At Raging Waves Waterpark, Illinois' largest water park, certified lifeguards keep a vigilant watch over visitors as they traverse a park filled with 17 water slides and other aquatic attractions, but surveillance isn?t their only job. They secure up to four passengers in tubes before they zoom down a giant family slide and instruct riders on how to position their arms during their plunge down a winding speed slide with a near-vertical drop. Though adrenaline is the Raging Waves' main focus, it also houses slower-paced attractions for the entire family such as a regular swimming pool, a quarter-mile lazy river, and separate children's play area.
With an armada of kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards at their command, Midwest Paddlesport Adventures' team spearheads expeditions to bodies of water across Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Frequent trips include calming floats down the Fox River––which is densely populated by local wildlife––and Lake Andrea, a former quarry characterized by local rocks. The expert navigators safely guide groups to their destinations, pointing out animal tracks and majestic waterfowl and they commute to the office.
Located on the shores of the Fox River, Fox Paintball has numerous fields suited for chromatic combat, along with a fully stocked pro shop. The Shipwreck field is comprised of a wooded area marked with ancient-styled barriers?ideal for both close exchanges and long shots?and is inhabited by a druid who officiates each match. The new Ninja Arena puts players among wrecked cars, a trench, sandbag bunkers, and a makeshift "power plant" building. Bunkers and two-story structures dot the other woods fields, and geometric inflatables provide protection from pigment projectiles and low-flying pigeons on the regulation XBall! field. Offering a respite between operations, the pro shop and concessions booth are stocked with eats, drinks, markers, and equipment by makers such as Empire, Tippmann, and Kingman. The park plays host to numerous tournaments and scenario games throughout the year.
Designed in 1926 by Leonard MaComber, the nine holes of Cedardell Golf Club's par 70 course sit among lush, tree-lined fairways and well-kept greens. On weekdays (a $24 value/person with cart) or weekends (a $27 value/person with cart), golfers can sail their carts over fresh-cut fairways, following the fair winds that guide voyagers to their wayward shots, then playfully toss successive attempts straight into the sun. After playing a round, golfers can realize the peerless putts and crisp chips of their dreams on the course's practice green. Two players can use one Groupon per round, or groups of four can use two.
Days at Sukhava Bodhe Yoga & Music Festival end around the campfire. As flames flicker, they spill light over a group of like-minded individuals: yogis, musicians, activists, and anyone else who has found his or her way to the annual celebration of mind, body, and spirit. According to event organizers, Sukhava Bodhe means "joyful awakening." That's what attendees hope to experience when they emerge from their tents each morning and start a journey into new areas, both physically and spiritually.
Vibrant flowers blanket the festival's venue, the 37-acre Stonehouse Farm. Walking paths meander around the grounds and lead to different events, passing by a tranquil pond and a limestone farm house from the nineteenth century. Across these grounds, experts lecture and lead classes in areas such as yoga, massage, and even organic farming. Live performers score the day with international music that ranges from American Folk to Kirtan, a form of call and response. Dancing often breaks out during these shows, which allows everyone in attendance to become part of the performance and show off their well-oiled Macarena moves.
When you think of Illinois, you might not think of a vineyard capable of yielding award-winning wine, but that’s exactly what you get with the Faltz Family Vineyard, which supplies Fox Valley Winery. The vineyard produces the grapes for wines that have won various awards in national and international competitions.
The vineyard, located about 20 miles away in Sheridan, supplies grapes through its more than 25 acres of vines draped across the rock-ribbed ledges of the Fox River Valley. This is where the Faltz family, their friends, and their employees spend many days coaxing the crop through the long growing season, checking for proper chemistry, and harvesting the grapes before they turn into talking raisins.