Throughout the year at Equidream School of Horsemanship, pro equestrian Lesley Teichman takes riders of all skill levels under her wing and teaches them the art of horsemanship. Lessons cover all aspects of sound riding, even incorporating non-riding topics such as grooming, handling, and tacking up. Once aboard their friendly mount, students absorb sound technical approaches to riding and jumping and take their mastery to the next level by working on the intangible skill of good communication with the horse.
The Lake County Fairgrounds are the site an annual fair that showcases the Midwestern wonders that hide right in plain sight. No matter if they're habitual city slickers, suburb dwellers, country folk, or inveterate subterranean mole-people, visitors can experience the world of farm animals, award-winning flower gardens, and boxcar racing, not to mention the amusement rides and funnel cake that are now a vital part of every county fair. By now, the organizers have it down to a science?after all, the very first Lake County Fair took place in 1851, when it was hosted by the Lake County Agricultural Society and Horace the talking mule. Beyond those five glorious summer days, though, the fairgrounds hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, antique shows and art fairs, circuses, and mud runs.
In 1848, dairy cows grazed on the 30 acres that now host the Volo Auto Museum’s five showrooms. The mooing of heifers has given way to the imaginary roar of 200 collector cars and 100 gleaming autos that once graced movie and television sets—including a Batmobile from the 1966 TV series, a Herbie from the latest movie, and one of the first General Lees. After ogling the television and movie collection, guests can wander among vintage and antique vehicles and reminisce about the days when we still had to go places in person.
Nearby, the military exhibit’s realistic scenery surrounds vehicles ranging from a WWII BMW motorcycle with sidecar to a 1967 Bell helicopter shot down in Vietnam. After examining older artillery and artifacts, visitors can gaze at cases holding items retrieved from Saddam Hussein’s palace and from captured Iraqi soldiers. Those below driving age can explore kids’ attractions, including SpongeBob’s boatmobile.
Guests traverse the vast showrooms on foot or via a 1915, Victorian-style trolley, free on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Trolley tours begin by exploring autos that used to be stabled by the rich and famous alongside their unicorns. They then venture into the old dairy farm’s 19th-century barn, where activity by Civil War ghosts has drawn investigators from the Discover Channel’s Ghost Lab. Before leaving, visitors can refuel with an Angus-beef patty at the Betty Boop Burger Bar and Beer Garden or drop into four antique malls.
Single-seat Formula K go-karts sidle beside two-seaters on Kristof Entertainment Center's family-friendly driving track. After letting the wind tussle hair, friends and families compete on the 18-hole scenic miniature-golf course replete with challenging holes and flanked by waterfalls, fountains, and castles. In batting cages, baseballs and softballs hurl toward bat-wielders, and players send bowling balls careening toward pins across lanes during regular or cosmic bowling. Sports skills are further tested at seven billiards tables that leave ample opportunity for sinking in eight-balls, and the arcade's classic redemption games such as skee-ball facilitate fun and prizes. After exhausting all one's rounds of play, Kristof's Bar reenergizes visitors with Pepsi products and snacks while broadcasting sports on its many televisions.
League play, friendly outings, family birthdays—all happily coexist on Lakeside Lanes’ 32 lanes. Of these, 12 are equipped with bumpers for kids or adults who prefer to think of bowling as a giant game of billiards. After league play ends on Friday and Saturday nights, the music grows louder and black light bathes the lanes for cosmic bowling.
The attached restaurant, the Dockside Diner, isn’t particularly near any docks, but the “diner” part is more than accurate. A pair of sock-hoppers dance on the teal and purple striped walls, and chrome railings zip around a checker-tiled room where guests munch wings, burgers, and pizza. An arcade and game room adds more entertainment options with pool tables, darts, and video games.
Country Ridge Stables provides a beautiful, modern environment and is fully equipped for horse-riding lessons suited for both equine amateurs and veterans of the stirrup and saddle. A two-hour lesson from the experienced instructors will cover an hour of groundwork and an hour of riding for a full-spectrum sampling of the basics. Swing and cavort across the 75x200-foot outdoor arena while imagining that you're on your way to rescue the maiden or male baseball player of your personal preference. After two hours, you won't transform into a master equestrian, but you will feel confident and grounded around horses and understand the basics of mounting and riding. Before your lesson, you'll receive a personally fitted certified riding helmet from the accessory experts at Saddler's Row, protecting noggin and nogginnards alike from unnecessary dents and damage.