Just like at the beach, when you wade into Seafari Springs' zero-depth pool, the water will just cover your toes. Keep going, and the water's surface stretches farther and father above those toes, up to 12 feet at its deepest. Surrounding this pool are water-driven attractions designed for different ages. Little ones cluster around the Aqua Bloom, a blossom that sprays erratic streams of water from its center, much like a camel with holes in its humps. At Turtle Falls, a 13-foot waterfall douses visitors, while a wide swathe of grass nearby invites guests to let the sun lend its warmth or keep their coffee warm. Older kids zip down speed slides, tube slides, and a 130-foot long water slide. Meanwhile, the Oasis provides a variety of concessions to satisfy appetites.
With its bare hands, Norris Recreation Center tears through the piecemeal membership and class fees that keep exercisers from traditional gyms, and flings open the doors to its modern facility. A gift from the St. Charles–native Norris family, the nonprofit establishment makes living healthier a viable option. Within its stone walls, five dedicated rooms bustle with the whir of cardio and weight-training equipment, and swimmers careen down the 12 lanes of the 50-meter pool during lessons, lap swims, and open pool time. The squeaks of pivoting sneakers peal off the racquetball court's walls, and twosomes, foursomes, and Billie Jean King's army of clones descend on the four tennis courts, which guests rent by the hour. Members can simmer in the center's saunas or whirlpool, or shuck off tension with a swedish, sport-injury, orthopedic, or deep-tissue massage before showering and retrieving their gym bags from complimentary lockers.
Trained instructors lead 13 free classes throughout the week, with diverse aerobic curricula that include cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. For individualized guidance, personal trainers coach clients out of workout plateaus. As parents work out, childcare professionals engage lads and lasses with interactive games, toys, and movies in the center's nursery, where kids build social skills and imagination while pretending to be heroic astronauts, firefighters, or accountants.
With more than 20,000 square feet of aerobic acreage, HealthTrack offers members a premier health-club experience. Begin the tour de fitness with a one-hour massage at the day spa (a $75 value), where a therapist will knead away knots and limber up muscles in preparation for an intense one-hour personal-training session (a $55 value). After equipping amateur exercisers with fit-focused survival skills, the trainer will free pupils into the vast expanse of workout options available to members. This Groupon entitles you to 14 days of membership after activation (a $90 value). HealthTrack offers top-tier equipment and more than 75 group classes each week, including cardio boxing, Pilates, spin, step, and competitive channel changing. Check the class schedule, or choose from a plethora of other sweat-breaking activities, such as basketball, swimming, tennis, running on the indoor track, or extreme relaxation in the gym's jacuzzi or sauna.
Under the umbrella of the Addison Park District, Club Fitness regales guests of all ages with 44,000 square feet worth of exercise equipment, group fitness studios, and aquatic amenities. Amid the clang of cardio and strength-training machines, certified instructors lead members through a range of free fitness classes, including Zumba, yoga, cycling, Pilates, and aquatic fitness sessions. Seasoned swimmers, 17 and older, can splash about within a six-lane lap pool, and runners can train for upcoming races by looping around the indoor running track in dramatic slow motion with arms outstretched. Those more interested in relaxation can sweat away anxieties in the hot tub or sauna. Before changing clothes within the modern locker rooms, parents can drop their tots off with the friendly attendants at the onsite childcare area.
Sea Lion Aquatic Park is more of a network than a single pool?the park splits its reservoirs into separate areas for different ages and activities. Six lanes stretch across the 25-yard lap pool, which also serves as home to the Sea Lion swim team. Two body flume slides twist and turn into landing pools, while two short drop slides send riders into a "splash playground" filled with interactive water games. The Vortex pool, on the other hand, creates water resistance that's ideal for water aerobics; but turn the other way, and it becomes a mini lazy river.
The park also hosts special events. These occasions might have kids build their own boats for a cardboard regatta, or bring in a DJ to prove just how hard it is to charleston with your legs under water.
Owner Debbie Stoffregen has taught children to swim for more than 15 years, a background that helped her develop Catch the Wave Swim Club's unique instructor training program. Stoffregen only mints adult teachers and personally coaches them once they have achieved certifications in Red Cross CPR, lifeguarding, AED, and first aid. Instructors teach water safety with compassion, creating a family-like atmosphere to help adults overcome their fears, introduce infants as young as three months old (accompanied by a guardian) to the warm, 90-degree pool, and acclimate adolescents to their newly sprouted gills. Surrounded by healthy, confident swimmers, Stoffregen realized the sport could be used as a therapeutic intervention, and created classes for special-needs individuals and those desiring a low-impact way to stay fit.