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Meet the USA's Newest National Park

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/22/2019, 3:45 PM

The United States has a new national park. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has been re-designated Indiana Dunes National Park thanks to a provision in the same spending bill that averted another government shutdown on February 15.  The Northwest Indiana site, which has been a federally protected national lakeshore since 1966, stretches for 15 miles along Lake Michigan, encompassing 15,000 acres...

Mascot Hall of Fame Ready to Rev Up Crowds Near Chicago

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/12/2019, 12:00 AM

Original Phillie Phanatic Dave Raymond founded the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005 to pay tribute to professional and college sports teams' costumed crowd pleasers. The enterprise started out online-only, but after a five-year, multimillion-dollar project, there's now a brick-and-mortar-and-faux-fur building in Whiting, Indiana, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, about a 45-minute drive from dow...

Tiger Woods Designing Public Golf Courses in Missouri and Chicago

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/07/2019, 11:30 PM

It has become common for golf greats to turn into course designers.  Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, and Jack Nicklaus all went in that direction—a career avenue that seems unique to their sport. After all, you don't see Michael Phelps drawing up plans for water slide parks.  The latest star of the PGA Tour to try his hand at devising sand traps: Tiger Woods, golf's most well-known—some would say on...

Huge Projections and New Architecture Center Added to Chicago Riverwalk

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/15/2018, 7:00 AM

The Chicago River has had about as strange a career as any waterway in North America, starting with its namesake city's decision in the late 19th century (enacted in the early years of the 20th) to reverse the river's course in order to keep sewage out of Lake Michigan.  Of course, that just sent the sewage—including the foul runoff from the same meatpacking factories that gave Upton Sinclair the...

New Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Opens in Chicago Burbs

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/22/2018, 11:30 PM

Midwesterners in search of chlorinated fun have a new destination in the Chicago suburbs.  Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, the 17th outpost in a chain of Northwoods-themed indoor water park resorts across North America, has opened in Gurnee, the same town (located about 40 miles north of downtown Chicago) where you'll find Six Flags Great America.  The new Great Wolf occupies space once belonging to ...

Rental Car Rates Could Zoom Sky-High Thanks to Lobbyists

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/13/2017, 3:15 AM

Today, the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), a lobbying group for the car rental industry, is wrapping up its annual Washington, D.C. "Legislative Conference," during which it plots its political agenda and schmoozes lawmakers to help make it happen. But some of its battles against consumer protections have already been won on the state level. AutoSlash, the discount car rental aggregator, r...

American Writers Museum Opening Soon in Chicago

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/11/2017, 4:00 AM

The first museum celebrating the collective achievements of the country's wordsmiths opens next week in Chicago. The privately funded American Writers Museum—which is located on the second floor of a building along the city's busy North Michigan Avenue—has a "populist, D.I.Y. spirit," according to the New York Times's preview of the facility. Instead of stuffy libraries full of yellowing l...

Best Hotels in North America Rankings

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/06/2017, 5:00 AM

The best hotels in North America have been named in U.S. News & World Report's seventh annual rankings.  Taking top honors: Chicago's posh the Langham, which opened in 2013 in a 52-story modernist tower alongside the Chicago River. Runners-up include two hotels in Hawaii—the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (#2) and the Montage Kapalua Bay (#4)—as well as the Jefferson in Washington, D.C. ...

Trump Tower a Delicate Matter for Chicago Tour Guides

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/08/2016, 5:00 AM

You can add Chicago tour guides to the list of people made miserable by the 2016 presidential election.  The city’s popular architecture cruises drift past a number of pioneering buildings flanking the Chicago River. And one unavoidable skyscraper on the itinerary happens to bear the name of a certain polarizing presidential nominee spelled out in giant letters on its side.  “It is str...

Runway Fire at O'Hare Throws Debris Nearly Half a Mile

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/01/2016, 4:00 AM

Debris from a fiery runway accident at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport last week was thrown as far as nearly a half mile, investigators have revealed.   The incident took place seconds before American Airlines flight 383 was set to take off for Miami with 170 people aboard. As the Boeing 767 headed down a runway, the right-side engine experienced an "uncontained" failure, meaning in...

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