A public course complete with tree-lined fairways and pristine greens, Hunter’s Ridge Golf Course challenges paired players with a set of 18 holes as well-rounded as the dimpled spheres that speckle its ridges. Captain your cart over an expansive range of well-manicured landscapes dotted with majestic woodlands and enough sand and water hazards to evoke a horror-movie set at an island resort. This par 72 course strikes an exceptionally balanced level of difficulty, appealing to seasoned swingers as well as active younger players with freshly acquired driver's licenses.
The Dirty Dash isn't the kind of race where runners try to set a new record. There are no ribbons or trophies for the first runner across the finish line either. That's because the real fun of this race isn't in winning, it's in the actual running itself. And watching groups of costumed adults play in the mud, of course.
Part light-hearted race, part military-style obstacle course, The Dirty Dash challenges runners with a course strewn with muddy obstacles with a focus on fun. In order to reach the finish, runners will have to hop over hay bales in mud pits, navigate rows and rows of tires set in wet soil, and even launch themselves down a foamy, 175-foot slip-n-slide. Besides the ultimate reward?the opportunity to spend a day in the mud?each participant also gets a t-shirt, pig tattoo, bandana, and pig decal, as well as a perfect excuse to visit their favorite dry cleaner.
Dirt Runner races don't just challenge athletes—they push them to their limits. Set on rough terrain with a more than 1,200-foot change in elevation, the roughly 5K course is rife with agility and strength-testing obstacles. Those range from complex military-style structures to towering fences that require scaling. After completing the course, participants unwind at post-race festivities with food and music.
Janée Matteson is a little wary of technology. The more ubiquitous it becomes, she finds, it has more potential to keep kids indoors (a trend she has dubbed “acute nature deficit disorder”). Janée, whose family’s roots have been growing in Morris for nearly 200 years, basically spent her entire childhood outside, learning fur trapping and duck hunting with her father on the banks of the Illinois River. So in addition to her deep passion for the outdoors, founding Kayak Morris was largely inspired by doing whatever she could to help kids, their families, and domesticated teddy bears spend more time in nature.
Kayak Morris offers kayak and canoe lessons, and in addition, patrons can borrow their largely new fleet for leisurely trips along the Illinois River, Mazon River, or Illinois and Michigan Canal, which are home to wildlife such as great-blue herons, bald eagles, coyotes and red-tailed hawks. The staff also lead guided ecotours, which teach kids and adults about natural resources and what they can do to preserve and protect them for future generations. Family-focused private campgrounds is adjacent to the State Park along the rivers’ sandy shores invite groups to stay for monthly Glampouts (glamorous campouts) and spend their days taking advantage of potluck dinners, hiking, fishing, bike rentals, or guided kayak tours and to spend their nights watching a movie on Morris’ outdoor projection screen as campfires crackle nearby.
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.
Located on the shores of the Fox River, Fox Paintball has numerous fields suited for chromatic combat, along with a fully stocked pro shop. The Shipwreck field is comprised of a wooded area marked with ancient-styled barriers?ideal for both close exchanges and long shots?and is inhabited by a druid who officiates each match. The new Ninja Arena puts players among wrecked cars, a trench, sandbag bunkers, and a makeshift "power plant" building. Bunkers and two-story structures dot the other woods fields, and geometric inflatables provide protection from pigment projectiles and low-flying pigeons on the regulation XBall! field. Offering a respite between operations, the pro shop and concessions booth are stocked with eats, drinks, markers, and equipment by makers such as Empire, Tippmann, and Kingman. The park plays host to numerous tournaments and scenario games throughout the year.