Contained entirely inside a 60,000-square-foot arena, CoCo Key Water Resort keeps its air temperature at a constant 84 degrees to complement its tropical-themed attractions. A trio of four-story waterslides dares bare feet forward, before the calm waters of the winding Coconut Grove Adventure River calmly buoy them. Parrot's Perch interactive play island and Coral Reef Cavern activity pool reel in splashers with an interactive hanging net and a tipping bucket, eschewing less popular activities, such as maritime trade negotiations. Guests can also pursue ample on-land activities in an indoor-outdoor spa or navigate 10,000 square feet of prize games at the Key Quest Arcade. In an effort to lessen energy consumption, visitors must bring their own towels, though staffers organize and provide supplies for children's birthday parties.
Pearls are synonymous with beauty and luxury, so it's fitting that Pearl is such a pleasure to look at. A granite oval bar sits at the center of the 150-seat bistro, and high- and low-top granite tables orbit around the rest of the 6,400-square-foot space. Natural light pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows, giving the main dining area a light and airy personality that explains why so many other restaurants asked it to the prom.
Against this gorgeous framework, guests gather for lunch, dinner, and late-night cocktails. Many of them visit for Pearl's renowned Tuscan-style pizzas, which are cooked inside the belly of a large brick oven. The menu's main courses are a bit more formal. They include fresh diver scallops wrapped in prosciutto and grilled filet mignon. Cocktails provide a splendid counterpart to such classy feasts, as do bottles of wine plucked from Pearl's enclosed wine room.
Café Belwah presents inventive cuisine and sophisticated adult beverages in a refined yet relaxed atmosphere. Hearty breakfast choices, such as pancakes topped with sautéed apples, bananas, and homemade butter-pecan syrup ($7), imbue diners with the strength to speed-read encyclopedias or move mountains just a touch to the left. Lunchtime arrives with salads, soups, and sandwiches, including the croissant-borne crab-cake sandwich with chipotle tartar sauce ($10). Café Belwah's wines, specialty cocktails, martinis, and beers flirt with the brain's happy centers and the knees' wobble buttons, and dependable menu standbys are frequently crafted with local ingredients, including the likes of roasted duck with cranberry chutney ($24) and mushroom ravioli genovese ($17).
Zumba classes. Drumming sessions. Poetry slam workshops. A monthly handmade arts fair called HoneyCraft Market. Though these events may seem disparate, they do have one thing in common—they all take place at Mixin Mingle.
Naté Grindeland opened up the space in 2011, and far from a typical community house, Mixin Mingle adds high-street elegance to events with the help of hardwood floors, and black leather antique-style couches. The storefront serves as an all-purpose space for a variety of organizations and artists of all stripes. Perched on the square featured in Groundhog Day, Mixin Mingle boasts sprawling rooms that can host a wealth of activities including private parties, journaling sessions, handmade soap-making seminars, kickboxing classes, and henna demonstrations.
In 1883, inventor Henry Ferris garnered plenty of attention for his new creation: the hay carrier. Perhaps most of the atttention came from Harvard, IL hardware store owners Charles Hunt and Nathan Helm, who urged him to move into their shop. The store became the Starline Factory, and in the following decades, the trio thrived on patents for cutting-edge farm equipment. Even so, their venture couldn't last forever. Around the turn of the 21st century, the building was abandoned and slated for demolition. That is, until a similarly minded entrepreneur, Orrin Kinney, intervened. Since then, Kinney has given the old, four block-wide building new life as a series of art studios and exhibition spaces. Now the creative home for more than 20
artists, the Gallery hosts regular events such as public paint-and-draw sessions, 4th Fridays open houses, and sleepovers where artists can gossip about the hottest new paints. An open floor plan allows for lavish events?from corporate parties to weddings?for up to 500 guests.
Outside of the packed theatre, a sleek sedan glides its way to the curb. An expectant hush falls over the gathered masses as the door opens to reveal the car's famous passenger. There is a pause, and brief silence, before frenzied cheers are punctuated by a flurry of popping flashbulbs. Scenes like this, common in entertainment capitals all over the world, are what the photographers at Photo Booth of the Stars seek to replicate on a small-scale at private event engagements throughout Chicagoland. Their brand of memory-making has proven especially popular at weddings, where reception guests can pose in front of backdrops that celebrate matrimony with pictures of hearts, rings, and the best man giving a thumbs up.