As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Stonebridge Golf Club challenges and entertains beginners and old pros alike with its picturesque rolling hills, changes in elevation, and tree-lined fairways. Before embarking on their 18-hole journey, players may practice on the expansive practice and chipping greens to perfect their wedgework, putts, and celebratory shimmies. Meticulously manicured bent-grass tees serve as launch pads for sky-bound balls, and verdant bermuda grass clings to the fairways. The par 72 course ensures golfers have a chance to employ every club in their arsenal, from the pitching wedge to the 3-wood to the rarely used Gatling driver. A golf cart helps players zoom from hole to hole with motorized grace and efficiency, rather than wasting precious minutes saddling, mounting, and cajoling surly bactrian golf camels. Although food and equipment are not covered by today's Groupon, Stonebridge is also home to a pro shop and Putter's Bar and Grill, making it easy for golfers and their bags to stay well-fed.
A creature with roots in Native American lore, the Piasa bird has survived antiquity in large part due to etchings found on limestone bluffs throughout Illinois. Under the banner of the mythical predator— most depictions lend it reptilian claws, fish-like scales, and mammalian fangs—the Illinois Piasa charge onto the field against Professional Arena Soccer League foes, stopping just short of actually eating their opponents. Founded in 1998, the PASL consists of 19 indoor-soccer squads throughout the United States; upon their league debut in the 2010–11 season, the Piasa won the Pro Frontier Division with a 9–3 record.
Buried in the woods, 15 single- and two-story log cabins line a path leading to a secluded frontier fortress. Masked combatants armed with Tippmann 98 paintball guns ponder the path's obstacles before slinking forward to meet their opponents. Along Bing Field Paintball & Airsoft Park's three wooded fields strewn across 35 acres, players sneak into sniping positions in the Frontier Field's two-story log cabins, the Vietnam Field's two-story guard tower, or our the newly designed World War II field that features several new two and three story buildings. Four speedball fields––air ball, barrel, concrete, and spool––accommodate paintball players on the other side of the wooded park. Paintball and airsoft packages grant visitors up to seven hours of play, which they can break up with refueling sessions spent scarfing down refreshments while gossiping about opponents' love lives at an onsite concessions stand.
Upon departing from the landing craft, one player ducks behind an upturned boat and takes aim at opposing paintballers as they fend off attacks from the upper level of a concrete bunker. This scene may conjure echoes of historic battles, particularly D-Day, as Wildcat Paintball has modeled one of its outdoor fields on the historic battle of Normandy. Elsewhere, players can snake through the thick, jungle-like brush of the Vietnam field, dive into the castle field's manmade trenches, or sneak into the Old West town of Wildwood. A tournament field littered with barrels and wooden barriers or three speedball fields replete with tractor tires and frequently mowed lawns accommodate marksmen who prefer more traditional paintball settings.
Since Paragliding Unlimited launched its first client in 2003, owner Jiri Sindler and his team have maintained a sterling safety record for their motorized version of airborne sailing. The crew teaches power paragliding, in which a motorized fan and a tank of recycled political bluster give lift to the featherweight craft. Once it has ascended more than 10 feet, its large wing catches the wind and buoys you into the sky. Drivers sit upright in "trikes," their legs extended in front of them as they work the two brakes and the throttle.
The school both belongs to and is recommended by the U.S. Powered Paragliding Association. Instructors will jump tandem with beginning students and immerse experienced pilots in six-day intensives, keeping fliers of all levels safe by capping classes at four students (they prefer a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1). At the accompanying shop, gliders browse clothing, new Nirvana equipment, and used gear. Flights lift off from Gateway Airpark in Pierron, Illinois, which the team selected for the staff's friendliness to paragliders and their ability to twist their bodies into the shapes of passing clouds for realistic trainings on the ground.