During the Gary SouthShore RailCats' inaugural season in 2002, the players spent an estimated 200 hours on buses—traveling approximately 12,000 miles without their own ballpark to call home. Indeed, the diamond at U.S. Steel Yard was still under construction, forcing the team to play its entire first season on the road. But while the trip could have been a rocky way for an organization to start out, it instead forecasted a wild ride ahead in which the RailCats never stopped moving. After just four years, the RailCats captured their first Northern League title, marking the first of five straight appearances in the championship series—a Northern League record.
Despite that first year away from home, the RailCats seem to have settled in well at U.S. Steel Yard. Within the park, views of the South Shore commuter train remind fans of the team's origins, and a 55-foot scoreboard towers over left-centerfield in much the same way early pitchers once towered over batters from atop a stack of milk crates.
Former professional basketball player Mike Robinson—a product of the Chicago Public School system who was drafted by the Utah Jazz and played professionally in Europe for eight years—created In the Paint Basketball to help youths develop as players. His development programs teach the fundamentals of the game, such as shooting and dribbling, but also connect kids to mentors and encourage them to discuss problems they may be having in school with peer pressure or homework.
Inside Amhurst Asylum, which is rumored to have housed a real psychiatric hospital in the 1920s, things have gone terribly awry. Those who venture into its depths find remnants of what Dr. Amhurst was experimenting with before the asylum was shut down. His experiments were far ranging and often involved gruesome transplants of limbs and organs, all in the hopes of saving his wife from a degenerative disease. Some of his patients still roam the halls, and attempt to reclaim their phantom limbs from unsuspecting visitors in the asylum's darkest corners. The grounds are so scary, in fact, that only the most seasoned adventurers may enter—children younger than 10 aren't allowed in, and children younger than 13 must be accompanied by an adult or Poltergeist-protection vest.
Brunswick has been a trusted name in recreational pin pulverizing for more than a century, providing good times to patrons across the country. Today’s Groupon allows lane-tamers of all skill levels to embark upon their own two-game competitive adventure outfitted with America’s most popular adventure accessory, freshly disinfected bowling shoes. Season your afternoon with a pleasant peppering of strikes, spares, and easygoing gutter balls under classic bowling conditions, or when you're ready to take the next bold step in ball-hurling evolution, engage in a round of cosmic bowling, where dancing lights, thumping tunes, and black-lit bowling accouterments light up the full sensorium. Because you can buy up to 10 of today's deal, you'll be able to spend a good chunk of your day or night at Brunswick Zone taunting your friends and taking out frustrations on a group of hapless pinheads.
Aboard Seabreeze Charter's 36-foot cruising yacht, passengers slice through Lake Michigan's waves, steered by the steady hand of United States Coast Guard-certified captain Lorenzo Carrer. A native of Italy, Carrer has sailed in the Mediterranean and traced passages through the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast. Also decorated with various racing awards, Carrer now helms the yacht during chartered trips, and graciously hands over the wheel when instructing new sailors in the waters near Navy Pier. The vessel itself features two private cabins and a radio with an iPod connector, on which patrons can play classic maritime ballads about the difficulty of untying boating knots. In addition, an on-board life raft and a digital emergency call feature guard the boat against potential mishaps.
As they fall toward the earth, skydivers can glimpse the buildings and rivers of Chicago glimmering against the azure waters of Lake Michigan. This is possible because the team at Skydive Horizonz orchestrates skydives within 40 miles of the city—always to the east, which gives evening divers breathtaking views of downtown silhouetted against the setting sun.
Scenic dives are just one way the team demonstrates its dedication to divers. Location is another—Skydive Horizonz is conveniently located off the South Shore Line.
Frolicking in a 500,000-gallon wave pool, plummeting from 100-foot free-fall slides, and drifting along a 1,200-foot lazy river with 5 mph currents are just a few of the diversions found within Seven Peaks' net of water parks. The aquatic havens spread across Utah, Missouri, and Indiana, luring families and adventurous kayakers with forests of twisting water slides such as the Provo location's Boomerang, which sends passengers ricocheting down three stories. Calmer fun awaits at child-friendly areas such as the Salt Lake location's Dinosaur Bay, where toddlers splash and ride small slides, and lazy rivers welcome both whippersnappers and adults hoping to relax.
In addition to its water parks, Seven Peaks manages a fleet of fun centers in Utah and Missouri. Visitors to the Lehi location enjoy rides on a pirate ship or in bumper boats, and guests at the Orem location can putt through a glowing, neon mini-golf jungle lit by black lights, or whack at the imagined faces of arch-nemeses in the batting cages.