Maybe your dream adventure vacation would have you paddleboarding off a picturesque coast or kayaking an exotic river. Perhaps you long to scuba dive so you can see vibrant tropical fish.
Or maybe your style is a little more sports-centric and you see yourself at a clinic with professional athletes or taking up a new game.
If you goWhat: JustPlay! Sports and Recreation Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19
Where: Carol Stream Town Center; shuttles available from nearby park-and-ride sites
Whatever you think you might like to try, you're likely to find it at the JustPlay! Sports and Recreation Festival running Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19, in Carol Stream. And the best part, organizers say, is that you don't have to invest in travel and equipment to get a taste of a new experience. The festival is free.
"JustPlay! has become the ultimate 'try before you buy' event," said Kelly Carbon, community relations manager at the Carol Stream Park District. "Everything is interactive, so visitors have a chance to test their skills in a new sport at no cost."
The event, now in its eighth year, was created to encourage residents and visitors of all ages to try a new sport or recreational activity.
This year, participants can try stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking in an 800-square-foot pool set up for the occasion by Paddle and Trail of Aurora. Meanwhile, would-be divers can try out scuba gear in free lessons offered by the Illinois Diving Institute, which returns to JustPlay! for the third year. For an aerial view of the activities, visitors can scale a 25-foot-tall climbing wall.
Those interested in team sports can meet representatives from the Chicago Bandits softball team, the Chicago Red Stars women's soccer team and the Chicago Fire men's soccer team. The Windy City Wildfire, Chicago's professional ultimate Frisbee team, will teach a disc-throwing clinic and play a demonstration game so potential ultimate players can get a feel for the sport.
A three-on-three basketball and dodgeball tournament for adults are part of the fun on Sunday, and runners can join the JustPlay! 5K on Sunday morning with a mile run for ages 6 to 12.
Other activities include ziplining, Eurobungy and pedestal jousting, along with opportunities to try rugby, disc golf, track and field events and spikeball, which combines volleyball and four square.
JustPlay! is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Carol Stream Town Center in Carol Stream. Admission is free. The first 1,000 visitors each day will receive a JustPlay! reusable bag.
On-site parking is limited, but free shuttles will be available from the nearby park-and-ride sites. For information and a full schedule, visit justplay.org.