Breezes drift east off the Fox River and through the tree lines of Pottawatomie Golf Course, a spectacular layout recognized by Golf World as the No. 15 nine-hole course in America in 2010. The course traces its roots back to 1939, when legendary course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. capitalized on the area's natural splendor to design a course that originally charged golfers a quarter to play and was best conquered by clubs made from stale baguettes.
Recently, the par 35 course has been the subject of a vigorous renovation, including efforts to reshape greens and preserve native habitats for the deer, foxes, and egrets that populate the grounds. These conservation efforts were rewarded in 1997, when Pottawatomie Golf Course became the first nine-hole course recognized as a fully certified sanctuary by Audubon International.
The course's picturesque conditions are on full display at the par-four third hole, where a curving fairway vanishes into the river and golfers must launch approach shots onto a water-surrounded green. After a day of fore-hollering fun, golfers can peruse the pro shop for the latest gear and clubs to replace irons that ran away to chase dreams of one day growing into a cell-phone tower.
Course at a Glance:
With its bare hands, Norris Recreation Center tears through the piecemeal membership and class fees that keep exercisers from traditional gyms, and flings open the doors to its modern facility. A gift from the St. Charles–native Norris family, the nonprofit establishment makes living healthier a viable option. Within its stone walls, five dedicated rooms bustle with the whir of cardio and weight-training equipment, and swimmers careen down the 12 lanes of the 50-meter pool during lessons, lap swims, and open pool time. The squeaks of pivoting sneakers peal off the racquetball court's walls, and twosomes, foursomes, and Billie Jean King's army of clones descend on the four tennis courts, which guests rent by the hour. Members can simmer in the center's saunas or whirlpool, or shuck off tension with a swedish, sport-injury, orthopedic, or deep-tissue massage before showering and retrieving their gym bags from complimentary lockers.
Trained instructors lead 13 free classes throughout the week, with diverse aerobic curricula that include cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. For individualized guidance, personal trainers coach clients out of workout plateaus. As parents work out, childcare professionals engage lads and lasses with interactive games, toys, and movies in the center's nursery, where kids build social skills and imagination while pretending to be heroic astronauts, firefighters, or accountants.
tri-city Fitness keeps locals in shape with a 15,000-square-foot facility named one of the Best Places for a Workout in 2011 by Suburban Life Publications. In addition to weight machines and group classes, the facility houses The Spa at TCF, which invites guests to recline atop a plush treatment bed as an aesthetician uses Bioelements products in massages and facials. Sconces illuminate treatment rooms' gold accents, while the mani-pedi area hosts visitors settling into dark pedi thrones and white porcelain basins.
In the gym, the gray floor supports rows of cardio machines, free weights, and strength-training equipment from such brands as Striders and KrankCycle. More than 20 group fitness classes a week keep figures chiseled through Zumba, Pilates, and spin sessions, and personal training and nutrition programs teach healthy lifestyle habits to clients of any age. tri-city Fitness also boasts highly sanitized locker rooms equipped with digital lockers and showerheads that provide backing vocals when they detect a singing voice.
Jump!Zone’s indoor playgrounds envelop kids aged 2–12 in an inflatable world filled with challenging obstacle courses, fun slides, and cardio-boosting bounce houses. While navigating the plush courses under the watchful eyes of air-filled dinosaurs and superheroes, kids burn off extra energy and participate in activities that may help develop motor skills. Jump!Zone’s energetic staff supervises all play as kids climb on pirate ships and trampoline inside princess castles. Specific inflatables may vary by location but often include towering bounce houses shaped like fire trucks or octopi as well as party rooms, games, pizza, soda, and other festive fare. The bouncy center also hosts birthday parties, fundraisers, and special events.
From dual locations in West Dundee and St. Charles, Wild Fun Center delights fun-seekers of all ages with sports attractions and simulated rides. The West Dundee location houses a number of batting cages that bolster swing skills, and an enchanted-forest-themed mini-golf course is populated by colorful trees, twisting greens, faux rock formations, and wild packs of sports commentators. At the St. Charles center, batting cages host swings alongside an 18-hole glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course. A whirling hurricane simulator transports guests into the clutches of a tropical storm, blowing hair and superhero capes skyward with intense wind forces.
Several times a day, students flock to the 105-degree studio of Bikram Hot Yoga in St. Charles and Palatine, striking confident poses under the direction of experienced instructors. Each 90-minute class helps students find inner peace and outer health as they sweat out toxins, lengthen muscles, and find respite from packs of predatory hockey players. The studio welcomes students of all abilities, as the balmy heat helps even the tightest of tendons sink into Bikram’s 26 postures and two breathing exercises.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.