Golf with friends is the best kind of bonding. There's nothing like being out in the open air, hearing the wind blow through the beautiful old trees lining the fairways, and refusing to grant your compadres a mulligan. The satisfaction of a well-played hole is amplified by the amusement you get from your partner's three-shot spectacle in the woodsy rough. Today's Groupon gets you and a friend 18 holes with cart at River Oaks Golf Course for $40 (up to a $88 value, depending on the day you go). Your Groupon is good for any time Monday through Friday and after noon on weekends.
Green grass and blue skies bookend the boot-camp classes at Bulldog Bootcamp. Leading the outdoor workouts, owner Greg Major and his team of seasoned fitness instructors spur their students on by shouting words of encouragement and tearing Chicken Soup for the Soul books in half. Major—a decorated bodybuilder and inline skater—has been a certified personal trainer since 1989, and has since picked up the credentials to teach CrossFit’s Level 1, Football, and Kids programs. He and his staff stage CrossFit classes at Bulldog Bootcamp’s training facility in Forest Park.
Five-time national champion and Division A fencer Peter Habala and his team impart foundational skills to neophyte sword wielders in small group classes. Students absorb the art of fencing from the ground up, beginning with concepts and footwork before eventually advancing to lunge attacks and legible sword writing in enemy drapery. Attack postures, parries, and salutes are practiced alongside up to 14 students before fledgling fighters take their final bows and pose for a class picture. RedStar Fencing Club outfits participants with all the necessary safety gear and a French-style foil; students are only asked to wear workout attire, carry bottles of water, and memorize three quotes from The Three Musketeers.
Behind Underwater Safaris' unassuming storefront lies an ocean. Light shines down on the water's choppy surface, and a pod of dolphins leap out of the water. But, like a tank of helium you forgot to bolt to the floor, they never come back down. The dolphin mural is painted, but the water is quite real: it's part of a PADI five-star facility where students prepare to explore waters across the world.
The journey to coral reefs and shipwrecks begins with the guidance of an experienced team of fifteen instructors. The center, which has been open since 1985, has taught thousands of snorkelers and divers from Open Water through to instruction. After introductory Discover Scuba sessions, the staff branches off into more specialized areas, such as diving at night, exploring underwater wrecks, or scuba diving as a career.
Underwater Safaris also hosts annual trips to scuba destinations around the world. Guided and independent adventurers alike are welcome to stock up on gear from brands such as Aeris and Aqualung in the dive shop.
Celebrities and residents run a 5K or kids' dash in an effort to end homelessness, poverty, and violence. Run Home Chicago, hosted by The Primo Center for Women and Children, raises awareness and funds for homeless services by sending runners sprinting down the same city streets that many call home. While testing their endurance and speed, runners also champion the cause of groups across the city that provide medical, emotional support, and shelter upkeep services to the city’s homeless population—almost 40,000 people, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In addition to the main events, race day activities include a kid's dash and guest speakers regaling listeners with inspirational speeches.
Whether they run, walk, or hop aboard the closest CTA vehicle, the participants of the Chicago Urban Race for CHD Research 2013 tear across the city in search of the next scavenger hunt mission. After decoding clues to determine their next location, teams of two to four consult their list of 10 challenges, which span from physical tasks to perplexing puzzles. Teams are allowed to use transportation tools such as GPS systems, smartphones, and trails of breadcrumbs not yet eaten by pigeons. The first three teams to complete 9 out of the 10 challenges receive a prize and, most importantly, bragging rights.
The proceeds of the urban race benefit the Children's Heart Foundation’s mission to raise research funds and awareness for congenital heart defects. Since the foundation's start in 1996, it has funded more than $5 million worth of clinical research in the United States and Canada.