Chicagoland Baseball Academy's 5,000-square-foot training facility reverberates with the clink of balls ricocheting off aluminum bats, the pop of pitches hurtling into practice nets, and the cries of ?Got it!? from fielders communicating a pop fly. Owned by longtime baseball trainer and high-school head coach Bill Rosencrans, the Academy helps players improve their games through lessons that isolate essential skills such as power throwing and executing double plays. To ensure each athlete plays to his or her full potential, classes also focus on regular core training, using ropes, medicine balls, and plyometrics to keep bodies in top shape.
Outside, snow falls, wind rattles leaf-less branches, and winter blankets the landscape. Then the crack of the bat rings out. That sound of summer is available all year long at Stella's, which offers heated indoor batting cages in the winter and open-air outdoor cages in the summer. An onsite bats and gloves shop outfits players with stacks of Easton and Wilson A2000 mitts and Louisville Slugger and DeMarini bats.
As the sight of pop flies and line drives keep summer always within reach, so too do the aromas of Vienna hot dogs, bratwursts, and burgers wafting through the air. Stella's restaurant also provides ball players and their families with homemade Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. To celebrate turning another year older or finally getting zombie Babe Ruth on the team, Stella's offers party packages that include good eats, game tokens, and batting cages.
Tri-Fitness's duo of certified trainers help clients, from athletes to those who have never exercised, build their personal fitness through both functional and sports-specific training methods. As the conditioning and speed coach for the Chicago Force women's football team, Tri-Fitness founder Ron Munvez specializes in helping athletes such as runners, golfers, and baseball players fine-tune their bodies for peak performance. He and fellow trainer Brian Lyons lead a vigorous boot-camp program and TRX Suspension classes whose exercise machines use the exerciser’s own body weight to build and tone muscle, accommodating clients of all ages and fitness levels. The recently expanded facility houses a collection of modern fitness equipment, including weighted kettlebells, Schwinn stationary bikes, and giant steel hamster wheels.
The organizers of Double Denim Bar Crawl have two goals: raise awareness of autism and have fun doing it. Their yearly bar crawls through historic Wrigleyville, which take place during Austism Awareness Month, gather revelers suited up from head to toe in denim jeans, jackets, and shirts to let loose amid raffles, dance-offs, and debates on the cultural degradation caused by khaki. Contests including kiddie-cocktail races and a rock-paper-scissors tournament complement prizes for best and worst double denim, denim princess, and being a HugeParty. Celebrants can feel good about every sudsy libation they imbibe, too, since profits of the crawl go to Young Professional Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding autism research, spreading awareness, and advocating for the individuals and families affected by autism.
The Hub at Berens Park invites guests of all ages with a sprawling complex dedicated to wholesome fun. Groups can seek out par across the Hub's 18-hole miniature golf course, which encircles a scenic water feature, or protect the strike zone at the batting cages, where softballs and baseballs dart over the dish at speeds ranging from 40 to 80 miles per hour. A circuit of mini geysers erupts throughout the 6,000-square-foot spray ground, where tykes can freely frolic and arm themselves with Big Squirts?refillable water toys available for purchase at the equipment window?for leverage in juice-box hostage situations. The Hub also encompasses a playground with youth- and tot-friendly equipment, an indoor facility with restrooms and a concessions stand, and a party room families can rent for birthday parties or guileless secret-society meetings.
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.