Single-seat Formula K go-karts sidle beside two-seaters on Kristof Entertainment Center's family-friendly driving track. After letting the wind tussle hair, friends and families compete on the 18-hole scenic miniature-golf course replete with challenging holes and flanked by waterfalls, fountains, and castles. In batting cages, baseballs and softballs hurl toward bat-wielders, and players send bowling balls careening toward pins across lanes during regular or cosmic bowling. Sports skills are further tested at seven billiards tables that leave ample opportunity for sinking in eight-balls, and the arcade's classic redemption games such as skee-ball facilitate fun and prizes. After exhausting all one's rounds of play, Kristof's Bar reenergizes visitors with Pepsi products and snacks while broadcasting sports on its many televisions.
New releases get an old-fashioned treatment at McHenry Outdoor Theater, a 1950s-style drive-in screening two back-to-back movies every night. With a special focus on family films, the starlit screen shines across comforts including a concession stand vending burgers, brats, pizza, and hot dogs, and a dog-friendly policy to ensure everyone has someone cuddly to grab during the scary parts. While the story unfolds on screen, the theater pumps the sound through complimentary radios, and approximately half the viewing spots are equipped with vintage speakers that complete the timeless slice of Americana. Besides new releases, which are regularly updated every two weeks, the theater might show anything from golden oldies to alternative comedies to classic blockbusters.
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.
"No boys allowed," proclaims The Underground's website. If that makes it sound more like a playhouse than a gym, that's not an accident. Inside, you won't find any rows of treadmills or the latest elliptical machines. Instead, lights fit for a dance club shine as catchy music plays through an advanced sound system. In this festive space, women of all fitness levels support each other as they throw themselves into a wide range of classes, from the Latin dance–inspired cardio workouts of Zumba to the intense cross-training regimen of P90X. In other parts of the studio, they sculpt muscles via Booty Barre classes, learn to swing from aerial equipment, and work their way up dance poles in hopes of finding the hunky fire fighters at the top.
Daniel J. Laudick, Sr. has a lot to feel proud of. He has served in the Marines, worked on the U.S. Department of Defense's counter-drug and counter-terrorism unit, and appeared on Discovery Channel's One Man Army. He's not totally sure how that last one happened, though he suspects it has something to do with running into R. Lee Ermey at a Marine Corps ball right before Discovery called. Despite all this, his proudest moment may be a weapon-retention class he taught one Saturday. Soon after, someone attacked one of his students, a federal contractor, and went for his gun. Daniel's student not only retained his weapon using the techniques he learned in class, but also subdued his attacker without firing shot.
The instructors at Northwest Suburban Tactical Training Center aim to prepare students for those kinds of situations, which they refer to as "the 1% day". Daniel and his two fellow instructors—Adrian Rivera, a federal police officer who protects the president during Chicago-area visits, and Matthew Boelhower, a three-tour Iraq veteran appearing in The New York Times bestseller Joker One and whose platoon was featured in Soldier of Fortune Magazine—believe that in these rare but life-threatening situations, people revert back to their training—or lack thereof. That's why their classes cover a broad range of armed and unarmed self-defense techniques for civilians, the military, and law enforcement. Drawing from their own combat training and field experience, Daniel and his team also organize custom training programs on topics such as patrolling, giving trauma first aid, and teaching police how to avoid stage fright when COPS cameramen show up. Holding an ATF license for their facility, Northwest Suburban Tactical's weapon experts advise on and can customize firearms.
Being recruited by the New York Yankees in high school and winning the Heisman Trophy for football in 1985 predictably foreshadowed a successful sports career for Bo Jackson. In addition to achieving All-Star status as a major league baseball player for New York, Kansas City, California, and Chicago, he became an NFL MVP for The Raiders in 1987, forever cementing himself in the pages of sports history books. Today, the multitalented athlete celebrates his career of swinging bats and hurling balls by personalizing Oakland Raiders and Chicago White Sox jerseys for his enduring legion of fans. These enthusiasts also get to meet the man himself as he adds his signature to the shirts sporting his name and number. The folks at Sideline Marketing organize the event. In addition to Bo, they represent a whole host of athletes, creating countless opportunities for fans to meet and critique the penmanship of their personal heroes.