Each season, more than 222,000 plants change color at The Morton Arboretum–an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Ill. They originate from 40 countries in the northern hemisphere, which means an exploration of the arboretum's 1,700 acres is like a trip across America, China, and Europe. Throughout the year, scores of tree-focused events, activities, and services for adults, children, and professionals keep nature enthusiasts engaged and educated. The sights along its 16 miles of walking trails and nine miles of roads evolve yearly from rich greens in the spring and summer to a rainbow of yellow, orange, and red in the fall, before clearing its canvas in winter. Seasonal attractions, including Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, grant guests with a unique, interactive experience that includes dazzling light projections and electric splashes of color. Such events help summon more than 800,000 annual visitors to the grounds and more than 36,000 member households, all of which visit between 7 a.m. and sunset, daily.
The scenic greens of Arrowhead Golf Club, sporting three nine-hole courses that can be combined to play as three distinct par 72, 18-hole courses, boast the meticulously manicured feel of an exclusive club. Grab a friend and tap buckets of practice balls at the putting and chipping greens, or warm up the swing metronome at the driving range. Pairs board a riding cart to traverse the pastoral playground, whose well-kept bentgrass greens, fairways, and tees sit surrounded by the lush scenery of the Danada Forest Preserve. Throughout the scenic golf garden, players master shots around numerous glassy water hazards and admire new course enhancements.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
Whether they run, walk, or hop aboard the closest CTA vehicle, the participants of the Chicago Urban Race for CHD Research 2013 tear across the city in search of the next scavenger hunt mission. After decoding clues to determine their next location, teams of two to four consult their list of 10 challenges, which span from physical tasks to perplexing puzzles. Teams are allowed to use transportation tools such as GPS systems, smartphones, and trails of breadcrumbs not yet eaten by pigeons. The first three teams to complete 9 out of the 10 challenges receive a prize and, most importantly, bragging rights.
The proceeds of the urban race benefit the Children's Heart Foundation’s mission to raise research funds and awareness for congenital heart defects. Since the foundation's start in 1996, it has funded more than $5 million worth of clinical research in the United States and Canada.
Featured in Golf Digest as one of the best courses on Route 66, The Links at Carillion consists of 27 impeccably maintained holes spread across three distinct nine-hole courses. Golfers can choose to play any two of the courses. With diversely shaped bent-grass fairways, undulating greens, and five sets of tees, each course presents unique challenges to all levels of golfers. The White Course's generous fairways entice aggressive tee shots, but particularly ill-struck drives are likely to practice swan dives into encroaching water hazards that come into play on six holes. The ninth hole is nicknamed The Gauntlet, a tricky par 5 with water seemingly everywhere on the initial drive, with multiple high-risk, high-reward shot options along the slight dogleg left peninsula. On the Red Course, duffers encounter two dogleg right holes and plenty of short par 3s and 4s, which favor shot placement over exhaustive drives from far-reaching mannequin legs. Deep bunkers pepper the Blue Course, making pinpoint approaches a high premium throughout the round, as the course's slick, subtle breaks and heckling flagsticks offer enough difficulties to give even the greatest green gurus a case of the yips.
Bachman Aero's FAA-certified pilots take to the sky inside choppers for flight services such as aerial photography, sightseeing, or lessons in helicopter certification. They provide beginning pilots a chance to log hours in their helicopters, helping students prepare for commercial pilot flight exams or their oral exam on pig Latin pilot jargon. The in-house instructors also groom accomplished pilots for a career in teaching with instructor lessons.
The Geneva Park District encompasses 50 parks and 3,000 annual programs over its 700 acres. Stone Creek, a river-themed mini-golf course with a windmill, water wheel, creek with real running water, and a wishing well offer playful variations on the sport of kings, and is great for groups, parties, or picnics.