Perky’s Pizza rustles up a variety of traditional and imaginative pizzas for famished families. With the family combo meal, banqueting broods choose one large signature pizza from Perky's Pizza's doughy roster, relieving a meat-masticating hankering with the double-cheeseburger deluxe, loaded with crispy bacon, hearty beef, and zesty barbecue sauce, or floating away on the Maui Wowie, which features chicken and sweet pineapple basking in a beach of red sauce. Choosy chowhounds point their noses toward the also-included one-topping pizza, selecting a meat, vegetable, or fat-free mineral to add sustenance. Six breadsticks take a dip in garlic or cinnamon before joining the culinary crew, and a troop of 12 chicken wings marches into position while chanting fight songs before being defeated by mercenary molars. Like bookends, a family-sized garden salad and dessert support the meal on either end.
A bomb has been planted, and each passing tick threatens to steal what is rightfully yours: victory. Laser tag guns and teamwork can stop it, along with the ability to crack the code. There's just one more problem?a rival team dead set on chaos. This type of game, called "Search and Destroy," is just one of a dozen mission types at CMP Tactical Lazer Tag's locations. The CMP empire has spread to four cities in three states: Milwaukee, Des Moines, Frankfort, and Lake Geneva. At each one, the staff breaks up games into different sessions and multiple objective-based tasks, such as rescuing hostages or pulling off a heist so players never have to pay for ice cream again.
Depending on the location, these tactical missions might take place indoors or outside. In Des Moines, The Plaza surrounds teams in two levels with multiple buildings and a balcony, which offers elevated views of opponents. Geneva's The Wasteland, on the other hand, claims to be the "largest dedicated outdoor laser tag battlefield in the world." Stacks of lumber and buildings forged from railroad ties grant precious cover, as does the natural foliage. Regardless of the location, sessions begin in the armory, where players suit up in all the requisite laser tag gear.
A horse can find any variety of activity to while away the time at Downtown Equestrian Center, from grazing in the 3-acre grass paddock to leaping over oxers in the outdoor arena. During one-hour lessons, instructors supplement riding basics, such as grooming, tacking, and communication, with more nuanced elements including posture, etiquette, and equitation. Beyond training and boarding services, the ranch also hosts several family-friendly pursuits, from one-week summer camps to meetings of 4-H, named after horses’ four favorite things: hocks, hooves, Henri Matisse paintings, and hay.
Across two floors and 6,700 square feet, KidsWork Children's Museum's prompts hands-on play with scores of new exhibits. A table-top interactive computer, or SMART table, stimulates kids' brains with interactive puzzles and games. A weekly music class on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. invite kids to make some noise with instruments made from recycled materials. Interlocking wooden builder boards encourage open-ended play; there's also a floor piano, an interactive ATM, and story time at 10 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. The museum welcomes field-trip groups and birthday parties to explore its innards as well as special-needs families, members, and walk-in visitors.
While large groups are welcome, each child is celebrated through hands-on play. Just look at the gigantic, three-dimensional Pinscreen exhibit, a jumbo version of the classic toy that uses sliding pins to create a 3-D impression of whatever you press into them—in this case, your entire body. Along with the Lincoln-Way North Key Club, the Frankfort Fire Department helped construct the three walls by painstakingly inserting nearly 200,000 pins by hand. Their effort resulted in one of the museum's most popular interactive displays. More than that, it reflects the sense of community, curiosity, and creativity that the museum strives to engender in its patrons.
At Rich City Skate, enthusiastic staffers emphasize the athletic benefits and sheer fun of skating. Kaleidoscopic washes of red, yellow, and blue sheathe the voluminous facility, which houses a sprawling hardwood arena. Skaters soar in circles while mustering the courage to hold their sweetheart’s hand or knock the fez off a nemesis' head. Clacking billiard balls pair with the bleeps and bloops of arcade games in the food court, which serves all-beef hot dogs and fizzy sodas. Skating lessons are also available, instructing beginners on the proper posture, basic technique, and how the rise of roller skates came to render horses obsolete.
If you've been bowling in Chicago, chances are pretty good you've been to a Chicagoland Bowling establishment. With member centers from the north to the south, the organization connects pin destroyers all over the city. The advantages of this network include tournaments that span the entire region, scholarship programs for talented youth bowlers, and a cornucopia of options for clowns who juggle bowling pins.