Slice-prone swings and inconsistent putting strokes meet their demise at Green Valley Golf Range, where guests crush golf balls at an 80-station driving range and sends putts through a tricky mini-golf course. The range boasts towering lights and 20 covered, heated hitting stalls to furnish practice at night, during inclement weather, and through the eternal ice age of the future. The practice facility—which also encompasses a putting green, chipping area, and sand trap—replaces its golf balls every year, ensuring quality equipment for players' enjoyment. The practice facility also houses a virtual golf entertainment experience that allows golfers to play I-tee golf games in which they can compete on courses around the world.
A lighthouse, a pint-sized car, and other old-fashioned obstacles await players at the mini-golf course, a circuit best conquered with laser-like focus attained with the help of Green Valley's complimentary coffee. Clubbers can replenish energy stores zapped after a long day of practice or bench-pressing their driver with a soft-serve ice-cream cone, a slice of Rosati's pizza, or a hot dog, all of which are sold in the Green Valley Ice Cream Shoppe. Adult libations including beer and wine are also available while big-screen TVs broadcast the latest sporting events.
With iridescent miniature golf courses in malls throughout North America, Glowgolf adds elements of phosphorescent fun to shopping sessions. Courses contain sights such as light-defying blush corals, incandescent animals, and lush foliage reminiscent of the glowing trees on Neptune. Each pass is good for three 18-hole games, giving golfers ample opportunity to get familiar with each hole's obstacles. Equipment is available on the spot, so players won't have to carry around personal clubs or seek out a bioluminescent caddie.
It's not every town that can lay claim to its own water park. Carol Stream's Coral Cove Water Park
makes summers splashier for residents and visitors from less-lucky towns with its huge expanse of aquamarine waters, interrupted only by slides and other fun attractions.
* For adventurers: two towering, twisty tube slides; a plunge pool with drop slide and diving board; a 15-ft. climbing wall
* For little ones: the shallow end of the massive walk-in pool; an interactive water playground complete with drop bucket and toddler-size slide; a dry playground
* For sunbathers and reptiles: Lounge chairs dot a deck and grassy hill.
* Food options: pizza, Italian food, salad, and ice cream at RoccoVino's poolside cafe
* Lifeguard safety rating: five stars, one for each sense they use to perceive potential dangers
The River View Miniature Golf Course unfurls its scenic views of the nearby Fox River for guests navigating the sea of naturally landscaped greens. An interactive babbling brook, waterfall, and sand traps all await golfers along the par 42 course, challenging putters with a multitude of geometric recalculations throughout their game. The siren songs of the course's windmill, lighthouse, and various bridges further complicate trajectories while sheltering the Lilliputian greenskeepers. Nine of the holes feature architectural sculpting that make them wheelchair accessible.
Glowing monkeys scamper toward a neon waterfall, and a knight bearing a radiant yellow lance rides past a bright orange octopus emerging from the ocean. What appears to be a time-traveling session gone awry is really the evolving environment within Putting Edge?s indoor black-lit mini-golf course, which whisks players to deep seas, Aztec jungles, and medieval times. Since opening its original location in Canada, Putting Edge has now expanded to 17 North American locations, all of which invite guests onto its challenging 18-hole courses to seek victory over opponents and the forces that keep their teeth from not glowing as brightly as they could. Elsewhere, the facility houses private party rooms, concessions, and an arcade filled with gamer favorites such as air hockey.
At any moment, visitors to Wilderness Falls might run into the resident moose. He isn?t grazing: Maddux the Moose, the family fun center?s fuzzy mascot, spends his time playing its two 18-hole, outdoor mini-golf courses and accepting high-fives and hugs from enthusiastic guests. Maddux isn?t the only fixture that may make guests feel as though they?ve wandered into the woods?; the two mini-golf courses are pretty rugged themselves. The Bear Course, which hosts the annual Chicago Mini-Golf Championship, leads putters past a 35-foot waterfall, into a dark cave, and across creaking wooden walkways, just like the race all of Harrison Ford?s clones run to determine which one will get to play Indiana Jones. Alternatively, the Eagle Course leads players around winding rivers and on a climb to the top of a 40-foot mountain of rock.
Of course, it?s not all roughing it. In the middle of the greens sits the tented arena that holds Wilderness Falls? batting cages, including six baseball cages and three softball cages. An arcade lights up the indoor space with the glowing screens of video games, and party rooms hold birthday and team celebrations.