Beneath the night sky's smattering of stars, Cascade Drive-In projects double features of the latest first-run films. Customers tune car radios to 88.5 FM or attach celebrity impersonators to their car windows to hear audio synchronized to the narratives unfurling onscreen. Throughout the evening, moviegoers can chow down on Cascade Drive-in's concessions or dump their own charcoal into the theater's onsite grill to simmer feasts for friends gathered in the picnic area.
Raging Buffalo's adrenaline junkies have turned their athletic addiction into a successful enterprise by offering snowboarding and wakeboarding lessons to beginners and experienced riders. In the summer, their instructors take to the wake for lessons that start at the wakeboard school—open since 2001—before taking students on 15-minute riding sessions. When winter comes, the instructors dry-dock their boards in local bear caves and show students how to navigate the drifts with snowboard lessons at their ski park, which opened in 1992. Additionally, Raging Buffalo plays host to a variety of events, from rail jams to USASA competitions.
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.
Home to a frog-tongue slide and bordered by a pair of serpentine water slides, Lords Park Aquatic Center’s 14,142-square-foot recreation pool mixes water with whimsy to the delight of guests of all ages. In addition to the child-friendly fare, the Elgin Parks and Recreation facility invites older splashers to use the cordoned-off lap-swimming area, where they can practice their freestyle strokes and flip turns. Outside the zero-depth pool borders lie a sand volleyball court, a concession area, and plenty of chairs for poolside relaxation.
Paintball Explosion began when a group of paintball fanatics decided to make their dreams a reality and set about designing eight different fields of movie-set quality. Located just a 40-minute drive outside of Chicago, the real-life fantasy land they created includes the sci-fi-inspired, concrete environs of Code Black Field as well as the abandoned amusement-park setting of Biohazard Field.
The expansive facility also sports indoor and outdoor speedball fields for adrenaline-fueled fastness. Between matches, gamers can prepare at heated buildings with locker rooms and showers. With an onsite sports bar and grill, Paintball Explosion makes the paintball haven a place where enthusiasts can discuss the forces of velocity, wind resistance, and the physics of splatter.
When the Halloween season rolls around, the park puts away the holly in favor of haunted fun. The Nightmare from North Street haunted barn promises ghosts, zombies, ghouls, and goblins in spooky, family oriented attractions. Santa’s Village Azoosment Park is open Friday and Saturday nights during October, offering rides, games, eats, treats, and an outdoor beer garden.
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's Dragon Coaster.
A renowned lover of animals, Santa has also filled his park with a menagerie of animals 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.
In addition to the traditional rides that have made the park a destination for generations of families, Santa's Village Azoosment Park also welcomes new thrills for the 2013 season. The Ding'em Dodge'em Bumper Cars invite drivers to live out demolition derby fantasy's from the safety of a rubber-ringed car. 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.