It's unlikely that any historic kingdom had batting cages and water slides, but to be fair, Knight's Action Park is a lot more fun than an actual castle. On one side of the park, guests can don swimsuits and hop aboard bumper boats, slip down slides, or set out in paddle boats. Seven mini slides teach smaller children the fun of water-park attractions, while statues of giant sea creatures teach them that life is terrifying. Across the way, a 50-tee driving range lets golfers hone their swing, and an 18-hole mini-golf course caters to putters of all ages. The park's assortment of land-based amusements also includes a Ferris wheel, an arcade, and go-karts.
The Joliet Park District sprawls across more than 1,000 acres, engaging visitors with everything from sports to nature. Guests can wander through the foliaged paths of the Pilcher Park Nature Center and the organic community garden, or treat their senses to the floral colors and aromas that fill the bird-haven greenhouse. The 10,000-seat Joliet Memorial Stadium hosts high-school and college sporting events, while a dozen athletic fields fill with recreational players hitting baseballs, catching softballs, and spiking soccer balls when the referee isn't looking. During the summer, inner tubes transport patrons down Joliet Splash Station's high-speed water slides and 865-foot lazy river, and the glittery strands of Fourth of July fireworks color the skies above the stadium.
Harlem Globetrotters Playing Three-on-Five
Since forming in the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have continued to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2014 tour, a rotating [roster](http://gr.pn/PHdb6w) of Globetrotter favorites?including three female players?takes to the hardwood each game. Spectators might spot veteran guard [TNT](http://gr.pn/rOe0P4) sharing a behind-the-back pass with dunker [Quake](http://gr.pn/QTIGVh), whose high jump once cleared 7 feet, cruelly dashing his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with 5-foot-2 [Too Tall](http://gr.pn/PHdmPh) and 7-foot-4 [Stretch](http://gr.pn/1dYrbUt), the team?s tallest member. During each Globetrotters game, youngsters laugh along and witness the jovial jocks performing classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti. To infuse their visits with an extra shot of unpredictability, the Globetrotters also let fans in each city vote on special rules for every game; past rules have included the use of a four-point shot and the installation of a penalty box. Over the years, similar antics have followed the Globetrotters around the world, including to 122 countries and territories and all six continents on which basketballs grow naturally. The Globetrotters? extensive travels haven?t gone unnoticed: they?re one of the few teams to earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as ambassadors of the sport.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickles ears with beautiful melodies and spectacular performances during its annual "Holiday Pops" concerts. Guest conductor Michael Butterman takes charge of an all-star cast that features six-time U.S. figure-skating champion Todd Eldredge as he shows off his moves and carves his version of a perfect tumbleweed into the ice. Actor and Quad Cities native John Getz lends his vocal talents to festive proceedings, and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Jon Faddis jazzes up orchestral pieces with fiery improvisation. The show takes place at the i wireless Center, with guests choosing from lower-bowl seats for straight-ahead sightlines or upper-bowl perches for enviable views of conductor stage dives.
Joe Montalto was riding high after his first-place finish in the Illinois state wakeboarding championship. It was one step away from national recognition and sponsorship, and he hit the water hard to prepare. Joe was mastering a front flip 180 when he missed the wake and landed in the flat water, tearing his ACL and ending any chance he had at competing professionally. After such a career-altering accident, no one would have blamed him for leaving the sport, but he defied expectation. After years of rehabilitation with his wakeboard, Joe still rides the water regularly and spends each summer inducting new riders into the sport he loves with his company, Ride Lab Wakeboard School. He and his cousin, Cody Jarosch, lead groups onto the water to catch their first jump inside the wake. He also coaches competitive boarders for more serious competition, hosts summer camps, coaches collegiate clubs in between private lessons, and demos Ronix gear for anyone. In addition to his wakeboard lessons, Joe designs clothing bearing Ride Lab's insignia and shoots and edits film for his riders.
The Kankakee County Speedway, roaring into its 62nd season, rouses racing fans with a full schedule of supersonic events. Competitors from a wide range of divisions, including stock cars, sport compacts, and pro late models, descend upon the course determined to scorch their name into the track's storied history and rack up points, which are needed to win championships or purchase novelty-size tire gauges. The speedway boasts a long list of legends, such as Tommy Kroll, who has won six track championships in four different decades. Additionally, autograph sessions after select events soup up memorabilia collections, and children 10 years of age and younger gain free admission upon stating their birthday or proving they can drive a stick shift.