Home to a frog-tongue slide and bordered by a pair of serpentine water slides, Lords Park Aquatic Center’s 14,142-square-foot recreation pool mixes water with whimsy to the delight of guests of all ages. In addition to the child-friendly fare, the Elgin Parks and Recreation facility invites older splashers to use the cordoned-off lap-swimming area, where they can practice their freestyle strokes and flip turns. Outside the zero-depth pool borders lie a sand volleyball court, a concession area, and plenty of chairs for poolside relaxation.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood tickle ribs in an evening of improvised comedy. Starting with suggestions form the audience, Mochrie and Sherwood fashion witty sketches that free guffaws from bellies and remind sad clowns what they've given up for their craft. Interactivity spices up the evening, with the comedic pair calling audience members to the stage to assist in chuckle-making scenes. The Hemmens Cultural Center ensconces guests in main-floor seats guaranteed to be within 100 feet of the stage, affording straight sightlines to onstage action and comfortable distance from the occasional gargoyle infestations of the balcony.
Sapphire Hills Stable shares its 22-acre expanse with indoor and outdoor arenas, as well as a vast network of trails for casual riding. Lifelong equestrian Cheryl Bethel with a specialization in Western Saddle riding—instructs riders of all skill levels with lessons in Hunter/Jumper and Dressage. Spectators can watch from the indoor arena’s heated viewing room—perfect for protection against the cold winter winds and cold shoulders from horses that won’t return high-fives.
Evil Intentions Haunted House evokes the details of its site’s checkered past to conjure the stuff of nightmares. The area the haunted house now occupies has been plagued with creepy occurrences for more than a century. Since the 1890s the expanse has been used as the premises of a coffin company, a stomping ground for escapees from a nearby mental institution, and a gathering place for the occult’s summer softball league.
Starting in 2005, the Evil Intentions Haunted House team slowly transformed this troubled spot into a haunted house that comes alive with shrieks once night falls. Visitors can leave their cars in the free parking lot and gather in the indoor waiting area before exploring more than 20,000 square feet of tortuous halls filled with dark decor and costumed frights. Demonic clowns, faceless butchers, and cleaver-wielding lunatics creep around corners and leap out of hidden alcoves, scaring both passing patrons and the actual ghosts who occupy the building.
Visitors to the Elgin Public House step into a cozy interior reinforced by exposed-brick walls. A culinary crew revives weary locals with a menu of hearty pub eats and a beer selection of 87 varieties imported from across Europe and the United States. Chefs use certified-Angus beef for burgers, stuff pork chops full of bleu cheese cornbread and mango chutney, and hand-cut steaks in-house after aging them a minimum of two weeks to ensure optimal flavor and prevent them from prank-calling patrons. A calendar of weekly events keeps things lively with regular offerings such as Wednesday-night trivia, Friday-night fish fries, and daily specials. One Tuesday each month, limited-seating dinner-pairing events offer six-course meals, with each course accompanied by an alcoholic beverage, such as red wine or tequila.
Conceived by Las Vegas restaurateur Mark DiMartino, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery evokes Ireland by way of Vegas, with waitresses dressed in plaid mini kilts shouldering trays of chilled beer and pub fare. Like an enchilada stuffed with four-leaf clovers, the eatery’s Irish nachos interpret a south-of-the-border classic in a Celtic way, slathering potato chips in cheese sauce and seasoned ground beef; alternatively, pot roast and vegetables simmer traditionally in the Olde Dublin Irish stew’s Guinness-infused beef stock. Barkeeps pour a full bar’s worth of wine, cocktails, and beer, which surfaces in bottles, bombers, and multi-brew mixes such as the Blue Moon and Guinness combination. High-definition TVs glow with a ceaseless parade of professional and college baseball, basketball, and hockey, and live bands add to the entertainment smorgasbord on Friday and Saturday nights.