In Wheaton, a day at the park is never the same twice?unless, of course, you want it to be. The Wheaton Park District maintains 53 facilities that encompass everything from pools to hiking trails that weave through the area's lush outdoors. With just a glance at a few of its destinations and attractions, it becomes apparent that the district is serious about its commitment to "enrich the quality of community life."
The Prairie Path Minigolf Course and The Rail, for instance, take up residence at Clocktower Commons. Here, 18 mini-golf holes wind past a central water feature while a 12,000-square-foot skate park lets inline skaters and skateboarders practice tricks that are simply too rad for their parents' driveways. Wheaton Park District also includes The DuPage County Historical Museum and the Cosley Zoo, where a trip into the barn introduces visitors to goats, wooly llamas, and other local wildlife.
Each season, more than 222,000 plants change color at The Morton Arboretum?an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Ill. However, key to this arboretum's success is allowing its 4,300 taxa from around the world to bloom in environments conducive to their natural growth. With plants originating from 40 countries in the northern hemisphere, a trip through 1,700 acres is like a trip across America, China, and Europe. Throughout the year, scores of tree-focused events, activities, and services for adults, children, and professionals keep nature enthusiasts engaged and educated. In addition to 16 miles of walking trails and nine miles of roads, guests can also seek new info at the Visitor's Center, relax for a bite to eat at the Ginkgo Restaurant and Caf?, take the little ones to the four-acre Children?s Garden, get lost in the one-acre maze, or walk around the paved trail at Meadow Lake.
The Smart Race's formula is simple: the challenge of a scavenger hunt plus the thrill of a competition equals one fun day of citywide adventuring. Teams of two download the race's iPhone app, then head to one of the starting areas revealed on the day of the event. The app also marks the finish line with a red pin—the only question is how to get there. To navigate, participants puzzle over a series of knotty riddles, each pointing to a location in the city. They mark their maps with pins at each of the decoded spots, planning out their route before setting off on foot or by public transit. At each stop, an app-enabled challenge asks teams to perform such tasks as searching out hidden spots by compass or chase an invisible rabbit by onscreen radar. After completing every challenge, racers head to the finish line, located at a bar stocked with beverages and outlets to recharge both phones and users.
With exposed brick walls, large rounded windows, and wooden barrels decorating the dining room, Rancheros Mexican Grille & Cantina creates an authentic southwestern atmosphere to compliment their flavorful dishes. Metal chandeliers gently sway above spacious dining and banquet areas, where guests share orders of homemade chicken tamales or octopus, shrimp, and tilapia ceviche seasoned with lime juice and cilantro. Burritos bind marinated skirt steak, grilled shrimp, spicy pork, and other ingredients inside a warm tortilla that keeps bites from falling on the floor or floating away in zero gravity.
Equipment: Barbells, rowing machines, dumbbells, Olympic rings, and medicine balls.
Students should bring: Towel and reusable water container
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Just push yourself to the best of your ability.
Fully licensed instructors, thoroughly maintained aircrafts, and a skydiving training program licensed by the US Parachute Association ensure that a jump at Chicagoland Skydiving Center is rigorously safe—but nothing can dampen the thrill of free falling from 14,000 feet. The center’s spotless student record can be attributed both to the longevity of the program, which has been around since 1968, and to the expertise of the instructors, some of whom have made more than 15,000 jumps. Their attention to safety enables visitors to focus on the fun part: a 60-second free fall followed by a leisurely float under a parachute with countless high-fives from passing birds.
Once their feet have firmly planted on the ground, skydivers can celebrate besting Sir Isaac Newton in a spacious facility with games, a lounge, and an onsite restaurant. Instant footage provides new perspectives on daring falls, and guests can purchase pictures and videos to commemorate the event.