Not far from the hustle and bustle of the city lies a forest, where a different kind of commotion takes place. This is Paint Pursuit Games, a sprawling paintball field. Here, players duck around thick trees and dig their feet into rolling terrain for a truly immersive battle experience. Manmade bunkers offer shelter, bridges and towers loom overhead, and abandoned huts give players a place to catch their breath or keep lookout. Teams can choose from a variety of different paintball missions, including one in which they try to escort one member, their general, to safety.
Costumed actors hide inside Heaps Haunted Corn Maze, ready to scare all those who dare enter. Alternatively, the flashlight maze is completely unhaunted and challenges visitors instead with a series of dead ends, switchbacks, and branching paths that they must navigate armed only with a flashlight. After walking through the maze of their choice, guests can unwind during a half-hour moonlight tractor ride, staying in the mood by singing the Scooby-Doo theme song under their breath.
Chicago Premier Boat Rental & Leasing's team helps their customers experience the joys of water sports without having to purchase their own vessel. With hourly rentals and leasing options, the team of boating enthusiasts hands groups the controls of 21-foot Regal 2100 LSRs, which boast 250-horsepower gas engines, open bows, and satellite radios tuned to the area's best carp DJs.
As the vessels speed along the Des Plaines River, water-sport equipment such as skis and tubes lets trailing passengers skim across the water's surface. Captains can navigate past the McKinley Woods County Forest Preserve or venture toward Lake Michigan. Additionally, Chicago Premier Boat Rental & Leasing's fleet of Cessna planes can help a new pilot sail through the sky with the ease of the fish who invented the jetpack.
Rick Todd, the founder of Chicago Premier Flight Training, leads a squad of six FAA-certified flight instructors, who together have accumulated more than 20,000 hours of flight time. From their home base at Lewis University Airport, the team imparts students with every level of flight instruction, from learning the basic instruments and safety procedures to executing advanced in-air maneuvers to dodge lost balloons. Practical lessons take place in one of two 1979 Cessna aircrafts—each equipped with modern avionics such as GPS and satellite weather. Additionally, students can earn pilot hours from the safety of solid ground within the Redbird TD2 simulator, which recreates realistic flying conditions without real-life annoyances such as rookie copilots pointing out all the clouds shaped like potatoes.
On Saturday nights at Channahon Lanes and Riverfront Lanes, the lights turn down and the music turns up as colored lights flash on the lanes. This weekly event is called Rock It Bowl and lends both bowling alleys the lively feel of a nightclub or the bedroom of a kid who's really afraid of the dark. Bumpers can be called into action on any lane, and even during the day, the clatter of pins is backdropped by music. Between frames, grownups can escape to the bar for a brew and kids can make their way to the video games in the arcade.
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.