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.
A hailstorm of paint projectiles rains down upon CPX Sports' more than one dozen fields, each of which poses different challenges and requires specialized tactics. The crown jewel of the park is the Town of Bedlam, a massive maze of small-town 1950s buildings that jut out between streets dotted by paint-splattered cars and streetlights. There, snipers poke their heads out of the central city hall's tower as the opposing team hides out or checks for abandoned shampoo samples inside the post office. The Jungle of Doom drops teams into a heavily wooded field to vie for control of a central temple, and chromatic combatants weave between desiccated cars in the Wastelands, attempting to collect the most gas cans. A full pro shop outfits players with markers, protective gear, and Sesame Street coloring books for target practice.
Family Fun Zone packs a spectrum of entertainment catering to ages 14 and under into one hub complete with roller-skating rink, laser-tag arena, and an arcade. Multicolored lights sweep over the roller rink where birthday-party guests practice figure 8s or 44s, fueled by pizza and soda. Visitors transition from gliding to ducking beneath laser rays, and watchful parents can enjoy free WiFi from the comfort of the snack bar. Guardians also dole out tokens for the arcade, where glowing machines spit out tickets to a soundtrack of buzzing TVs and family-friendly music.
In this professionally mentored Teen Driving Academy, developing drivers perform four drills reproducing common road issues, learn the finer points of vehicular dynamics, and study strategies for avoiding problems caused by other drivers. After an 8 a.m. breakfast and classroom time, students pile into the nine Autobahn-provided Mazdas, where they safely practice reflex-testing accident avoidance, wet-weather ABS usage, slalom drills, skid-control exercises, and proper hanging of fuzzy dice in an ornately wheeled, horseless training buggy. Lunch is also included, followed by a second classroom segment and more drills. Beyond highway-hugging safety, teens will also learn the basics of auto maintenance.
Against the backdrop of Bouncin Bonkers’s brightly painted walls, sock-clad children spring, bounce, and slide across inflatable structures in two arenas, letting out joyous shrieks and giggles under the watchful eyes of parents. Air-filled palm trees sway over obstacle courses, and rubber floors protect against errant tumbles or kid-seeking coconuts. Inside two private party rooms, guests of honor hold court from an inflatable throne as friends flock along benches, enjoying soda and snacks from a variety of party packages.
"In your face, loud, and memorable." In 2013, that's how HauntedIllinois.com summarized Statesville Haunted Prison. When it comes to scaring people, Statesville has upped the ante every year since it opened in 1996, recently increasing the area inside its walls by 20%. It has earned a reputation as one of the top haunted attractions in Chicagoland, racking up rave reviews and awards including "Best Haunted House in Chicagoland" for 11 of the past 14 years by HauntedHouseChicago.com, "Must See Top 25 Haunted Attractions in America" by Haunted Attraction Magazine, and a feature on the Travel Channel?s ?Halloween Craziest? in 2013.
Resting in the shadow of the Stateville Maximum Security Prison, Statesville combines cutting-edge effects with extremely detailed setups to create chaos. Inside, visitors creep through a collection of more than 40 horrifying rooms that takes nearly an hour to fully explore. More than 150 characters aggressively berate them every step of the way, conjuring scenes from horror movies or family-vacation slideshows. After escaping the prison, visitors must still make their way through the City of the Dead, a mass grave filled with past inmates who've now risen from the dead. Over the years, Statesville has extended the scares to other on-site attractions, too, including a zombie hunt that arms visitors with paintball guns.