Housing whiz-bang activities sprung to life from the mind of owner and game designer J. Richard Oltmann, Enchanted Castle coaxes thrills from the young and young at heart. As bumper cars clunk together and a game room rings with the peal of 250 pay-as-you-play games, Enchanted Castle’s 60,000-square-foot space fills with scenes fit for dream-like days of timeless tomfoolery without a fee for admission. A laser-tag arena hosts light-based combat, a miniature golf course tests putting mettle, and an indoor go-kart track lets driver reenact the time that the Indianapolis 500 was hosted inside a local gymnasium. Platefuls of wings, pizzas, and sandwiches dot tabletops in the dining area, where visitors can feast in front of karaoke, big-screen TVs, and an animatronics stage show featuring in-house band the Jammin’ Jesters.
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).
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.
As the Plainfield community has grown, so has its park district. Although the district was established in 1966, a population boom in the early '90s led to more diversified facilities, each one with different features. The Ottawa Street Pool, for example, invites visitors to bask in 200,000 gallons of crystal-blue water with diving boards and lap lanes, while the Normantown Trails Equestrian Center offers horseback-riding lessons and neighing tutorials in an indoor arena.
Pretty Muddy's founders designed their 5K obstacle course with a simple goal: to provide a stress-free opportunity for women to cut loose and have a blast in the mud with their friends. Women run or walk at their own pace, encountering low-pressure architectural obstacles along the way that are devoid of hay, splintering plywood, and axe-wielding trolls. The finishers sport post-race looks ranging from mud-drenched to only lightly splattered, depending on their course strategies.
Though the course architects designed obstacles to be fun, Pretty Muddy team members are stationed at each one to provide assistance, and obliging signs point out alternative routes for those who’d rather keep walking. The team often reminds participants that it isn’t about how many obstacles they surmount, but about sucking every drop of fun out of the experience.
At least two aid stations are present on every Pretty Muddy course to keep everyone well hydrated. After they finish, muddy ladies can compete for costume prizes, grab a drink and listen to the music, or free themselves of icky attire at onsite rinsing and changing stations.
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