The Emerald Greens Golf Course is tucked away in the abounding woods and quiet, sun-drenched fields of North St. Louis County, allowing players to replace workaday worries with bent-grass greens and scenic vistas. The par 70 course is divided into distinctly different front and back nine's, with outward fairways cutting confounding doglegs through thick forest, and an inward route strewn with water hazards demanding precise tee shots and modest ransom to Poseidon. Four sets of tees make the course challenging for players of all abilities, from a first hole marked by a troublesome right-hand side to the 18th hole, a 506-yard par 5 bound by ponds on either side of its narrow fairway. As the 6,000-plus-yard course winds through the club's 365 acres of wilderness, golfers are often greeted by deer, fox, and feral golf carts flocking from the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
Gateway Fun Park delights visitors year-round with a range of entertainment attractions for all ages—from group outings and birthday parties to packs of friends wiling away the afternoon. Mini golfers aim for the green amid two 18-hole courses' babbling brooks, stone partitions, and miniature buildings. Drivers safely let loose their suppressed road rage by bouncing into each other in bumper cars. A full-scale go-cart track gives lead feet of any age a taste of the open road, and the kiddie track lets kids ages 4–9 finally take the wheel their parents normally refuse to let them eat.
STL Cinemas' quartet of movie houses mingles the vibrant pageantry of the early film industry with the technological sophistication of modern studio projects. Chase Park Plaza exudes the essence of this retro-contempo coupling, earning it the Riverfront Times 2010 Best Movie Theater award. With five intimate auditoriums, an all-digital sound system, and state-of-the-art projection, Chase Park Plaza coaxes movie-goers deep into the film's plot lines, characters, and 3-D effects easier than an underseat package containing a plaid dress, a little dog, and a magical Kansas twister. Before one of Chase’s shows, bask in the sights of the lifelike trompe l'eoil murals, and soak in the sounds of a live organist who serenades the crowds with show-tune favorites such as "Phantom of the Opera," "Goldfinger," and "I’m a Little Tea Pot (The Remix)."
Trophy fisherman Walter Krause, who has 15 years' experience on the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail and the Pro Musky Tournament Trail, takes up to two anglers aboard his private boat for a guided trip through two fish-filled Illinois lakes. Whether plumbing the depths of Cedar Lake for striper or pursuing Kinkaid Lake—one of the top trophy-muskie lakes in Illinois—for oversize bass, muskies, and walleyes, participants benefit from Walter’s 46 years of experience and on-board depth finders and GPS. During the course of each customized trip, visitors learn how to track fish movements, how to properly hold rods, and how to train a wall-mounted singing fish to bait other fish with its seductive crooning. Walter provides each angler with life jackets, bait, tackle, and rods, although participants must bring their own fishing licenses, lunches, and weather-appropriate clothing.
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.
A longtime tennis player, Mark Platt began teaching the sport as soon as he graduated from high school. However, after a brief period of instructing at local country clubs, he realized that his heart wasn’t in the work. The country clubs catered to intermediate and advanced players, and Mark wanted to teach beginners. In the absence of a satisfactory beginning tennis program in the area, he founded Mark Platt’s Beginner’s World Tennis in 1984.
As a tennis instructor, Mark has won numerous awards from such prestigious publications as Tennis Pro and Tennis Industry, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Specifically geared toward beginners, his program combines lessons with special events including camps, leagues, and parties designed to encourage socializing—so far, his program has spawned 53 marriages. He and his small staff have big plans for the beginning tennis world; this year alone, they expect to introduce 10,000 adults, children, and marionettes to the sport.
Clustered together at the top of the Atlantic 10 conference standings, both the Billikens and Flyers play with much at stake, as the conference and NCAA tourneys loom just over February’s horizon. During this crucial late-season stretch, legendary head coach Rick Majerus fortifies his team with endurance gleaned from 24 years of coaching, confidence amassed from notching nearly 500 victories, and calluses accrued from erasing 97,000 dry-erase boards in a row. Fans will cheer on leading scorer and senior forward Brian Conklin as he bangs on the blocks against the Flyers' frontcourt. The physical play down low should stamp Conklin’s passport for plenty of trips to the charity stripe, where he strives to simultaneously sink 85% of his shots and plot the dénouement for his fantasy-novel trilogy.