On Saturday nights at Channahon Lanes and Riverfront Lanes, the lights turn down and the music turns up as colored lights flash on the lanes. This weekly event is called Rock It Bowl and lends both bowling alleys the lively feel of a nightclub or the bedroom of a kid who's really afraid of the dark. Bumpers can be called into action on any lane, and even during the day, the clatter of pins is backdropped by music. Between frames, grownups can escape to the bar for a brew and kids can make their way to the video games in the arcade.
Otter Cove couldn't have a more fitting mascot. The park's theme centers around a river otter, an anthropomorphized version of which occasionally stops by to take pictures with guests. It's not hard to imagine this semiaquatic mammal zipping down one of the park's Salamander Slides and splashing into Turtle Creek, a 600-foot lazy river. Humans find themselves equally at home in aquatic play areas such as The Frog Bog, a 7,700 sq. ft. activity pool with spinning water apparatuses and a waterfall.
The park also contains a traditional lap pool heated to around 80 degrees fahrenheit, just warm enough to keep it from being taken over by penguins. In addition to open swim times, the pool hosts swim lessons for all ages. Otter Cove also helms The Otters Swim Team for swimmers aged 5?16.
Elk Grove Bowl first cracked open its doors in August 1963, and since then, it has evolved in step with technology to become a modern 40-lane alley with automated scoring. Bright colors splash every corner of the space, flaring to life under the black lights of Cozmic bowling, when fog and pulsing music fill the air to make competition seem more urgent and friends' faces seem more attractive. Year-round leagues, including the peewee bumper league for kids, help athletes to hone hurls and spins.
Bowlers can also sharpen hand-eye coordination atop pool tables. Nearby, libations clutter a steel-topped bar and electric-blue booths in a restaurant ringed with vintage bowling photography. A private room is equipped with all of the trappings for birthday bashes, such as pizza, soda, and festive plates sliced from tree trunks that share the birthday girl's birthday.
A classic 80s aesthetic immediately envelops folks as they walk through the door of Elite Cafe & Billiards. Or rather, the 80's version of the 50s. A primary-colored art-deco bar, complete with rows of red bar-stools, chrome, and neon pink stands as the centerpiece of the cafe. The main attraction lies just past the bar: rows of pool tables lit by hanging red lamps. The 17 pool tables?all nine feet long?come surrounded by plenty of room to maneuver, giving players enough space to pull off trick shots and Charleston celebration dances. Back at the bar, pool players can sit and enjoy beer, soda, chips, and beer nuts.
New racers get two races to use on the same day and a monthly license; those already holding a license receive three same-day races. During races, Bowman go-karts zoom around one of three tracks at up to 35 mph, the same speed as an underachieving cheetah.