A bomb has been planted, and each passing tick threatens to steal what is rightfully yours: victory. Laser tag guns and teamwork can stop it, along with the ability to crack the code. There's just one more problem?a rival team dead set on chaos. This type of game, called "Search and Destroy," is just one of a dozen mission types at CMP Tactical Lazer Tag's locations. The CMP empire has spread to four cities in three states: Milwaukee, Des Moines, Frankfort, and Lake Geneva. At each one, the staff breaks up games into different sessions and multiple objective-based tasks, such as rescuing hostages or pulling off a heist so players never have to pay for ice cream again.
Depending on the location, these tactical missions might take place indoors or outside. In Des Moines, The Plaza surrounds teams in two levels with multiple buildings and a balcony, which offers elevated views of opponents. Geneva's The Wasteland, on the other hand, claims to be the "largest dedicated outdoor laser tag battlefield in the world." Stacks of lumber and buildings forged from railroad ties grant precious cover, as does the natural foliage. Regardless of the location, sessions begin in the armory, where players suit up in all the requisite laser tag gear.
Creepy Hallow Halloween Fun Park, like a friendly man that transforms into a ravenous werewolf, boasts two very different sides when entertaining customers. During the day, revelers of all ages frolic through pumpkin patches and enjoy hayrides after bouncing inside a moonwalk and visiting friendly animals at the petting zoo. But as the sun goes down, the ghosts and ghouls come out in full force. Blood Shed haunted house entices those brave enough to enter its halls and escape with their lives, while haunted hayrides put riders on a crash course with all manner of horrors. On the zombie-hunt paintball ride, customers, with weapon in hand, can wreak a terrible vengeance upon undead hordes.
Across two floors and 6,700 square feet, KidsWork Children's Museum's prompts hands-on play with scores of new exhibits. A table-top interactive computer, or SMART table, stimulates kids' brains with interactive puzzles and games. A weekly music class on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. invite kids to make some noise with instruments made from recycled materials. Interlocking wooden builder boards encourage open-ended play; there's also a floor piano, an interactive ATM, and story time at 10 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. The museum welcomes field-trip groups and birthday parties to explore its innards as well as special-needs families, members, and walk-in visitors.
While large groups are welcome, each child is celebrated through hands-on play. Just look at the gigantic, three-dimensional Pinscreen exhibit, a jumbo version of the classic toy that uses sliding pins to create a 3-D impression of whatever you press into them—in this case, your entire body. Along with the Lincoln-Way North Key Club, the Frankfort Fire Department helped construct the three walls by painstakingly inserting nearly 200,000 pins by hand. Their effort resulted in one of the museum's most popular interactive displays. More than that, it reflects the sense of community, curiosity, and creativity that the museum strives to engender in its patrons.
When Director Tony Youhanna and George Solomos founded Little Legends Soccer Academy in 2009, they found themselves filling a niche. At the time, the North Shore offered no quality soccer coaching for youngsters interested in the game. Their first session was a success, drawing thirty eager players, but it didn't prepare them for the popularity that was to come. Since that day, the academy has ballooned: more than 300 children ages 24 months to 8 years old are currently enrolled in its various programs.
Each clinic helps kids build soccer fundamentals such as foot skills, passing, and receiving in an environment that encourages fun and teamwork. Very young players—24 to 36 months—start off in the Born to Kick program, which couples soccer skills with mind-nurturing topics such as shapes, colors, and vocabulary. As children get older and their skills progress, they move into clinics aimed at more advanced techniques, eventually putting them to work in games. The academy's Space program—standing for speed, agility, core, and endurance—does away with the soccer ball altogether, focusing instead on exercises to improve footwork, speed, and balance.
With two 18-hole courses and one 9-hole course under its pristine jurisdiction, Green Garden Country Club binds together 45 distinct holes molded to its naturally undulating terrain. The club’s original 18—known today as the Blue Course—winds through dense woods and over numerous swings in elevation, while its other 18, the Gold Course, holds one of the club’s most celebrated features in the 10th hole’s island green. Meanwhile, the 9-hole Emerald Course, the club’s newest, mixes up the style of play with a Scottish links layout, rewarding accuracy off the tee and steadiness in the face of stiff breezes and upturned kilts.
Though on-course play is subject to the whims of Mother Nature, practice at Green Garden Country Club is a year-round affair. In the warm months, players iron out slices and hooks on the 30-acre driving range and calibrate touch on the 10,000-square-foot putting green. When the weather turns colder, players can haul their sticks to the club’s Golf Dome, where they’ll find 42 hitting stations on two levels and practice greens for perfecting putts, chips, and celebratory backflips.
The certified instructors at Heatwave Dance Fitness Club lead effective group workouts that tone the body and liberate the mind. The newly constructed facility offers more than 200 classes each month, spread across all seven days of the week.
Heatwave's variety of boot camps target a wide range of body parts: for instance, kettlebell classes provide a surprising cardio workout that also builds muscles with long swings of the weights. The TRX suspension system is behind the toning powers of other sessions, forcing arms and legs to work against the body's own weight. Body resistance is important in yoga fitness as well, though the motions are relatively low impact and also build flexibility. The Latin rhythms of Zumba or the pop and hip-hop beats of Dance Heat classes take dancers' attentions away from the toils of exercise, turning heart-pumping aerobic routines into raucous dance parties, just like every time James Brown ran the Boston Marathon. Parents can truly focus on their workouts by leaving kids safely the in facility's daycare center.