Housing whiz-bang activities sprung to life from the mind of owner and game designer J. Richard Oltmann, Enchanted Castle coaxes thrills from the young and young at heart. As bumper cars clunk together and a game room rings with the peal of 250 pay-as-you-play games, Enchanted Castle’s 60,000-square-foot space fills with scenes fit for dream-like days of timeless tomfoolery without a fee for admission. A laser-tag arena hosts light-based combat, a miniature golf course tests putting mettle, and an indoor go-kart track lets driver reenact the time that the Indianapolis 500 was hosted inside a local gymnasium. Platefuls of wings, pizzas, and sandwiches dot tabletops in the dining area, where visitors can feast in front of karaoke, big-screen TVs, and an animatronics stage show featuring in-house band the Jammin’ Jesters.
Go-karts roar across the racetrack, bumper boats collide, and the cracking sound of confined home runs rings out from batting cages. This multisensory symphony fills the landscaped grounds of Fun Time Square, where attraction after attraction beckons visitors of all ages to kiddie train rides, 18 holes of mini golf, and the blinking lights of pinball machines in the onsite arcade. More intense thrills unfold at a paintball field, where abandoned cars, inflated cover, and war-torn art teachers guard players from enemy paint.
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:
Pretty Muddy's founders designed their 5K obstacle course with a simple goal: to provide a stress-free opportunity for women to cut loose and have a blast in the mud with their friends. Women run or walk at their own pace, encountering low-pressure architectural obstacles along the way that are devoid of hay, splintering plywood, and axe-wielding trolls. The finishers sport post-race looks ranging from mud-drenched to only lightly splattered, depending on their course strategies.
Though the course architects designed obstacles to be fun, Pretty Muddy team members are stationed at each one to provide assistance, and obliging signs point out alternative routes for those who’d rather keep walking. The team often reminds participants that it isn’t about how many obstacles they surmount, but about sucking every drop of fun out of the experience.
At least two aid stations are present on every Pretty Muddy course to keep everyone well hydrated. After they finish, muddy ladies can compete for costume prizes, grab a drink and listen to the music, or free themselves of icky attire at onsite rinsing and changing stations.
As the Plainfield community has grown, so has its park district. Although the district was established in 1966, a population boom in the early '90s led to more diversified facilities, each one with different features. The Ottawa Street Pool, for example, invites visitors to bask in 200,000 gallons of crystal-blue water with diving boards and lap lanes, while the Normantown Trails Equestrian Center offers horseback-riding lessons and neighing tutorials in an indoor arena.
Though it may have changed names, owners, and locations, the Southwest School of Dance has remained true to its core philosophy since it was founded in 1974. Whether teaching classes in ballet, hip-hop, or mommy-and-me yoga, Southwest's instructors always prioritize the development of character and self-esteem alongside physical skills.
Russian-ballet instructor Susan Stantefort originally opened the studio as Susan's School of Dance in South Holland, where she taught students for 13 years. When she, like aspiring actor Abraham Lincoln, moved from Illinois to California, she left her former student, Denny Gurley, in charge of the studio. Gurley moved the studio to its current Orland Hills location, renamed it, and helped transition it to the leadership of current director Connie Cogan, also known as Dr. Danz.