Climbing in McHenry

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Multicolored holds dot the climbing walls inside North Wall, granting visitors a variety of gripping surfaces and seemingly limitless routes during their scaling expeditions. Since 1994, the rock-climbing haven has been beckoning climbing enthusiasts to its sprawling confines, where it offers classes and private lessons for climbers of all abilities. Participants can even join teams, in which they can boost their skills for competitions or leisurely scrambles up the noses on Mt. Rushmore.

824 S Main St.
Crystal Lake,
IL
US

Adrenaline rushes often lead to addiction. Having developed a tolerance through many a marathon and obstacle course, the elite athletic team of Adrenaline Games wanted to capture the thrill of the first rush. To that end, they crafted a treacherous trail that gets the pulses of even the most hardened adrenaline junkies pumping. The details of the course are kept top secret as not to spoil the element of surprise, but it can be revealed that elements of mud, foam, and water play their part in keeping competitors adrenalized and dirty as they vie for the top Junkie prize. After the finish line has been slathered in mud, participants can catch their breath while celebrating their victories with food, drinks, and live music.

19 N. 479 US 20
Hampshire,
IL
US

Ticket Reserve rewards football fanatics of all collegiate allegiances with the opportunity to reserve plaza-level tickets to witness the hard-hitting action of the 2012 Sugar Bowl game. Pigskin fanciers can reserve big-game tickets with the hope that their favorite team of chin-guarded play practitioners gets invited to play January football amid the arctic-like conditions of a New Orleans winter. Fans can choose their favorite team, alma mater, or imaginary alma mater and then sit on a chair made of pins and needles until the team selections are announced on December 5, 2011. If the team they picked gets chosen to play, reservations will transform from a fancied fantasy into a fancied reality that will take the shape of two tickets and be delivered straight to their mailboxes or beckoning hands.

840 S Waukegan Rd
Lake Forest,
IL
US

The Gladiator Assault Challenge confronts racers with a 7+-mile course surrounded by scenic woodlands, cheering spectators, and 30 intense military training obstacles. Gladiators aged 18 and older go solo or join forces with other competitors to ford the waist-high waters of Mud Mayhem, rope-swing through Jungle Love, and use oversize novelty scissors to break the finish tape. Additional obstacles test physical stamina with 12-foot vertical walls, fallen trees, and cargo nets that act as moats blocking the finish line. After the Slideway ushers racers to a skidding finish, a complimentary beer and raucous after party lend ample time to scrawl "wash me" on opponents' backs.

7036 Grand Geneva Way
Lake Geneva,
WI
US

Founder Rick Sweitzer started the adventure travel company in 1983 before leading one of the first amateur dogsled expeditions to North Pole. Driven by his vision, the guides and instructors of The Northwest Passage lead travelers of all skill and fitness levels to some of the most dramatic terrain on the planet. Locally, the team leads outings around the Chicago area, ranging from stand-up paddleboarding classes on Lake Michigan to kayaking and camping trips in Door County, Wisconsin. As for the rest of the world, Northwest Passage sends it adventurers to conquer it locale by stunning locale during programs that include hiking across Europe, trekking to remote Polar regions, and dressing up like scientists to infiltrate Area 51.

1130 Greenleaf Ave
Wilmette,
IL
US

Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up of Crystal Lake sprawls over 11,000 square feet of play areas and party rooms teeming with inflatable fun. A stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce house, air-filled playthings, and large imagination blocks that populate the indoor arena, including a regal throne for celebrating birthdays or announcing edicts mandating dessert for breakfast. The ascending 16-foot double rock-climbing wall and a hump-shaped obstacle challenge climbers, and attached dueling slides send victors careening into fun.

On every second Friday of the month, Pump It Up of Crystal Lake throws a tween night party, with pizza, glow products, and a live DJ taking song requests. Families can also tote along their own mini entourage for birthday-party packages complete with private rooms, complimentary invites, and a veritable stockpile of extras to customize the celebratory shenanigans.

1095 Pingree Rd.
Crystal Lake,
IL
US