Kids can experience the sensation of weightlessness over and over again at Kids World Gymnastics, which counts an in-ground trampoline amongst its 19,000 square feet of gymnastics equipment. Kids can experiment with backflips an tumbles on the trampoline, which has a foam pit around it to ensure safety. There's also a preschool section where younger kids can play comfortably without the threat of a noogie. Classes feature expert instructors that teach age-appropriate tricks as well as skill-specific maneuvers for gymnastics or cheerleading.
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.
The classically focused Alexandra Ballet entertains audiences with a well-rounded dance diet ranging from contemporary original pieces to traditional masterworks. The company’s agile dancers have pirouetted their way to uproarious applause in past performances that include The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Peter and the Wolf. Since 2003, the company has enriched the community through its educational-outreach programs, which provide youngsters with free learning materials and ballet performances throughout the school year.
The floating oak dance floor of U Can Dance Studio has been privy to myriad styles of fancy footwork since its inception in 1991, from ballroom and swing to hip-hop, disco, and samba. Stretching across 4,000 square feet, the pristine surface supports the nimble soles of the studio's certified instructors, who expertly lead students of all ages and levels during group classes and private lessons. Public dance parties beckon pupils to show off their newly gleaned skills and pictures of their dog wearing a tutu to one another in an encouraging environment.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, recognized as the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Their chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, will also see its hooky anthems represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Wunderkind Rachel Crow of The X-Factor fame and Australian heartthrob Cody Simpson start the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.
For the fourth race on its 2012 tour, the American Drag Racing League returns to Gateway Motorsports Park's 1/8-mile drag strip for the first time since 2010. Piloting dragsters separated into seven all-professional racing classes, from Top Sportsman to Pro Extreme, drivers rocket down the track so quickly that they finish each race younger than when they began. The SuperCar Showdown—a new feature on the 2012 circuit—pits the latest consumer automobiles against one another in no-holds-barred drag race free from the usual handicaps, performance restrictions, and rules against fiddling with rival drivers' preset radio stations. After reopening under the helm of former Indy driver Curtis Francois, Gateway Motorsports Park has stepped up its devotion to motorsports of all kinds, looking beyond the drag strip to fill its amphitheater-style seats with fans of everything from hot rods to world-class stock cars.