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 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.
True to their name, Spice of Life Tours leads exciting expeditions into the diverse cultural landscape of West Rogers Park, Chicago. Their walking trips take visitors through Devon Avenue, an area rich with South Asian influence. Guests stop at numerous Pakistani or Indian eateries to sample local flavors, and explore boutiques. Along the way, company owner, guide, and teacher Mohammad Ali shares his knowledge about the neighborhood, pointing out unusual architecture and perhaps divulging the name of his favorite historian.
Elk Grove Park District's Rainbow Falls Waterpark beckons water lovers to its sprawling aqueous grounds—complete with slides, pools, a three-story funhouse, picnic spots, and bath facilities for the whole family. Lounge in Sunfish Bay, a tranquil leisure pool, or imitate amphibious travelers on the Lily Pad Leap, hopping across enormous, buoyant green lily pads while gripping an overhead rope bridge before three bullfrogs return demanding to know who's been eating their flies. The Raging Reptile River teems with transparent tubes, and the Calypso Twist twirls adventurists down four winding slides. During the course of a sun-splashed afternoon, families can disperse throughout the three-story funhouse of Pelican's Peak, execute the perfect pike from the Dolphin Dive, or let toddlers test the waters of Coqui Frog Pond's tot pool before committing to enroll them in a preschool of fish.