The Joliet Park District sprawls across more than 1,000 acres, engaging visitors with everything from sports to nature. Guests can wander through the foliaged paths of the Pilcher Park Nature Center and the organic community garden, or treat their senses to the floral colors and aromas that fill the bird-haven greenhouse. The 10,000-seat Joliet Memorial Stadium hosts high-school and college sporting events, while a dozen athletic fields fill with recreational players hitting baseballs, catching softballs, and spiking soccer balls when the referee isn't looking. During the summer, inner tubes transport patrons down Joliet Splash Station's high-speed water slides and 865-foot lazy river, and the glittery strands of Fourth of July fireworks color the skies above the stadium.
Zip Fitness's staff strives to keep intimidation from creeping in to each of the five gyms. To welcome all exercisers—even those who have never had gym memberships before—Gym Geniuses stroll through each location donning bright-red shirts that signal their availability to help guests operate the various machines and guide them in drafting fitness goals and coming up with routines for the day. They've stocked each location with strength equipment from brands such as Precor and Life Fitness, and a guided strength circuit's 30-minute full-body workout takes the guesswork out of toning physiques. Rows of cardio equipment include treadmills, ellipticals, and upright and recumbent bikes, along with rowing machines and StairMaster step mills. For stretching and ab work, bands, balls, and body bars abound, and free weights include dumbbells, barbells, and tamed school bells.
Gold memberships unlock additional perks, such as unlimited access to Hex II tanning booths and the ActivTrax online fitness and nutrition coach, which plots out workouts and offers nutrition tools tailored to each user's goals, from slimming down to having the flexibility to comb your hair with your feet.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
The experienced instructors at TM Martial Arts aim to help their students strengthen more than muscles in their hapkido, tae kwon do, and self-defense classes. They prize the character development and cognitive benefits—such as self-confidence, perseverance, and improved concentration—that people can experience with regular practice. That said, their American kickboxing and Ultimate Fitness programs blend strength training with sparring drills to help students reshape their bodies and embrace fitness for the rest of their lives, no matter their age or starting level.
The staffers at Essence of Life, a fitness and wellness center, believe that balance is essential to leading a happy, healthy life. And so they offer classes that keep clients well rounded mentally, physically, and spiritually. Yoga and Pilates reformer classes help stretch limbs and minds, and indoor cycling and TRX classes pump up muscles and keep hearts healthy. Personal training helps clients get on track with individualized attention. The friendly and laid-back fitness studio strives to keep its own balance by hosting ongoing workshops and summer camps in addition to classes, and clients can drop by for a soothing reiki session or features-defining airbrush tan as well.
The team at Art-4-Kids believes that art plays a crucial role in children’s development, boosting creativity, encouraging self-expression, and helping improve problem-solving skills, concentration, and self-confidence. At their summer and winter camps, youngsters paint, draw, and create projects before leaving the program with a portfolio of vibrant work to call their own. During weekly classes, students dip their brushes into acrylics and watercolors, practice shading with graphite and pastels, and knead clay into unique works of art. The studio also creates colorful birthday memories during its parties, where celebrants paint canvases or ceramics, mold sculptures, or have their faces painted. Grownups can let their artistic instincts run wild too by scheduling a BYOB art night for up to 10 participants, sipping wine and painting their own acrylic masterpieces with step-by-step instruction from an artist.