Designed in a country-club style by PGA professional Gordon Cunningham, Woodbine Golf Course welcomes linkspeople with 6,020 yards of challenging tracts populated with bentgrass tees, fairways, and greens. The layout’s five ponds, natural-grass preservation areas, and clusters of grabby-branched trees have beckoned both low- and high-handicap golfers for nearly a quarter of a century. A contorted fairway and aquatic hazard make the 14th hole the course’s hardest, and the 4th hole ranks second hardest with a tricky dogleg left whose elbow hosts a sand bunker that lures distractible golfers with a siren song of sandcastles.
After games, golfers can retreat to Woodbine's clubhouse. At the Timber Restaurant and Bar, flat-screen TVs flicker above a long wooden bar, diners feast on pasta and pot roast, and a stone fireplace provides the ideal backdrop for tales about 9-irons that transformed into 10-irons with hard work and a little gumption.
Course at a Glance:
Mullets Sports Bar and Restaurant’s rosy interior brims with a huge range of time-tested pub foods and a full bar, all basking in the glow of 41 flat screen televisions. The menu's bevy of appetizers, each as American as John Wayne hugging apple pie, eases hunger-hammerers into culinary bliss with golden-fried queso cubes ($5.99) and beer battered cheese curds ($6.99). Sink canines into a hamburger Hercules crowned with pepper-jack cheese, jalapeño bacon, fresh lettuce, and tomato ($8.99) and chicken and veggie patties wait in the wings, ready to be tagged into epicurean battle by their beef brothers. Neptunian noshers opt for the surf 'n' turf wrap filled with steak, shrimp, pico de gallo, and provolone ($10.99).
Harrison's Restaurant & Brewery has been pleasing palates with a menu of comforting pub fare and handcrafted beer for more than 14 years. After toasting with chilled glasses of hoppy Millennium pale ale or fruity raspberry wheat, diners chat or recite favorite Golden Girls quotes over savory appetizers such as Harrison's platter––a sampling of hot wings, ribs, potato skins, and nachos. Entree-sized appetites seek solace in a plate of baby back ribs, slow roasted with chipotle barbecue sauce and a hint of Harrison's Black Diamond stout, or a 24-ounce porterhouse broiled to order. A dozen different sandwich options fend off hunger pains with the 10-ounce char-grilled burger, grilled mahi served on a caper mayo-smothered pretzel bun, and a brat marinated in Harrison's red ale then topped with grainy mustard and served on a french baguette that's as soft as a gummy bear's dreams.
The Center has welcomed kids onto its farm since 1936. It probably wasn't as much of a novelty back then, when Illinois was home to more than 220,000 farms and the U.S. government issued everyone a farmer's hat at birth. But that number has decreased steadily with each decade, dropping to just 76,000 by 2010, per the USDA. Which means that today, The Children's Farm at The Center gives kids and their families something increasingly special: the chance to experience life on an independent rural farm. Here, chickens lay eggs, goats give milk, and horses eat hay harvested right on the farm. The staff also leads tours of these grounds and explains how each animal fits into farm life. They even let kids pet some of the livestock before finishing up tours with a hayride.
For a completely immersive experience, The Children's Farm hosts summer camps for ages 3–17. During each camp session, campers live on the farm for days or weeks at a time, spending their days riding horses and caring for the animals.
Since 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been one of America's favorite sources of sports entertainment and methods of resolving tied gubernatorial elections. UFC has now set its sights on granting regular people with the fitness of its TV fighters by opening a series of professional gyms. There, group classes taught by professional fighters and coaches help members hone both their bodies and their minds with the practice of kickboxing, MMA, and muay thai. Guests may burn between 800 to 1,000 calories per class for some disciplines. Other programs include children's classes for boys and girls, and personal training that can focus skills and get students comfortable in the ring.
Between the red and white concrete walls of HOTSide CrossFit, fitness enthusiasts scamper up ropes, push and pull on the rowing machines, and pump iron. There’s no mirror or distractions, just the way the certified instructors want it. That way, everyone can focus solely on the workout of the day, a series of intense, fast-paced exercises that changes each session and features functional movements. It’s a system used by police, military, and martial artists to achieve full-body fitness, but through its functional movements it prepares everyone for any physical activity, including day-to-day activities.