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.
Cosmic Run provides a multisensory experience that pushes the limits of participants' imaginations with a mind-bending journey through a setting flush with dance music and fluorescent pops of color. As you run, witness futuristic, animated lighting effects before dancing the night away as world-famous DJs spin. During the festivities, you become a part of the cosmic canvas as glowing lights fill the space and the crowd takes on their otherworldly bright hues.
The Chicago Academy of Sciences created a library and collection of flora and fauna specimens that burnt in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, just 14 years after its inception. By 1894, the academy had regrouped and rebuilt its collection in Lincoln Park, where it stood for more than 100 years. In 1999, the academy turned it into the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a family-friendly museum filled with exhibits that let visitors explore the flora, fauna, and ecology of the Great Lakes region.
The 6.35-acre campus hosts more than 15,000 plants, 13,000 birds, and 22,000 amphibians and reptiles in its specimen collections. As visitors walk through, popular attractions include the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, where visitors can stand in a swirl of 1,000 exotic butterflies, and Mysteries of the Marsh and the Istock Family Look-in Lab, which feature dozens of living creatures, such as turtles, snakes, and giant bugs. The Rainforest Adventure area allows families to encounter live animals and participate in interactive activities.
In addition to educating the public, the museum is a local leader in wildlife conservation. It's nestled in acres of restored prairie, where visitors can spot migratory birds and other native critters and plants. Outdoor exhibits include 17,000 square feet of green roofs, a restored-prairie nature trail, and a rooftop birdwalk.
Praised for their calorie-blasting abilities by Time Out Chicago and BurnThis, TruHarmony's heated yoga classes help students hone strength, flexibility, and endurance. In beginners' yoga, instructors lead newbies through flow sequences, teaching pupils how to link fundamental yoga poses with careful, balance-challenging movements and deep-breathing exercises; pose modifications help beginning yogis or those with especially inflexible spandex. For those who prefer working out at more neutral temperatures, TruHarmony offers an unheated class each week.
For a more intense workout, students can head over to yoga sculpt and boot-camp sweat sessions, which incorporate strength-training, circuit-training, and plyometric exercises into traditional yoga moves to build the endurance and strength needed to wrangle sticky-mat kites into the air. Mornings can begin in the Sunrise Flow class, and yogis can try something new in the Barre/Flow Fusion classes. A new "Kid's Corner" offers childcare during select class times for practicing parents.
If 360 CHICAGO—the John Hancock observation deck—had a baseball card, the stats on the back would be pretty impressive: it's perched 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile on the 94th floor, and on clear days, visibility stretches up to 50 miles. With the Magnificent Mile bustling below and Lake Michigan sprawling endlessly nearby, the popular attraction provides some of the best views in the country according to Travel and Leisure magazine.
But stunning vistas and the chance to witness the change on the lake when its freezing aren't the only reasons to visit. In 2014, 360 Chicago opened TILT, an attraction that brings brave guests face to face with a moving set of windows that angle 30 degrees downward for a spine-tingling glimpse of the streets below. Plus, interactive multimedia stations in seven languages share loads of information about the city and its architecture.
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.