With more than 700 slot machines in a variety of formats and a plethora of other table games, the Catfish Bend Casino offers a spectacular experience for those looking to roll the dice. Lucky chance-takers can rack up the dough on progressive games like Sex and the City, Wheel of Fortune and the exclusive Burlington Express, which doles out up to $10,000 and two live butterflies in daily jackpots. Visitors can also browse new novelty games like Ruby Slippers and The Wizard of Oz. To redeem this Groupon, guests must join Catfish Bend Casino's Players Club, a free club which rewards members with free slot play, free high-fives, and credits at the nearby Spa at Catfish Blend, Boogaloo Cafe, and Edgewater Grille.
At Discover Powered Paragliding, pilot Michael Mixer positions aspiring paragliders on proper flight paths with instructional voyages and a complete line of BlackHawk paramotors. Michael’s expertise is the result of seven years of flying ultralight planes, and he continues to fine-tune his skills by taking off on an engine-assisted paraglider at least three times a week. The gliders—tricycle-like contraptions that can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour—allow Michael and a tandem pilot to ascend up to 18,000 feet in the air. Flights depart in the calm air of early morning, as well as two to three hours before sunset, giving passengers the opportunity to admire bursts of color on the horizon and steer clear of the migratory pathways of feral fighter jets.
With everything from swimming lessons for kids to softball leagues for adults in its arsenal, the staff at the City of Fairfield Parks & Recreation Offices fight boredom and inactivity one event at a time. At the Roosevelt Recreation and Aquatic Center adults take to the indoor pool for fitness classes before relaxing in the hot tub or sauna to let their exhausted muscles get in a good cry. Throughout the area, outdoor shelters provide cover for barbecues, and racquetball courts host tournaments. Both during the summer and school year, wee ones benefit from trampolining classes and soccer clinics.
The sun and the stars serve as constant companions at Hillcrest Event Center, where a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and camping grounds entertain visitors day and night. A breezy par 30, the executive course caters to all experience levels, inviting beginners to take on its short holes while letting seasoned golfers hone their approach shots. After navigating the water hazards, guests can purposely head to the Olympic-sized swimming pool, which ripples at the center of a 3,000-square-foot sundeck where waiters serve poolside food and drinks. Or, dine at The BBQ Pit, home of the Illinois BBQ Fest.
As the sun sets, the crackling glow of fires peppers the campgrounds, illuminating the nylon sides of tents or canvas hulls of mobile RVs. Tent sites include access to the resort's hot showers and restrooms, while the RV facilities' hookups pump water and electricity into mobile homes so residents can bathe in private and use electric carving knives for whittling. When the sun rises, residents can begin their day with a hike on the resort's nature trails.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickles ears with beautiful melodies and spectacular performances during its annual "Holiday Pops" concerts. Guest conductor Michael Butterman takes charge of an all-star cast that features six-time U.S. figure-skating champion Todd Eldredge as he shows off his moves and carves his version of a perfect tumbleweed into the ice. Actor and Quad Cities native John Getz lends his vocal talents to festive proceedings, and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Jon Faddis jazzes up orchestral pieces with fiery improvisation. The show takes place at the i wireless Center, with guests choosing from lower-bowl seats for straight-ahead sightlines or upper-bowl perches for enviable views of conductor stage dives.
The Niabi Zoo houses 900 animals from 160 species hailing from a quintet of continents on its 40-acre grounds. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, this Midwestern menagerie abides by rigorous standards for bird and beast welfare. Traverse the educational trails, sighting zebras, ostriches, and giraffes trying on oversized bowties in the African exhibit or large cats such as the jaguar, leopard, and bengal tiger. The Niabi Zoo also protects 200 acres of area land for native wildlife preservation and bocce-ball tournaments.
Nestled in bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, the Great River Road Golf Club grants swift access to Nauvoo’s rolling hills, picturesque wineries, and more than 60 restored historic sites, including Joseph Smith's homestead. Guests can enjoy the rustic scenery along the Scenic Rivers Wine Trail, which winds past 15 regional wineries, or ride a horse-drawn carriage through Nauvoo’s historical district, which is nestled in the Mississippi River region's rich farmland. After a day of exploring, guests can admire the resort’s lush golf course from the deck of their two-bedroom condo, replete with a full kitchen, two bathrooms, satellite TV, and a holographic Tom Brokaw to recite the day's local astronomy news. The area’s restaurants and historical breweries make for romantic and lively dinner options, and intrepid gamers can cross state borders for gambling at Catfish Bend Casino or Terrible’s Mark Twain Casino.