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.
The Grammy-winning outfit Switchfoot launches crowds into a layered rock soundscape that the band's three guitarists build during energetic live shows. At North Central College, the San Diego fivesome tours in the wake of last year's release, Vice Verses, continuing the new chapter the group began with Hello Hurricane, 2010's Grammy winner for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album. "On this record," says frontman Jon Foreman, "we let a little bit more out." Some soul grooves and Motown flavors infuse several new tracks, including "Selling the News," in which Jon's spoken-word rap hopscotches over hip-hop beats. But the band doesn't stray too far from its SoCal rock roots. In "Dark Horse" it cranks out the tight riffs and poignant lyrics of a single destined to brew over time into a rock anthem that unites generations of people and centaurs. Downstate rockers Bottle of Justus open up the show, steering their melodies into the party-rock atmosphere in which they thrive.
The grill gurus at Charleyhorse Restaurant sizzle a menu of sandwiches, entrees, and burgers within sports-centric dining digs. Wax handlebar mustaches over plates of Rollie cheese fingers carved from 40-pound blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese before they’re served with a side of marinara sauce ($9). Buffalo shrimp wraps brim with grilled shrimp, tomatoes, and cheddar jack cheese ($9.87), and burgers such as the Smarty Jones, piled high with bacon, cheddar cheese, and fried egg ($9.69), can power patrons through a marathon session of viewing marathon blooper videos. Large appetites may sample entrees such as the pot roast with beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions ($11.95), or nosh on Charleyhorse's malty basket of Carlton fish ‘n’ chips ($10.37).
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.
Challenge Fitness whips bodies into shape with more than 30 cardio machines and a stable of Life Fitness strength machines. Members may pound muscle groups on the fitness-room machines by running, lifting, and fist pumping before washing off and entering the five-lane, 25-yard lap pool to cool off or reenact Wilford Brimley's scenes from Cocoon. A 10-person whirlpool whispers to lap-swimmers, inviting them to take a break in gently swirling, heated waters for the sake of soothing joint aches and stiff sinews. Challenge Fitness trainers facilitate aerobics and fitness classes to help to direct and refine body-sculpting efforts that would otherwise run wild (classes not included with this Groupon, but available for an additional fee). For days when the spirit of sportsmanship visits the gym, members may rent one of the seven tennis courts ($16–$21), the racquetball courts ($6/hour for the court), or the wallyball courts ($3/hour per player).
Kids and adults sound out their musical and rhythmic prowess with individual and group lessons at Allegro Music and Dance Academy. Led by experienced teachers and supplemented with at-home video instruction, music classes encompass an array of styles and techniques to establish a foundation for jazz combos and kitchen utensil bands alike. Group guitar classes teach picking, strumming, and shredding methods to 6–13-year-olds with weekly classes of up to eight students ($240–$299 per 16-week session). Groups form according to age, with older crowds also delving into songwriting and basic rock star moves such as windmilling, power sliding, and trashing an expensive hotel room. Group piano lessons also convene weekly, with up to 10 novices imbuing fingers with basic tickling techniques, as well as theory and repertoire ($240 per 16-week session). Songbirds aged 9 and older stretch their vocal chords with one-on-one voice instruction, while younger warblers learn in the company of a piano’s finely tuned tones. The music class schedule showcases all group meeting times, but private instruction in keys, strings, or vocal chords can also be scheduled Monday–Thursday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.