A A C Auto Clinic's ASE-certified technicians work to keep drivers safely and smoothly rolling across American roadways. During an oil change, mechanics replace motors' used oil with up to 5 quarts of 10W-30 oil, quickly screwing in a new filter when the car's not paying attention. For those who choose the first option, a tire rotation switches wheels around so rubbery soles can take turns being in front and avoid uneven wear and tear. Technicians can also install a new set of wiper blades (up to 21" long), which help drivers see the road while driving through snow, sleet, or Rain Man posters. During the 30–45 minute service, the shop's play area distracts kids as well as adults who are still children at heart.
Sam Meineke opened his three-bay muffler shop in 1972 with a single product line, and through time, he and his successors have expanded the business into a complete automotive car-care center. Today, nearly 900 franchise owners operate their locations around the globe, still standing on the firm foundation of Sam's ideal of nursing vehicles back to health at fair prices. Meineke Car Care Center's mechanics perform an array of services, keeping rides running in showroom condition with tune-ups, 23-point inspections, tire rotations, and deep-tissue windshield massages.
So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
Bloomingdale Park District's The Oasis Water Park welcomes splishers and splashers with three separate playscapes dedicated to aquatic fun. 'Cuda Cove devotes itself to exercise with its eight-lane competitive lap pool, and the one- and three-meter diving boards that launch human cannonballs or real cannonballs that just want to know what it's like to be a human child. More leisurely pool-goers can saunter over to Mango Bay, where they'll find a zero-depth entry pool complete with geysers, spilling buckets, and water slides that send guests careening into the pool below from heights of ten stories. Otter Island invites tiny fun-seekers to run wild in a safe playground complete with water cannons and pint-sized slides.
For more than 40 years, the Bloomingdale Park District has been creating safe and healthy spaces for active families and energetic children. The park district oversees more than 160 acres of open space, as well as 2,400 exercise and enrichment programs for children, seniors, and Dorian Grays in need of a new hobby. Its central hub, the 21,000-square-foot Johnson Recreation Center, teaches agile arts of gymnastics and dance while hosting the furious bouts of roundball on four basketball courts.
The delighted squeals of playing children reverberate off of Little Monkey Bizness’s brightly hued walls, imbuing the space with an atmosphere of joyful energy throughout the day. The indoor play space welcomes youngsters age 8 and under to scurry in for hours of unstructured play on its well-maintained equipment, and an art room keeps imaginations fired up. A separate space for babies grants kids aged 6 months to 1 year a safe space where they can practice their crawling skills. Private party rooms facilitate rousing renditions of "Happy Birthday," and an onsite café keeps tummies from grumbling thanks to a collection of kid-friendly snacks and adult-friendly coffee.
The only thing better than tailgating with friends is tailgating with professional football players. At Corporate Tailgate, partygoers have the chance to toast and mingle with former Chicago Bears players during celebratory pre-game festivities held in the sprawling Adler Planetarium lot. As attendees trade game stats and toss around football-shaped watermelons, they can also savor chef-made meals and dance to tunes spun by a live DJ.