Tip-toeing around black columns illuminated with rings of neon, players catch and zap friends the second they show themselves under the fluorescent light's glow. This happens every day inside Rink Side Sports' 2,000-square-foot Laser Blast arena, which accommodates up to 20 players per match. Just outside that arena, an arcade erupts in a cacophony of bells and whistles emanating from more than 100 video and redemption games. Nearby on the ice rink, ice is carved during public skating hours and kids master the triple Lutz during figure-skating programs led by experienced instructors, many of whom belong to the Professional Skaters Association. These activities all exist under one roof, as well as a 2,700-square-foot 18-hole black-light mini-golf course and a snack bar, which serves hand-tossed pizzas that can be tossed by hand into eaters’ mouths.
In 2012, Jump America— located next door to Six Flags Great America— debuted more than 16,000 square feet of springy floor space—trampolines cover the floors and walls. A game of dodge ball gets an antigravity twist over two courts and jumpers can use a trampoline as a launching pad into a pit of foam. Guests aged 3 and up watch a safety video before embarking upon hours of bouncy play monitored by attentive staffers.
Krussell Stables takes its name from professional horse trainer Ray Krussell, a highly decorated teacher who has produced numerous Reserve World Champion and World Champion horses and riders. Ray’s teaching style promotes learning and responsibility and preaches safety as the top priority. As such, his private and semiprivate lessons for students of all ages and skill levels are held in the discipline of english saddle seat, a safe, traditional manner of riding. A 60’x192’ arena houses each session, which parents and guests of riders can observe from a viewing window in the customer center. The center also sports WiFi and DirectTV, and the arena ensures comfortable lessons throughout the year by staying heated in the winter.
Par-King Skill Golf has been churning out rounds of family-friendly fun for the Chicagoland area since the 1950s. With two separate 18-hole courses, six water challenges, twelve moving obstacles, numerous curbs, and surprising elevation changes, Par-King is a step up from the flat mini-greens of yesteryear, and 3 club-lengths more entertaining than the regulation-sized greens of normal-sized golf. Play a full 18 holes as you gape and gander at twirling clowns, roller-coaster ramps in the vein of Rube Goldberg, elaborately-painted totem poles, and recreations of famous landmarks such as Mt. Rushmore and the Sears Tower. This colorful landscape of golf-based adventure is refurbished and repainted every winter to provide a consistently-beautiful, clean, and safe experience during April to October operations. Although the park is family-oriented, they maintain a stout 48-inch height requirement to play or playact in the playing area; this is enforced purely with safety in mind, as the challenging course terrain may prove hazardous to the diminutive.
Hidden Creek AquaPark's water garden of delights fosters two water slides, a sand area ripe for beachy architecture, and abundant opportunities for entire afternoons of aquatic activity. A huge six-lane pool graduates gently from a toe-tickling zero-depth embankment to the deep-water swim zone, where cetaceans in training practice their whalesong. Set the diving board abuzz with a graceful cannonball or watch wee ones make mischievous use of the playground's dump-bucket from a dry, deck-side lounge chair, munching tasty treats from the concession stand. Admission also nets visitors access to occasional family-friendly events, such as this month's Guitar Hero BBQ, the buoyant big-screen attractions of the Flick 'n Float film series, and annual pool-noodle spaghetti dinners.
When he shuts up his workshop at the North Pole after another successful holiday season, Santa Claus doesn't simply hibernate until next December. Instead, he packs up his sleigh and heads to his summer home at the Fox River Valley's Santa's Village Azoosment Park. Open from May to October, the wonderland greets guests with three separate amusement experiences. The fun begins in Santa's Village, where quaint alpine building and expertly manicured pathways awaken feelings of nostalgia in hearts young and old. There, visitors can zoom down the original Santa's Tree House Slide, hitch a ride on the Kringle Convoy, or snap a picture at a recreation of Santa's North Pole home. They can also tap into the amusement rides including the antique carousel, the Tilt-A-Whirl, and Dracor the Dragon's Coaster.
A renowned lover of animals, Santa has also filled his park with a menagerie of creatures both familiar and exotic. After visiting Rudolph and company at Reindeer Ridge, visitors can grab a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh on their way to see the denizens of Parakeet Paradise, Tortoise Island, or Old MacDonald's Farm and Petting Zoo. In addition to grabbing up-close peeks of everything from a red-tailed boa to a fennec fox, visitors can also take in an exotic animal show that educates audience members about the park's wild residents.
Always in the holiday spirit, the park welcomes groups looking to add a spark to reunions, birthday, or group outings. This accommodating spirit even extends to the park's rule book: parking is free, and picnic baskets are encouraged.