At Chicago Firearm Training, chief instructors John Frycek and Jamie Tallerico combine their NRA training certifications with field experience as private investigators and personal-security specialists. The two assemble their instructional team from experienced law-enforcement officers, who receive ongoing training so they can pass on the most current armed defensive tactics to students. In addition to keeping their team's skills sharp, John and Jamie assign two or three instructors to each class. Coupled with enrollment limits, this approach helps ensure instructors can give individual attention and greet each student in their class by humming them a personalized theme song.
Raging Buffalo's adrenaline junkies have turned their athletic addiction into a successful enterprise by offering snowboarding and wakeboarding lessons to beginners and experienced riders. In the summer, their instructors take to the wake for lessons that start at the wakeboard school—open since 2001—before taking students on 15-minute riding sessions. When winter comes, the instructors dry-dock their boards in local bear caves and show students how to navigate the drifts with snowboard lessons at their ski park, which opened in 1992. Additionally, Raging Buffalo plays host to a variety of events, from rail jams to USASA competitions.
When Director Tony Youhanna and George Solomos founded Little Legends Soccer Academy in 2009, they found themselves filling a niche. At the time, the North Shore offered no quality soccer coaching for youngsters interested in the game. Their first session was a success, drawing thirty eager players, but it didn't prepare them for the popularity that was to come. Since that day, the academy has ballooned: more than 300 children ages 24 months to 8 years old are currently enrolled in its various programs.
Each clinic helps kids build soccer fundamentals such as foot skills, passing, and receiving in an environment that encourages fun and teamwork. Very young players—24 to 36 months—start off in the Born to Kick program, which couples soccer skills with mind-nurturing topics such as shapes, colors, and vocabulary. As children get older and their skills progress, they move into clinics aimed at more advanced techniques, eventually putting them to work in games. The academy's Space program—standing for speed, agility, core, and endurance—does away with the soccer ball altogether, focusing instead on exercises to improve footwork, speed, and balance.
Inside The Asylum Skatepark & Skateshop, boards flip and fly over ramps and half-pipes before grinding atop lips and sliding across rails. It’s there where skaters attempt new moves and perfect tricks in a skate park designed to welcome rookies and challenge veterans. Visitors can also take private one-on-one lessons while there and outfit themselves with new gear from the shop.
The Pilates Studio helps physiques strive to reach their potential with the help of small class sizes and a six-day-per-week schedule. Classes vary to accommodate students of all fitness levels, allowing experienced exercisers and beginners alike to customize the pace and rigor of their carcass reconfiguration. The instructor's encouraging teaching style, sharp eye, and attention to detail help students reach new levels of strength and calories reach new levels of panic.
Hundreds of LEGO pieces scatter across C&A Robot Factory’s worktables, where kids follow plans or their own imaginations to build everything from programmable robots to remote-controlled vehicles. During the center's projects and camps, children work through projects that explore science, math, and creativity. They might build a LEGO space station, program the movements of a solar-powered robot, or use salt water to power a LEGO car. The stop-motion-animation project—where kids assemble LEGO bricks into a movie set and then take hundreds of photographs that are edited together to become a short movie—stretches the potential applications of LEGOs even further.
Creative opportunities, however, aren't limited to structured projects. During open-play sessions kids can use C&A Robot Factory’s thousands of LEGO blocks to assemble buildings or the world’s most uncomfortable carpet. The LEGO Ville area lets toddlers play as well, surrounding them with Duplo blocks, cars, and trains.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.