Founder Rick Sweitzer started the adventure travel company in 1983 before leading one of the first amateur dogsled expeditions to North Pole. Driven by his vision, the guides and instructors of The Northwest Passage lead travelers of all skill and fitness levels to some of the most dramatic terrain on the planet. Locally, the team leads outings around the Chicago area, ranging from stand-up paddleboarding classes on Lake Michigan to kayaking and camping trips in Door County, Wisconsin. As for the rest of the world, Northwest Passage sends it adventurers to conquer it locale by stunning locale during programs that include hiking across Europe, trekking to remote Polar regions, and dressing up like scientists to infiltrate Area 51.
Staff Size: 15+ people
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Street parking
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: The ice rink
Recommended Age Group: All ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Watts is the North Shore?s premier outdoor refrigerated ice rink open from late November through early March. During the off-season, a variety of recreation programs are held in the center?s two program rooms and outside at Watts Park. Each day, Glencoe Park District staffers serve residents of all ages at Watts Center, many of whom have been enjoying facility for generations.
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Long before Watts Center was constructed and the outdoor artificial ice rinks were installed, Glencoe residents still enjoyed outdoor ice skating during the winter months. In the 1950s and 1960s, the park district flooded a natural ice rink in the park near Central School at Park and Greenwood. Today, the professional-grade refrigerated rinks at Watts Center offer a smooth skating surface during the winter months.
Owner Dani Petrie and her studio manager, Debbie Lofdahl, helm a staff of seasoned teachers who lead yoga and fitness classes seven days a week. Inside their peaceful, Zen-style studio, spacious wooden floors offer plenty of room for stretching and posing, and a boutique shop brims with yoga clothes and jewelry by Manduka, Beyond Yoga, and Be Present. When they aren't leading their regular classes, instructors facilitate yoga parties and provide the mats, props, water, and music. Teachers also infiltrate the workplace to lead corporate classes that help businesses and their employees stay happy and healthy. In addition to their 200-hour teacher training sessions, Reach Yoga also hosts workshops on topics such as laughter yoga, which turns self-induced chuckles into genuine guffaws by having participants laugh intentionally.
Sylvia, the owner and operator of Ballroom Dance Center, draws on more than 15 years of ballroom-dance experience and her title as US Rising Star Latin Champion to teach students the graceful art of dance. She and her coterie of instructors lead a variety of programs based on students’ ambitions and desires, ranging from basic dance lessons for students who just want to learn the moves to gold packages that prepare hobbyists for performances and exhibitions. Sylvia solidifies steps during private lessons that focus on technique and styling and supplements these sessions with group lessons and practice parties that allow dancers to experience different partners and practice in a social setting.
At Olly Olly Play Café, pirates bury treasure, knights rescue princesses from dragons, and parents watch as little ones develop social skills through creative play. The interior space looks like a storybook spilled over into reality, with troves of costumes and toys spread beneath a ceiling painted to resemble a cloud-filled sky. A castle stands at the entrance, serving as the junction between different rooms where roads wind through town houses and a kid-size pirate ship lets little ones imagine attacking all-you-can-eat cruise buffets.
Aside from open play, Olly Olly Play Café educates kids during music classes that range from Baby Signing to preteens belting out Broadway songs. Elsewhere, a menu of locally sourced salads and sandwiches fuels visitors and their health-conscious imaginary friends.