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.
At HomeTown Fitness, guests of all fitness levels can pinch inches in a spacious gym, more than 20 exercise classes, or personal training sessions with knowledgeable staffers. Equipment including treadmills, elliptical machines, and free weights help clients build muscles on their own, while group spinning, kickboxing, and yoga classes can also be tailored to meet each individual's fitness goals. The upscale health club caters to different age groups as well. The nationally recognized SilverSneakers program targets senior citizens, and a Kid's Korner engages children 3 months to 11 years old with games, activites, and Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions led by trained babysitters.
Nestled in the historic Flanders House, Art Cube Studios contributes to the creative community in three distinct ways. First and foremost are their all-ages art classes, available in both one-off workshops and multiweek curriculums. The classes give participants the opportunity to work with media such as ceramics, acrylic paint, watercolors, the written word, and invisible ink for the extra shy. The studio’s second contribution is as a venue where students and resident artists can sell their work during a show. Finally, anyone in the community is welcome to rent out studio space by the hour, day, week, month, or pound.
Inside Bikram Yoga Plainfield’s cozy studios, soaring temperatures allow students contorted in muscle-building postures to deepen their stretching and expel toxins through perspiration. Expert instructors lead students through a series of 26 postures, each building off the next to help them build flexibility, strength, and enough confidence to never again be intimidated by a pretzel. Parents can drop off mini-yogis for childcare five mornings a week before stretching out muscles on their own mat or one rented from the studio.
The only thing more fun than watching babies and toddlers make music is being the baby or toddler making music (unless you're riding a roller coaster). Plunge head-first into melodies with today's Groupon: for $15, you get a two-week sing-along session for a child and parent at Music Together of Naperville ($30 Value). There are locations in Aurora, Naperville, and Plainfield. Children between the ages of birth and 6 can participate in these classes.
If you've ever marveled at a photo of a NASA space shuttle as it rockets into the stratosphere, chances are you're looking at the work of Frank Jackowiak. The expert photographer counts NASA among the many clients for whom he captures inimitable images. Others—including Canon, Chrysler, Nikon, Sears, EAA- Experimental Aircraft Association, and Air & Space— have led him to hone the expert skills he now uses to guide fledgling shutterbugs at his Naperville studio. Here, Jackowiak taps into his experiences teaching college courses to teach students how to work their digital or manual cameras, starting with basic camera operation, and progressing to topics such as composition, lighting, and squeezing one eye shut. In doing so, he also helps unearth each student's inner artist, encouraging them to pursue whichever type of photography inspires them most.