Sam Elias knows that being cooped up during long winter days can make people stir-crazy. So in 1993, after moving from Florida, land of palm trees and beaches, to Chicago, land of frigid winds and gray slush, he founded WhirlyBall as a way for people to release pent-up energy even as snow was falling outside. During each competitive WhirlyBall game, which combines aspects of basketball, hockey, and jai alai, players zoom across an indoor 50'x80' court in motorized cars called WhirlyBugs. They wield plastic scoops to toss a wiffle ball back and forth to their teammates before throwing the ball through an elevated goal. Refs keep watch during the games, eliminating score arguments that would otherwise end in sunrise duels. To fuel up for a bout, players nibble teriyaki chicken satay, gourmet pizzas, and prime rib, and swig draft beers, which vary by location.
All three WhirlyBall spots boast off-court diversions such as video games, pool tables, foosball, and air hockey. The Vernon Hills location hosts an indoor rock-climbing wall, and both the Chicago and Vernon Hills locations invite guests into multilevel Lasertron laser-tag arenas, which fill with fog and flashing lights as combatants duck, aim, and invoke Geneva Convention protocols regarding armed conflict.
Located three miles from Six Flags, The People's Choice Family Fun Center's canary-yellow, 43,000-square-foot arena buzzes with the thrill of friendly competition across 150 arcade games and the 18-hole Rocky's Fun House Miniature Golf course. Styled to mimic a circus, the venue features statues of carnival barkers who challenge guests to step right up to skee-ball and air hockey. Players gather loot at the redemption center, where they can exchange spools of tickets won at arcade games for the more than 1,000 prizes, from candy and stuffed animals to electronics and a lifetime of self-satisfaction. Servers at the food court dish out festival eats including cotton candy and pizza, and vendors at Hershey's Ice Cream Shoppe fill cones, cups, and top hats with frosty treats. The center also plays host to holiday events and private parties throughout the year. Beyond the hustle and bustle of the carnival resides an 18-hole miniature golf course known as Rocky's Fun House Miniature Golf. Here, putters tiptoe through a darkened wonderland of glow-in-the-dark circus shapes. A phosphorescent replication of trapeze artists, elephants, and escaped monkeys running amok greets putt-putt posses in the circus-themed segment, challenging their ability to focus on deviously placed holes. A moving ferris wheel towers over players as they size up the unique challenges of each hole and read the grain of the AstroTurf; fun-house mirrors bend beams of light into goofy, distorted reflections. At the final hole, which is guarded by a strongman bell ringer, those who sink a hole in one win a free round of golf for two and the lifelong friendship of Rocky, the triceratops mascot.
Celebration Rentals’ moonwalks give at-home celebrations an extra boost of fun with hours of bouncing during half-day or full-day stints. Although they allow jumpers to defy gravity, Celebration’s moonwalks adhere to a strict code of safety that eschews sharp edges and trippable surfaces. Inflatables come in one of several themes, such as Disney princesses, superheroes, and classic solid colors, adding imagination and decoration to events. Each moonwalk measures 13’x13’, enough to fit several children or a basketball team in search of extra air time.
By their own estimation, the photographers, video editors, lighting technicians, and other staff at Chicago-based Complete Music And Video are involved in more than 13,000 weddings each year. They cover five major facets of wedding and event production: Using DSLR cameras, their photographers take a candid, photo-journalistic approach, which allows them to capture intimate details, such as fingers gently touching over a tablecloth, or large-scale ones such as horses bursting out of the wedding cake. Similarly, their videographers can preserve the best moments—or an entire evening—using state-of-the-art HD cameras.
Meanwhile, the DJs work with clients to craft evening announcements as well as toe-tapping playlists. Lighting technicians, on the other hand, use overhead lights, monograms, lighted tables, and other elements to conjure any atmosphere you desire. Additionally, Complete Music And Video will let you and your party guests take memory-capturing into their own hands with enclosed photo booths, each of which contains a selection of playful props.
Pump It Up's two indoor inflatable arenas bounce socked striplings high off the ground with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Trained, amiable staffers supervise fun-filled visits where parents can leap around with their kids through gargantuan, air-filled bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an air-filled obstacle course. Attendees can also focus their free play for special events, such as custom birthday parties and themed, private team parties. These themed soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. Both giant arenas are climate controlled and maintained according to rigorous guidelines enforced by the well-trained staff and local police. Supplementing its thorough rule enforcement with expert installation and anchoring, Pump It Up holds itself to strict safety standards.