Since the 1950s, Wingra Boats has outfitted groups and individuals for treks along the serene, wake-free Lake Wingra with their fleet of water vessels. Starting out with a small squad of canoes, the company has grown to include more than 100 canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats across two locations. In addition to supplying rentals, the staff keep limbs limber with yoga—performed on dry land or atop paddleboards—and strengthens cores with standup paddleboard lessons. Youngsters get in on the action during camp sessions, where they learn to cast, reel, and ask fishes for any seven cards, or paddle aboard kayaks and canoes. The staff also lead guided tours and birding expeditions, and tuck boats away for the off-season with docking and storage services.
A player waits silently behind a tree, holding his breath as a group of enemies comes into view. Slowly, his finger moves to the trigger of a paintball marker. He pauses momentarily, then steps from his hiding place to paint the sky in acrylic salvos.
Wyldside Paintball's fields use the area's natural terrain to set a stage for friendly battles. Sporting different names such as Outback and Pines Field, the simulated battlegrounds surround teams in dense forests, felled trees, and man-made walls. Outside the forest, colorful ammo soars over more open landscapes at an Xball field. Wyldside Paintball also employs a legion of referees to ensure safety, fair play, and the absence of performance-enhancing Trojan horses.
The certified instructors at Scooter Tow Hang Gliding School have designed their curriculum to encourage potential students that hang-gliding can be for anyone. In doing so, they introduce beginners to the sport gradually by scheduling flights in the early morning and late afternoon—when the atmosphere is at its calmest—and having them start by only going 2–3 feet off the ground. Once they're more experienced, flyers can join the crew for organized brewery tours and the school's hang-gliding club.
The tough-as-nails ladies in the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller-derby league wow audiences with equal parts strength, speed, and glitter. Since their first season in 2005, skaters and MRD volunteers alike have donated their blood, sweat, and tears to the sport that promotes female athleticism and team spirit in a fun, competitive atmosphere. During the 30-minute bouts, fans cheer and sneer as the jammers attempt to lap the opposing team for points, and the blockers clear the way for their mates while putting the hurt on those who try to stop them. The season's schedule culminates in a championship match, in which the two mightiest teams battle for the title and a lifetime supply of solid-gold mouth guards.
Since the team is committed to supporting their community, a portion of the proceeds from each Mad Rollin' Dolls bout goes to various charities, which in the past have included Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, Alliance for Animals, and Badger Childhood Cancer Network.
Hitters SportsPlex is a 50,000-square-foot sports complex that gives aspiring sluggers the opportunity to train year-round in pristine indoor facilities. With three baseball cages and pitching machines capable of firing stitched orbs at adjustable speeds and emulating up to six different pitches, batters can perfect their swing against throws of all degrees of difficulty. Athletes can also hone their talents in climate-controlled, hi-tech practice facilities for tennis, indoor golf, and pickleball—a combination of ping-pong and tennis that's played on a giant plate next to a giant hamburger.
Established in 1968, Midway Village Museum embodies a sprawling, 137-acre time capsule. Within the museum’s 27 fully functioning, Victorian buildings, exhibits tell the story of Rockford since its incorporation in the early 19th century. Throughout the years, the town has made history as the progenitor of the sock monkey, the launching point for aviator Bert Hassell, and home of the Rockford Peaches—an all-female baseball team fictionalized in the film A League of Their Own, though the real squad neither played in the 1943 championship nor battled a CGI dragon. Other attractions amid the barns, blacksmiths, and general stores include a dollhouse museum and a meticulous archive of Rockford’s long, proud history in the furniture industry.