Kids can literally bounce off the walls at Happenings Family Fun Center, where eight air-filled play spaces invite them to cavort inside castle- or shoe-shaped abodes. The center's more than 30,000-square-foot arena not only houses an inflated playground but also 100 arcade games and 30 Xbox stations where kids can enhance their eye-hand coordination or prepare themselves for an angry mushroom invasion. Families and friends also can spin balls down mini bowling lanes, swing bats in the batting cages, and fill up on pizza, burgers, and corn dogs at the concessions stand.
The horseback lesson takes place at Sunflower Farms, which boasts 170 acres of pristine wooded lakefront farmland, ideal for galloping horses and running a mildly successful Internet business. Start the two-hour session with an hour-long ground lesson that helps riders get to know their horses, covers the basics of riding equipment, and teaches horse-grooming methods. Once riders feel comfortable enough around a horse to not be overwhelmed with the desire to challenge it to a staring contest, they'll saddle up and ride for a full hour, outfitted with a certified helmet from Saddlers Row. Sunflower Farms instructors will work with riders of any skill level, from beginner to competition level.
Following the teachings of Swami Rama, Himalayan Yoga's limber yogis assist all levels of stretchers in adopting a balanced, mindful lifestyle through a variety of soothing classes. Vinyasa-flow and beginning Hatha courses follow a systematic progression of breathing and asanas—or postures—designed to strengthen muscles and align spines, giving bodies the brawny flexibility of a steel-coated rubber band. Himalayan courses impart the wisdom of Swami Rama through breathing techniques and meditation, and gentle beginning courses afford less-strenuous stretching avenues for students suffering from illness, injury, or long-held fears of Mr. Fantastic. In addition to offering individual and family sessions, instructors can adjust asanas for clients with certain physical limitations.
With an armada of kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards at their command, Midwest Paddlesport Adventures' team spearheads expeditions to bodies of water across Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Frequent trips include calming floats down the Fox River––which is densely populated by local wildlife––and Lake Andrea, a former quarry characterized by local rocks. The expert navigators safely guide groups to their destinations, pointing out animal tracks and majestic waterfowl and they commute to the office.
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.
Eric and Markay Suevel have run the eponymous Suevel Studios—a full-service glass studio that creates custom pieces and hosts classes—for more than 30 years. Both proprietors have practiced the art for decades, but their partnership marries two distinct approaches. Eric learned the craft at a young age from his uncle, and Markay possesses a liturgical perspective as an ordained minister with a master’s in divinity. They cut and fuse alongside a team of worldly and learned glassworkers, all of whom bring their own specific expertise to the table, whether doing restoration work or mosaics. The studio's stained-glass work lights up churches, homes, and restaurants as well as their students’ faces after they complete one of 25 classes. There, apprentices acquire the skills required to decorate household windows or liven up bland, translucent reading glasses.