding this pool are water-driven attractions designed for different ages. Little ones cluster around the Aqua Bloom, a blossom that sprays erratic streams of water from its center, much like a camel with holes in its humps. At Turtle Falls, a 13-foot waterfall douses visitors, while a wide swathe of grass nearby invites guests to let the sun lend its warmth or keep their coffee warm. Older kids zip down speed slides, tube slides, and a 130-foot long water slide. Meanwhile, the Oasis provides a variety of concessions to satisfy appetites.
Sea Lion Aquatic Park is more of a network than a single pool?the park splits its reservoirs into separate areas for different ages and activities. Six lanes stretch across the 25-yard lap pool, which also serves as home to the Sea Lion swim team. Two body flume slides twist and turn into landing pools, while two short drop slides send riders into a "splash playground" filled with interactive water games. The Vortex pool, on the other hand, creates water resistance that's ideal for water aerobics; but turn the other way, and it becomes a mini lazy river.
The park also hosts special events. These occasions might have kids build their own boats for a cardboard regatta, or bring in a DJ to prove just how hard it is to charleston with your legs under water.
With its bare hands, Norris Recreation Center tears through the piecemeal membership and class fees that keep exercisers from traditional gyms, and flings open the doors to its modern facility. A gift from the St. Charles–native Norris family, the nonprofit establishment makes living healthier a viable option. Within its stone walls, five dedicated rooms bustle with the whir of cardio and weight-training equipment, and swimmers careen down the 12 lanes of the 50-meter pool during lessons, lap swims, and open pool time. The squeaks of pivoting sneakers peal off the racquetball court's walls, and twosomes, foursomes, and Billie Jean King's army of clones descend on the four tennis courts, which guests rent by the hour. Members can simmer in the center's saunas or whirlpool, or shuck off tension with a swedish, sport-injury, orthopedic, or deep-tissue massage before showering and retrieving their gym bags from complimentary lockers.
Trained instructors lead 13 free classes throughout the week, with diverse aerobic curricula that include cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. For individualized guidance, personal trainers coach clients out of workout plateaus. As parents work out, childcare professionals engage lads and lasses with interactive games, toys, and movies in the center's nursery, where kids build social skills and imagination while pretending to be heroic astronauts, firefighters, or accountants.
Got Air Scuba employs a staff of passionate, knowledgeable PADI-certified instructors. They teach a variety of classes, ranging from introductory courses to advanced specialty courses, such as a rescue diver course and Divemaster program. To facilitate courses, the dive shop stocks gear from ScubaPro and Bare Dive Gear. Once students have learned the ins and outs of breathing underwater, they can partake in a trip to an exotic locale. Past destinations have included Cozumel, Mexico, and some really big puddles.
The Morton Grove Park District plays host to whole families with community-focused childcare, summer camps, fitness classes, and recreational programs. Preschool classes teach kids that classrooms are more than just growth chambers that middle schoolers walk into before emerging as bearded adults. Adults can stay fit with athletic programs or laps around the park's multiple pools. As visitors leave dance classes or wrap themselves in tinfoil to better reflect sunlight into the eyes of passing cyclists, they can take notice of the eco-friendly lighting of the Prairie View Community Center.
A PADI five-star dive center, D. D. Dive outfits novice swimmers with all the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to swim beneath the waves. Their courses are made up of classroom sessions, pool work, and open-water excursions to prepare each student according to PADI guidelines. The instructors also offer classes in rescue diving and diving-instructor as well as dive-master training, all of which are useful skills when working to open a dive school for dolphins. Once certified, new divers can go with the school on a globetrotting trip to a diving mecca such as Bonne Terre Mine, Kona, or the Galapagos Islands.