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.
After undergoing a complete overhaul for the 2013 season, Eleventh Hour Haunted House swallows visitors in 30,000 square feet of strobe lights, fog, and theme park-quality sets—some of which loom over patrons at 20 feet high. Such epic scale has earned the indoor labyrinth a coffin full of accolades, including the title of "Best Overall Halloween Event" from ChicagoHalloweenGuide.com last year. But despite the ominous environments and bloodcurdling characters, Eleventh Hour actually eliminates the scariest part of the season: long waits. Instead of making guests stand in line or rake invisible leaves before heading inside, the haunted house invites them to kill time in a festival area with food and refreshments for sale.
Riders unearth the crafty corners of Oak Park during the Arts District Package, a segway-powered tour and activity-laden adventure through the namesake's colorful neighborhood. Your 90-minute experience begins with a quick lesson on captaining a segway before riders embark on a cruise of a nine-block span of Harrison Street, gliding westward from Austin Boulevard and absorbing the myriad galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and sidewalk pheromones that comprise this artsy area.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust is a Chicago-area nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of one of the most influential architects of the modern era. Wright's Oak Park Home and Studio was built between 1889 and 1898 and served as the architect's workshop, in which he experimented with new design concepts, including the groundbreaking prairie style, as well as the lesser-known tiger style and mantis style. The Robie House, a Hyde Park Wright project designed for Chicago businessman Frederick C. Robie, is considered a Wright masterpiece and a centerpiece of modern architecture. All excursions are led by the Preservation Trust's expertly trained guides, who stand ready to impart bits of knowledge, answer tough questions, and pause for pictures with celebrity pillars and buttresses.
The Great American Cooking Expo presents "It's Just a Taste: Food and Wine Festival" brings together celebrity chefs, culinary trendsetters, and food and wine connoisseurs for two days of eating, drinking, and education. The event fills Arlington Park Racecourse’s 50,000 square feet with delicious aromas generated by more than 100 exhibitors, who alternate between demonstrating advanced techniques and providing tasty morsels and wine samples for the crowds. While professionals show off the methods that produce exceptional flavors, more than 25 premium beverage manufacturers offer up the perfect wines to pair. They provide more than 125 wines to sample, along with ample spirits and cordials.
The event’s organizers hope to provide more than fleeting culinary satisfaction. They also organize stations to help generate menu ideas, teach specific recipes, or inspire visitors to find the perfect gift for a culinary-inclined friend, whether it’s a set of new pots or a kidnapped celebrity chef.
The pilots at Sun Aero Helicopters Inc. have been training pupils in the autogiro arts and transporting clients through the skies since 1991. Inside their base at Lansing Municipal Airport, aviators maintain a 12,000-square-foot hangar area and 3,000 square feet of training offices and high-speed computerized flight-planning facilities. Expert pilots impart their knowledge to up-and-coming FBI agents, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and leisure pilots during one-on-one training sessions in Robinson and Bell copters. Pilots also give landlubbers a skyscraper's view of Chicago's landmarks, such as US Cellular Field, the John Hancock building, and the Sears/Willis Tower. When they aren't transporting rally drivers, golfers, and famous wiffle ball players with private charter services, Sun Aero serves national media companies with aerial photography and land surveys.