Marengo Ridge Golf Club, which began as a modest nine-hole course, endured a 25-year gap before taking full advantage of the surrounding landscape's diverse terrain and expanding into a sprawling 18-hole course. Course architect William James Spear broke ground on the front nine in 1963, designating a large, renovated cow barn as the first clubhouse and cleaving nine holes through densely wooded hills. This layout proved sufficient until a late ‘80s spike in the local caddy population—and business boom—made the addition of a back nine desirable. Construction began in 1988 and, two years later, a new nine-hole track opened for play, presenting golfers with a profound shift in scenery, as this layout was built on an expanse of open farmland. The old clubhouse lasted for three more years, but the awkward location and argyle-wearing cattle called for the construction of a new clubhouse to match the new 18-hole golf club.
Today, golfers enjoy the diverse layout of the 18-hole course from the first hole, the longest par 4 on the course, to the last, a par 5 severe dogleg right. Water enters play on nine holes, including on the first six, creating the potential for an extending water break for thirsty golf carts.
Course at a Glance:
The Great American Cooking Expo presents "It's Just a Taste: Food and Wine Festival" brings together celebrity chefs, culinary trendsetters, and food and wine connoisseurs for two days of eating, drinking, and education. The event fills Arlington Park Racecourse’s 50,000 square feet with delicious aromas generated by more than 100 exhibitors, who alternate between demonstrating advanced techniques and providing tasty morsels and wine samples for the crowds. While professionals show off the methods that produce exceptional flavors, more than 25 premium beverage manufacturers offer up the perfect wines to pair. They provide more than 125 wines to sample, along with ample spirits and cordials.
The event’s organizers hope to provide more than fleeting culinary satisfaction. They also organize stations to help generate menu ideas, teach specific recipes, or inspire visitors to find the perfect gift for a culinary-inclined friend, whether it’s a set of new pots or a kidnapped celebrity chef.
For 38 years, Underseas Scuba Center has helped scuba divers of all experience levels hone their skills. Newbies earn PADI Open Water Diver certifications, while more experienced divers train in digital underwater photography (a specialty of Underseas), night diving, and rescue diving. For an extra dose of adventure, divers can explore tropical waters in areas such as Cozumel and the Grand Cayman Islands on the dive center’s organized trips. Before solo ventures at sea or in human-sized fish tanks, they can also shop for underwater gear by Aqualung, Light Motion, Scubapro and other top brands.
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.
Since 1981, families have flocked to the attractions at Jus-Fun Amusements. They zip around the 1/5-mile go-kart track, drifting around its three hairpin turns, then douse each other with water balloons in the Water Wars arena, where arguments ensue over which bathroom the loser has to clean. A more leisurely pastime can be found on the grassy expanses of the mini-golf, where the obstacles are changed once a month to challenge repeat visitors.
Mary Mayer's career in Irish dancing started when she took her first lessons in Ireland while staying with her grandmother in the early '70s. She loved it so much that when she returned to Chicago, she—as well as her brother John—began taking lessons at a local Irish-dance school, where they danced with such people as Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley. Both Mary and John eventually starting placing at regional and national championships.
In 1980, they founded the Mayer School of Irish Dancing. It began in a basement with only five students—two of who were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie Mayer. These two followed in their older siblings' footsteps by placing in championships and even landing roles in Road to Perdition. Paul trained actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and danced with her in the film. Julie also trained many actors and performed alongside Paul Newman and Daniel Craig.
Though John has since retired, Mary continues to teach classes six days a week in Villa Park and Galena. Paul and Julie man two of the school's additional locations, which now span four states. Their students have placed in regional and national championships. Some have even traveled to Ireland to put their skills on display at the All-Ireland Championship and see if any snakes have found their way back yet.