Filled with millions of dazzling lights, the 35-acre drive-through fantasyland at Santa's Magical Kingdom brings the North Pole to children, along with a chance to whisper wishes into Father Christmas's ear as cameras flash. The 4-story-tall doors to Santa's kingdom sweep open to admit slow-moving cars or turtle-drawn racing chariots into the holiday fantasyland. Eyes widen in wonder while taking in a 300-foot waterfall flowing from the clouds, Santa's reindeer soaring overhead, the fancy footwork of the bulbs in the Tunnel of Dancing Lights, and the giant gingerbread bulldozers of Candyland. Kids are welcome to drop off letters to Santa in his North Pole mailbox before stepping out of cars and into Kringle's General Store.
Youthful believers outfitted in bright smiles climb onto Santa's lap as photographers snap vivid, waterproof memories that are copyright-free and ready to be reproduced for holiday-card mailings or magazine-cover submissions. Before and after pictures, little ones and adults can let imaginations run wild through shelves brimming with unique holiday toys, gifts, and d?cor. Every evening, Santa's elves bake fresh chocolate chip cookies and their special recipe hot chocolate along with other goodies available at the snack bar, made from a secret recipe that's as coveted as the gold medal in the reindeer-games Olympics. Santa's Magical Kingdom opens every night at 5:30 p.m., from November 15, 2013, to January 5, 2014.
The Stallion and The Colt are the two courses at Crescent Farm Golf Club, the former being an 18-hole titan that spans more than 7,000 yards, and the latter a 9-hole, par-30 executive course. At The Stallion, golfers test their meddle amid heavily wooded areas, native grasses, and a dozen water hazards. The course's signature hole?the par-three eighth?features a tee shot that must clear a tree-lined pond. The architect behind the main course must have had a flair for the dramatic, as both nines close with the course's two most-difficult holes.
At The Colt course, small greens make approach shots a challenge, compensating for the modest length of certain holes. But while the two layouts offer different golfing experiences, they both weave through gently rolling terrain that makes walking or pushing a cart full of bunker sand across either course a breeze.
There are dartboards and pool tables aplenty inside J.P's, a down-to-earth sports bar with a model pub menu. Chase your game with a sourdough BLT or a thin-crust pizza with five kinds of meat. Or, pig out on pork wings and a big plate of nachos supreme. Chicken sandwiches get their own category here; you'll find six varieties, including grilled chicken, grilled blackened chicken, and you know what, I could really go for some grilled chicken. If the weather's fair, head outside to the beer garden for the alfresco version of J.P's.
For 12 years, Tapestry of Community Offerings (TOCO) has delighted children, parents, and passing wildlife with its music festivals, all while raising money and awareness for important community organizations. Profits raised by the family festivals helps TOCO with its direct-service programs, such as providing free clothing to families in need and sponsoring youth summer camps. TOCO also supports several other community organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Helping Hands Food Pantry, and the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois.
You can't run from your problems. But if you're fast enough, you can run from zombies. That's the idea behind Zombie Fright Run, a 5K that pits runners against the brain-hungry undead on the grounds of Six Flags Great Adventure. As some participants in running gear sprint past roller coasters and around swings, others in full zombie makeup lurch after them, attempting to grab flags from their belts. After the race, participants can spend the rest of the day in the amusement park or boogieing with fellow racers at the after-party.
Sugar Creek Golf Course connects 18 holes of elevated tees, tree-lined fairways, and tricky greens across 6,097 yards for a player-friendly, par 70 layout. Ponds come into play on three holes, adding variety to the scenic terrain and challenging golfers as they traverse the course while playing from one of three tee options. Sugar Creek also offers indoor par-hunting fun in the form of TruGolf golf simulators, which let golfers play on digital replicas of 60 famous courses, including Pinehurst No. 2 and Pebble Beach.