Housing whiz-bang activities sprung to life from the mind of owner and game designer J. Richard Oltmann, Enchanted Castle & Haunted Trails coax thrills from the young and young at heart. As bumper cars clunk together and an arcade rings with the peal of 250 games, Enchanted Castle’s 60,000 square-foot space fills with scenes fit for dream-like days of timeless tomfoolery. 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. Amusing on a larger, spookier scale, Haunted Trails ushers guests into a 14-acre entertainment complex with two 18-hole miniature golf courses, three outdoor go-kart tracks, batting cages, laser tag, and ghoulishly themed rides for youngsters, including the Monster Hop or Boneshaker. Five acres of picnic grove invite up to 2,000 guests to celebrate events, munch on the restaurant's desserts, or the participate in the world’s third-largest game of duck-duck-goose.
Former professional basketball player Mike Robinson—a product of the Chicago Public School system who was drafted by the Utah Jazz and played professionally in Europe for eight years—created In the Paint Basketball to help youths develop as players. His development programs teach the fundamentals of the game, such as shooting and dribbling, but also connect kids to mentors and encourage them to discuss problems they may be having in school with peer pressure or homework.
The Holiday Star Theater, originally Holiday Theatre, opened in 1950. Classic Cinemas took over the theater in 1980 and renamed it the Park Forest Theatre. In 1990, Classic Cinemas restored the theater to much of its original 1950s appearance, and divided the auditorium into two screens, with capacities of 374 and 276 seats
Evergreen Racquet & Fitness Club's 94,000-square-foot recreational facility is loaded with racquetball courts teamed up with a heated pool and fitness room. Clients reserve their slot and then step onto one of four racquetball courts for a round of racket-based ball swatting and sweat-band-absorbency testing. For a pre- or postgame workout, patrons can head into the fitness room to break a sweat on rows of treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes lined up before dumbbells and Cybex weight machines. Kids age 6 and younger enjoy a tots-only sprinkler area, and the 30’x50’ heated outdoor pool lends moisture to workouts and powdered energy drinks. To soothe muscles after a session of beefing, ligaments unwind in the whirlpools and dry-heat saunas in the locker rooms. Though not included in today's Groupon, patrons can partake in volleyball, basketball, and the batting cages and fielding area for an additional fee.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
Whisper Creek’s visionary architects, Greg Nash and Billy Casper, and Orchard Valley’s architect, Ken Kavanaugh, present two championship-style courses of verdant, undulating terrain, flecked with challenging features. Golfers traverse Whisper Creek's 240 acres of protected wildlife sanctuary in GPS-enabled golf carts that provide yardage measurements, record scores, and eliminate the need to ask tiger-head club covers for directions. During an 18-hole round (up to a $68 value with cart), clubs send dimpled orbs hurtling past imported white-sand bunkers, pristine waters, and more than 5,000 character hardwoods. Over on Orchard Valley’s 6,800-yard, par 72 grounds, manicured practice facilities conduct dress rehearsals for the course’s 18 holes (up to a $76 value with cart), which span sand traps and wetlands, including the expansive water hazard on the aptly named "All or Nothing at All" second hole.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.