The year was 1899. Renowned psychologist Doctor Francis, disgusted with the inhumane practices in place at the Danvers State Hospital, decided to leave his position at the so-called "Hospital Hell" and start his own clinic in his family's backyard. For six months, all seemed perfect for the Francis family and their 13 patients. But the doctor was so consumed in his work that he failed to see the tragedy that was befalling his beloved wife and daughter. By the time he could tear himself from his clinic, it was too late—his family was dead. Half crazed by guilt and grief, the once kind-hearted doctor forgot his patients, dooming them to neglect and starvation, and dooming himself to a grisly death that awaited him once his wards escaped from behind the asylum's doors.
Today, the scene of this terrible tragedy draws thrill-seekers to brave the halls of the mansion where the ghosts of Dr. Francis and his family linger on. Those foolish enough to ignore the warnings from the guardian at the door endure more than 25,000 square feet of twists and turns, coming face to face with more than 60 terrifying specters and at least one jaw-dropping hospital bill. Those lucky enough to survive the mansion can head home to hide under their beds––but only if fate smiles twice and guides them safely past the tortured souls still confined in the backyard insane asylum.
Now in its fifth year, the Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival has become a celebration of art both homegrown and on loan from the rest of country. As you stroll around the fest, handcrafted items from more than 80 area artists vie for attention, with many up for accolades later in a juried art competition. The festivities run from noon to 10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and each day the main stage features a diverse lineup of live music from Chicago and throughout the country. The schedule includes The Giving Tree, an Americana rock band that has opened for The Avett Brothers, and former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page.
Yamaha jet skis speed across Lake Michigan like waterproofed motorcycles. They're departing from the 31st Street Harbor home base of Chicago Jet Ski Rentals. The jet skis certainly offer high-velocity thrills, but the most exhilarating moments may come when riders take their hands off the throttle and survey their surroundings. The entire Chicago skyline stretches before them, with unencumbered views of Soldier Field, Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Adler Planetarium, and other landmarks.
But customers don't need motor-power to access these sights. Chicago Jet Ski Rentals also supplies standup paddleboards and kayaks. The fleet encompasses standard kayaks and specialty models such as the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island, which boasts pedal-based propulsion and magnificent sails. For elevated adventures, the team fires up FlyBoards, which use a water-propulsion system to transform people into superheros who can fly up to 40 feet in the air and dive underwater faster than Aquaman during an awkward pause in conversation.
Housed inside of an airplane-hanger-like building with a high, A-frame ceiling, Chicagoland Paintball's battleground yields paintballing matches during all seasons. The center suits up players in rental gear before sending them onto the green turf floor to navigate mammoth inflatable X- and barrel-shaped obstacles. After the paint clouds clear, teams can agree to an armistice as they nosh on pepperoni pizzas and slurp down slushies at the onsite snack bar. And in the adjoining lounge, they recharge and recover with free WiFi and cable TV, plus nearby shower facilities that promote cleaner car rides home.
Jessica Ferris can trace her interest in sailing back to her childhood in Chicago and northern Michigan, where she plied Lake Michigan's waters with her family. As she grew up, she expanded her boating territory to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As an adult, she brought her talents home to Chicago as an ASA-certified keelboat captain and the founder of Skyline Sailing School. Here, she passes on her seafaring knowledge in classroom courses that teach sailing principles such as basic terminology, rules of open-water travel, points of sail, knot tying, and choosing the right shoulder parrot. She also engages students with hands-on open-water classes aboard 26-foot keelboats, which begin with an exploration of basic sailing skills and progress to lessons in more advanced maneuvers.
The instructors at Law Weapons & Supply believe intelligence is as vital to responsible firearms handling as attitude and technical knowhow. That's why each of their classes, from basic pistol training to the Glock Operators and personal protection in the home courses, teaches beginner through advanced marksmen with a combination of classroom lecture, live-fire instruction, and approving head nods. Beyond the training facilities, Law Weapons & Supply extends to a pro shop and gunsmith, whose customization services include bluing and detailed cleanings.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.