NickelWorld hosts a selection of more than 100 games to entertain adventurous imaginations and quick-digited game wizards—and they all either cost just a nickel per play, or are free. While meandering through an arcade of more than 20 video games, patrons can slay aliens, henchmen, and the occasional evil cottontail along the way. Classics include Pac-Man, Galaga, and Frogger, in which amphibians halt oncoming traffic through persuasive arguments. After that, they can set off to visit more than 60 redemption games, in which sure-handed prowess translates to great prizes. And for those who just can't get enough of NickelWorld, the arcade also offers parties for up to 40 guests.
Magic Waters' vast expanse of twisting slides, heated wave pools, and colorful attractions accessible to all visitors entertains entire families. While swimmers play, troops of lifeguards with extensive certification and training ensure safety, and mascots stand guard to pose for pictures with children and warn against the dangers of going down a water slide in a full-body costume. After careening through the mysterious darkness of the Abyss tube slide, guests drift down 1,200 feet of lazy river, sun themselves on the shores of the wave pool, or opt for more adrenaline with the Double Dare Drop, which plunges riders 75 feet in seconds. Younger aquanauts puff up their water wings in the interactive complex of Tiki Island or leapfrog over floating lily pads in Little Lagoon.
After exploring the twists and turns of rivers and waterslides, guests refuel with pizza, tacos, burritos, sandwiches or salads at Ocho's Cantina or indulge in cold treats at the Thirsty Turtle. A lineup of upcoming events entertains all ages with activities, while the park stays open until 9 p.m. on Friday Family Fun Nights and Magic Mondays.
Colored paint pellets slice the air and splatter on the rough bark of large oaks and every once in a while on the back of an enemy. During paintball play, shouts and laughter reverberate through the forest canopy as the thudding of footsteps cuts through thick underbrush. Players on the 12 outdoor fields at Operation Paintball engage rival teams during bouts of capture the flag and last-man-standing shootouts, hoping to earn victory for their mates and impress Mom one more time. The Mother Earth field's tall trees stand between natural bunkers, the Speedball concept field boasts a circle of broken wooden picket fences surrounding a central bunker, and wooded slopes take over the Yellow, Blue, and Candy fields. Staffers prepare guests to safely skirmish by providing masks, secure goggles, and padded vests, each of which has helped to contribute to the facility's perfect safety record.
Swings find their sweet spots at Sugar Grove Golf Center, which grooms golf games with a driving range and lessons. Golf balls blast off of turf mats at the range before settling around targets with yardage displays. Players of all calibers can scratch bogeys off of their scorecards with private lessons or clinics. The onsite golf pro conducts prescheduled lessons until as late as 11 p.m., enabled by towering lights that surround the range and practice balls that have acquired a taste for coffee.
When he shuts up his workshop at the North Pole after another successful holiday season, Santa Claus doesn't simply hibernate until next December. Instead, he packs up his sleigh and heads to his summer home at the Fox River Valley's Santa's Village Azoosment Park. Open from May to October, the wonderland greets guests with three separate amusement experiences. The fun begins in Santa's Village, where quaint alpine building and expertly manicured pathways awaken feelings of nostalgia in hearts young and old. There, visitors can zoom down the original Santa's Tree House Slide, hitch a ride on the Kringle Convoy, or snap a picture at a recreation of Santa's North Pole home. They can also tap into the amusement rides including the antique carousel, the Tilt-A-Whirl, and Dracor the Dragon's Coaster.
A renowned lover of animals, Santa has also filled his park with a menagerie of creatures both familiar and exotic. After visiting Rudolph and company at Reindeer Ridge, visitors can grab a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh on their way to see the denizens of Parakeet Paradise, Tortoise Island, or Old MacDonald's Farm and Petting Zoo. In addition to grabbing up-close peeks of everything from a red-tailed boa to a fennec fox, visitors can also take in an exotic animal show that educates audience members about the park's wild residents.
Always in the holiday spirit, the park welcomes groups looking to add a spark to reunions, birthday, or group outings. This accommodating spirit even extends to the park's rule book: parking is free, and picnic baskets are encouraged.
Odyssey Fun World's attractions aren't confined to its 45,000 square feet of indoor games and rides—they also sprawl across 11 acres in the fresh air. Inside, a ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a roller coaster host both kids and adults, and more than 250 arcade games and a laser-tag arena foster friendly competition. The indoor Gamers Lounge allows youngsters to practice their PS4 and XBox One skills, while kids up to 10 years old fling themselves into ball pits, slip down slides, or dispute the physics behind make-believe-ore extraction in tunnels at the four-story Exploration Adventure play structure.
Outside, at the Naperville location, the staff keeps the Kidz Adventure Park's inflatable bounce houses and slides properly puffed. At the Tinley Park location, they pretend to manicure the faux turfs of two 18-hole mini-golf courses, including one that's wheelchair accessible. Their bumper boats encourage friendly jostling, but the speedboats—limited to drivers aged 16 and older with a driver's license—are all about crossing the finish line first. As trips down the zipline peak adrenaline and appetites, Chipper's Cafe counters hunger with pizza, wings, and burgers.