More than 30 television screens glow within the crimson-walled interior of Wild Bull Bar & Grill, where thirsty sports fans cheer on Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls between sips of brew. The kitchen dishes out finger fare from curly fries to wings slathered in eight types of sauce—including super-spicy suicide sauce—as well as hearty pub fare such as the 10-ounce Wild Bull burger. Colored lights paint the dance floor as rug-cutters tap toes, and the bar's agenda book is packed with live music, trivia nights, and doodles of Sid Luckman riding a bucking bronco.
Fragrant hookah smoke swims through the vividly hued lounge at Arabian Nights, undulating past curtains, pillows, and curling decorative accents. Guests take in scents through the winding tubes attached to their stations' apparatuses, choosing from an extensive list of shishas that includes herbal varieties for those who'd like to avoid tobacco. Guests are free to bring their own snacks to the lounge, which also serves teas, sodas, coffees, and juices.
The decor is eclectic. In one section, royal-blue walls contrast with the fairy-light-sprinkled vines that crawl around the perimeter of the ceiling. In another, orange and red walls corral a TV and a DJ station flanking a fireplace. Dramatic mirrors, low cushions, and checkerboard walls characterize other regions of the softly lit space, filled with guests surfing the web with complimentary WiFi and caterpillars avoiding political topics on first dates.
Whisper Creek’s visionary architects, Greg Nash and Billy Casper, and Orchard Valley’s architect, Ken Kavanaugh, present two championship-style courses of verdant, undulating terrain, flecked with challenging features. Golfers traverse Whisper Creek's 240 acres of protected wildlife sanctuary in GPS-enabled golf carts that provide yardage measurements, record scores, and eliminate the need to ask tiger-head club covers for directions. During an 18-hole round (up to a $68 value with cart), clubs send dimpled orbs hurtling past imported white-sand bunkers, pristine waters, and more than 5,000 character hardwoods. Over on Orchard Valley’s 6,800-yard, par 72 grounds, manicured practice facilities conduct dress rehearsals for the course’s 18 holes (up to a $76 value with cart), which span sand traps and wetlands, including the expansive water hazard on the aptly named "All or Nothing at All" second hole.
With a career spanning more than 20 years, Balanced Exposure's owner, Russell Lowe, has worn many hats, including forensic photographer, wedding photographer, and commercial photographer. Russell has always had a passion for teaching, which is why he finally opened up his own studio space. He and his staff help novice photographers shake hands with their shutter button during introductory Photo Essentials classes for DSLR cameras, whereas DSLR Advanced classes lead intermediate students further into the world of flash lighting by exploring how to use external flashes, set up studio lighting, and sell paparazzi-style photos of local squirrels to National Geographic. Aspiring wedding and studio photographers hone their craft and practice postproduction techniques in the fully equipped studio, which also hosts professional portrait shoots.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months–3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1–3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.