In 2012, Jump America— located next door to Six Flags Great America— debuted more than 16,000 square feet of springy floor space—trampolines cover the floors and walls. A game of dodge ball gets an antigravity twist over two courts and jumpers can use a trampoline as a launching pad into a pit of foam. Guests aged 3 and up watch a safety video before embarking upon hours of bouncy play monitored by attentive staffers. Between cushy crimson borders, the trampolines send visitors flying into the air during open-jump hours or two-hour parties that come with all the traditional trimmings, such as pizza and birthday candles that reignite every time you try to lick them.
Tip-toeing around black columns illuminated with rings of neon, players catch and zap friends the second they show themselves under the fluorescent light's glow. This happens every day inside Rink Side Sports' 2,000-square-foot Laser Blast arena, which accommodates up to 20 players per match. Just outside that arena, an arcade erupts in a cacophony of bells and whistles emanating from more than 100 video and redemption games. Nearby on the ice rink, ice is carved during public skating hours and kids master the triple Lutz during figure-skating programs led by experienced instructors, many of whom belong to the Professional Skaters Association. These activities all exist under one roof, as well as a 2,700-square-foot 18-hole black-light mini-golf course and a snack bar, which serves hand-tossed pizzas that can be tossed by hand into eaters’ mouths.
When the Halloween season rolls around, the park puts away the holly in favor of haunted fun. The Nightmare from North Street haunted barn promises ghosts, zombies, ghouls, and goblins in spooky, family oriented attractions. Santa’s Village Azoosment Park is open Friday and Saturday nights during October, offering rides, games, eats, treats, and an outdoor beer garden.
When he shuts up his workshop at the North Pole after another successful holiday season, Santa Claus doesn't simply hibernate until next December. Instead, he packs up his sleigh and heads to his summer home at the Fox River Valley's Santa's Village Azoosment Park. Open from May to October, the wonderland greets guests with three separate amusement experiences. The fun begins in Santa's Village, where quaint alpine building and expertly manicured pathways awaken feelings of nostalgia in hearts young and old. There, visitors can zoom down the original Santa's Tree House Slide, hitch a ride on the Kringle Convoy, or snap a picture at a recreation of Santa's North Pole home. They can also tap into the amusement rides including the antique carousel, the Tilt-A-Whirl, and Dracor's Dragon Coaster.
A renowned lover of animals, Santa has also filled his park with a menagerie of animals both familiar and exotic. After visiting Rudolph and company at Reindeer Ridge, visitors can grab a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh on their way to see the denizens of Parakeet Paradise, Tortoise Island, or Old MacDonald's Farm and Petting Zoo. In addition to grabbing up-close peeks of everything from a red-tailed boa to a fennec fox, visitors can also take in an exotic animal show that educates audience members about the park's wild residents.
In addition to the traditional rides that have made the park a destination for generations of families, Santa's Village Azoosment Park also welcomes new thrills for the 2013 season. The Ding'em Dodge'em Bumper Cars invite drivers to live out demolition derby fantasy's from the safety of a rubber-ringed car. Always in the holiday spirit, the park welcomes groups looking to add a spark to reunions, birthday, or group outings. This accommodating spirit even extends to the park's rule book: parking is free, and picnic baskets are encouraged.
There may be several different structures for thrill-seekers to ascend at Aerial Adventures, but one thing's for certain: they'll find a bird's-eye view waiting for them at the top. If they choose the zipline, they'll soar through the treetops at heights of up to 45 feet. On the ropes course, adventurers clamber up rope ladders and teeter across balance beams, all the while safely attached to a belayer below. Whereas on the climbing towers, guests crawl skyward until they reach a door at the top of the towers for a breathtaking view of the surrounding foliage.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.79 value).