Dave Link boasts an extensive background in the sculpture and design industry—he's sculpted toys for Mattel and Hasbro, and worked with gaming-industry giants such as Sega and IGT. Mike Skodacek has spent more than 10 years designing and founding haunted houses, when not acting as a ghoul in full makeup or custom-building his own demolition-derby cars. These two artists have combined their visions into the 45,000-square-foot multilevel Asylum Xperiment Haunted House, blending Dave's affinity for intricate, movie-quality sets and Mike's unique brand of psychological horror that plays on real fears and phobias that could actually happen.
Their indoor haunted attraction spans 40 rooms and three haunts brimming with 40 animatronic monstrosities, realistic props, and film-style sets—where more than 100 actors present gory and spooky vignettes. Many of these sets pay tribute to classic Hollywood horror films, forming a show that culminates in a surprise ending and features a montage of the monsters trying on clothes.
In The House, adventurers navigate rooms and a graveyard crawling with zombies and ghouls. In Blackout, they feel their way through the black halls of a winding maze, body hairs standing up as they wonder whose hot breath just kissed their necks. The Armageddon attraction throws visitors into a post-apocalyptic cityscape replete with streets on fire, ruined buildings, and zombies disobeying traffic signals.
With an armada of kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards at their command, Midwest Paddlesport Adventures' team spearheads expeditions to bodies of water across Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Frequent trips include calming floats down the Fox River––which is densely populated by local wildlife––and Lake Andrea, a former quarry characterized by local rocks. The expert navigators safely guide groups to their destinations, pointing out animal tracks and majestic waterfowl and they commute to the office.
The instructors at Law Weapons & Supply believe intelligence is as vital to responsible firearms handling as attitude and technical knowhow. That's why each of their classes, from basic pistol training to the Glock Operators and personal protection in the home courses, teaches beginner through advanced marksmen with a combination of classroom lecture, live-fire instruction, and approving head nods. Beyond the training facilities, Law Weapons & Supply extends to a pro shop and gunsmith, whose customization services include bluing and detailed cleanings.
Ping pong balls ricochet off 10 tables arranged neatly within a 5,000 square-foot dedicated space, only to rise up and meet a whipping paddle that instantaneously reverses their direction, back over the net and across the table. The scene may conjure images of international tournaments, and for good reason: Joola Table Tennis Club, an official table and apparel sponsor of USA Table Tennis, was never bound to take the game lightly. Instead of limiting invitations to championship-caliber players, however, the club also invites mere mortals to take hold of a paddle, line up themselves up at a table, and try their hand at the challenging, fast-paced sport. Novices can enroll in private or group training with a professional, or even rent a robot for concerted stroke repetitions or practice shaking someone's hand. When ready to put their new skills to the test, players can also take on challengers during all-day open play sessions.
Artist, instructor, and The Genuine Article owner Betty James Hoppensteadt provides students with artistic and practical guidance during classes that cover a variety of mediums. Turn chaotic piles of beads and stones into harmonious arrangements with a two-hour lesson on bead stringing, where crafters of all abilities can learn how to properly wield jewelry-making tools and create interesting patterns and designs on cord, wire, or thread. A large selection of finishing notions completes each adornment, allowing each student the opportunity to leave class sporting one-of-a-kind body ice.
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