Chicago might be far from any ocean, but that obstacle didn't stop it from pioneering the first permanent inland saltwater aquarium in the country. Thanks to civic leader John G. Shedd’s drive and contribution of $3 million paid for nearly a million gallons of seawater transported by rail from Florida’s coast, by 1930 the city hosted exhibits large enough to accommodate a wide variety of marine species–sea mammals as well as fish.
Today, Shedd’s dream continues to thrive with the aquarium’s scores of undersea creatures—from sharks and dolphins to vibrant sea cucumbers—showcased in educational, eye-catching exhibits. The permanent collection spirits visitors from the Great Lakes to the Amazon River to the waters of the Arctic Circle. The resident critters often share their turf with temporary guests such as sea jellies and stingrays, who fill dramatic special exhibits.
The most exciting animal encounters, however, may come via the year-round aquatic show. Trainers demonstrate the natural behaviors of sea lions, dolphins, and even beluga whales. They have some four-legged company, too: a trio of rescue dogs often perform alongside their finned adoptive family, demonstrating how learning through positive reinforcement transcends boundaries between species.
E! News anchor and Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic was born in Italy but she has strong ties to Chicago—namely, her husband Bill, the Trump-approved entrepreneur and restaurateur behind RPM Italian. In the My Chicago by Giuliana Rancic collection, the star of Giuliana & Bill gives the scoop on her favorite local spots to get glammed up, be entertained in style, and even shop for Bill.
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On tours from Haunted Hometowns, each traveler clutches an EMF meter, nervously waiting for a flash that detects electromagnetic fields, thus signaling the presence of paranormal activity. Meanwhile, a seasoned storyteller imparts gripping tales of murder, local legends, and ghostly encounters. Based on the books of ghost historian and storyteller Diane Ladley, Haunted Hometowns tours build on her four decades of research, as well as her intimate knowledge of the area and its rumored spectral inhabitants. Guides encourage participants to tote along their cameras so that they’re prepared to preserve the spooky sights along the way and catch photo-bombing ghosts in the act.
Rhythmic music reverberates off of the mirrored walls of Pole Chicks Womens Fitness Center's brightly lit studio, where towering chrome poles run from floor to ceiling. Here, expert instructors lead women of all fitness levels through a diverse range of dance fitness classes, including pole dancing, chair dancing, and pole-dancing boot camps. Through these sultry twists and slides, the team aims to help students build up their strength and flexibility. They can also tailor each exercise to accommodate individual fitness levels and learning paces.
The studio both hosts and competes in pole-dancing competitions and offers its facilities and instructors for private pole-dancing sessions—an ideal activity for birthdays, bachelorette parties, or uninhibited senior quilting-club meetings.
After spending years combating her unhealthy habits, Sky Yoga Studio founder Emily Canibano discovered yoga as a way to carve out a balanced body and wholesome lifestyle. Diverse training in kids’ yoga, prenatal yoga, and Hatha yoga led to a studio suitable for body benders of all skill levels. Emphasis on personalized instruction can be seen in the studio’s roster of nearly 40 class types, which include everything from a low-impact brand of interval training that's accessible to seniors to a playful parent-tot class designed for adults with their children aged 3 to 6. Though Emily primarily champions the spiritual and therapeutic applications of yoga, she also draws upon her experience as a personal trainer and Zumba instructor to orchestrate cardio-heavy fitness classes that tone bodies that have recently had to chew their way out of gingerbread houses.
Each fall, terror descends upon downtown Elgin when Psychosis Haunted House opens its grounds to thrill-seeking visitors. Chosen as one of the Top 10 Haunted Houses in Illinois by USA Today, the 20,000-square-foot haunted house stations its actors at unexpected intervals, building suspense and fear so that each monster elicits a scream. For an extra fee, guests can choose to be "kidnapped" and hustled inside, where they wait hidden among the shadows until their friends or the pizza delivery guy finally finds them.
40 years ago, the initials heading C&D Towing stood for the Cicero & Devon Texaco gas and service station, founded by brothers Val and Joe Strumberger. Today they've come to stand for "Capable and Dependable," the values carried by the tow truck drivers who rescue cars and trucks of all sizes from a future spent trying fruitlessly to hitch a ride from passing semis. Along with gently rolling vehicles onto a fleet of handsome red trucks, C&D's technicians can protect and resuscitate them with services including jumpstarts, tire changes, seasonal safety checks, and electrical work.