Swings find their sweet spots at Sugar Grove Golf Center, which grooms golf games with a driving range and lessons. Golf balls blast off of turf mats at the range before settling around targets with yardage displays. Players of all calibers can scratch bogeys off of their scorecards with private lessons or clinics. The onsite golf pro conducts prescheduled lessons until as late as 11 p.m., enabled by towering lights that surround the range and practice balls that have acquired a taste for coffee.
Looking to put a new spin on a classic family activity, the minds behind Glowgolf decided to give the game a phosphorescent update. Incandescent courses place friends and family amid a tropical-fantasy golf world of neon orange, green, and violet surroundings. Players putt luminous orbs through vibrant treasure chests and glimmering windmills while negotiating tricky obstacles near walls portraying black-light-lit aquatic scenes. With more than 20 locations spread over 10 states, Glowgolf's fluorescent labyrinths challenge human players and traveling gnomes.
The kinetic whoosh of powerful swings welcomes patrons to Bogies Indoor Golf Club, which fosters year-round golf training with its professional staff, constructive lessons, and Full Swing golf simulators. Guests can defy seasonal conditions with midwinter rounds at 1 of more than 60 virtual courses, which convincingly emulate the coastal gusts of St. Andrews' Old Course, the unforgiving fairways of Pinehurst No. 2, and the displaced sunbathers of Pebble Beach. Outside the immersive realm of the course simulators, plush seating and a gallery of high-definition TVs keep patrons tethered to their cozy reality in a full-service restaurant that keeps appetites at bay.
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.
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
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.