Go-karts roar across the racetrack, bumper boats collide, and the cracking sound of confined home runs rings out from batting cages. This multisensory symphony fills the landscaped grounds of Fun Time Square, where attraction after attraction beckons visitors of all ages to kiddie train rides, 18 holes of mini golf, and the blinking lights of pinball machines in the onsite arcade. More intense thrills unfold at a paintball field, where abandoned cars, inflated cover, and war-torn art teachers guard players from enemy paint.
Aboard Seabreeze Charter's 36-foot cruising yacht, passengers slice through Lake Michigan's waves, steered by the steady hand of United States Coast Guard-certified captain Lorenzo Carrer. A native of Italy, Carrer has sailed in the Mediterranean and traced passages through the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast. Also decorated with various racing awards, Carrer now helms the yacht during chartered trips, and graciously hands over the wheel when instructing new sailors in the waters near Navy Pier. The vessel itself features two private cabins and a radio with an iPod connector, on which patrons can play classic maritime ballads about the difficulty of untying boating knots. In addition, an on-board life raft and a digital emergency call feature guard the boat against potential mishaps.
Following the precise baton sweeps of maestro Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony crashes through selections from its American Mavericks Festival, which showcases provocative pieces by iconoclastic composers. The evening opens with Henry Cowell's Synchrony, originally written to accompany a dance by famed choreographer Martha Graham. The composition anchors itself to contemplative trumpet solos intertwined with wistful piccolo before giving way to the discordant bombast of timpani, cymbals, and gong. Absolute Jest, composed by living legend John Adams, receives its Chicago premiere, combining the typhoon of a full symphony with the nimble unity of the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Like a DJ wearing a powdered wig, the piece splices together scherzos from Beethoven's late string quartets, building a new composition out of fragments from the master's work. Finally Charles Ives's Concord Symphony—orchestrated by Henry Brant—commemorates the New England transcendentalists, with each movement creating a tonal portrait of a different thinker's philosophy. The ominous swell of bassoon and violin in the first movement echoes Emerson's revelation of man knocking at destiny's door, and the majestic woodwinds and flute in the fifth movement's opening reflect nature, which had a heavy impact on Thoreau (himself a flutist).
Evergreen Racquet & Fitness Club's 94,000-square-foot recreational facility is loaded with racquetball courts teamed up with a heated pool and fitness room. Clients reserve their slot and then step onto one of four racquetball courts for a round of racket-based ball swatting and sweat-band-absorbency testing. For a pre- or postgame workout, patrons can head into the fitness room to break a sweat on rows of treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes lined up before dumbbells and Cybex weight machines. Kids age 6 and younger enjoy a tots-only sprinkler area, and the 30’x50’ heated outdoor pool lends moisture to workouts and powdered energy drinks. To soothe muscles after a session of beefing, ligaments unwind in the whirlpools and dry-heat saunas in the locker rooms. Though not included in today's Groupon, patrons can partake in volleyball, basketball, and the batting cages and fielding area for an additional fee.
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After attending boot camps for a while, Maizah's motivation fizzled and she dropped the course. But refusing to accept defeat— even if it weren't his own—The Boot Camp Guy's cofounder, Chris Brown, gave her a call and made a case. He showed her some before-and-after shots of people she'd met at the sessions before she left—and was astounded by their transformations.
"That could have been me," she kept thinking. So she headed back to class determined that this time, it would be. Months later, she'd gone from a size 16/18 down to a size 12 with extra energy to boot.
As a former Marine with 14 years of professional fitness experience and a passion for helping people reach their goals, Chris knows that boot camp isn't about the stereotypical screaming drill sergeants depicted on TV. Instead, he and his trainers employ a realistic, no-scales and no-diets philosophy and focus on supplying their students with the motivation they need. They identify each student's fitness level within moments and calibrate their workouts accordingly, pitching the signature boot-camp classes at beginner, intermediate, and expert levels. This approach seeks to get students to their own desired level of "skinny", whether that's a size two, size 14, or any other goal. The trainers further outfit their boot-camp base model with nine different tracks—with one designed to shed weight—and total-body sessions up the ante with weights, resistance bands, and mat exercises to strengthen entire physiques rather than honing in on left pinkies. They also encourage students to eat the food they enjoy, and to be mindful of which nutrients their body needs to address deficiencies and restore balance.
The fitness menu unfurls a feast of other group classes. Cycle circuits combine intensive spinning with ab work on the turf and toning dumbbell drills. Cardio-kickboxing classes blend aerobics, boxing, and martial arts. All told, they offer more than 100 classes each month from their well-stocked studio, which the staff stocks with free weights, strength-training machines, exercise balls, and resistance bands.
Yamaha jet skis speed across Lake Michigan like waterproofed motorcycles. They're departing from the 31st Street Harbor home base of Chicago Jet Ski Rentals. The jet skis certainly offer high-velocity thrills, but the most exhilarating moments may come when riders take their hands off the throttle and survey their surroundings. The entire Chicago skyline stretches before them, with unencumbered views of Soldier Field, Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Adler Planetarium, and other landmarks.
But customers don't need motor-power to access these sights. Chicago Jet Ski Rentals also supplies standup paddleboards and kayaks. The fleet encompasses standard kayaks and specialty models such as the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island, which boasts pedal-based propulsion and magnificent sails. For elevated adventures, the team fires up FlyBoards, which use a water-propulsion system to transform people into superheros who can fly up to 40 feet in the air and dive underwater faster than Aquaman during an awkward pause in conversation.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.