Coming from Naperville, it’s clear that just like any other town, Naperville likes to be a tourist destination. I’ve lived in Naperville since 1999 and I’ve seen some really great destinations. It hasn’t been just restaurants, it’s been the buildings and scenic destinations. Destinations for most cities and towns are what make people have an interest in coming to the town. This blog will be one of my more unique blogs as it’s not exactly going to involve pop culture like my other blogs. So, let’s check out the Top 10 Best Naperville Destinations. And if you don’t like these destinations, that’s okay, we’re all entitled to our own opinions. I’m glad you can see the good in other Naperville destinations that I’m not able to. So, onto the countdown!
Ifly is sort of the new “thing” that Naperville has to offer. While not popular with me, I can see why Ifly is becoming popular. You know how you can feel the pressure when we have the thought about actually skydiving? Well, Ifly takes the fear out of that. They put you inside a simulator and I actually think the thought of that is pleasurable and not as fearing as the thought of actual skydiving. All I can say is, “Doesn’t technology get better and better as the years move along?"
9. Naper Settlement
As much as Naperville claims to be a historical town, I sometimes think it’s not. Naper Settlement is more of a tourist attraction. It serves as an elementary school field trip destination (because I went there from second through fourth grades for a field trips). At Naper Settlement, they do give good insight of what Naperville was like, from the old schoolhouse, the blacksmith, the fire station, and even churning butter. You can’t help but just admire the taste of history that Naper Settlement provides. Naper Settlement is also a wedding destination because of the chapel on the grounds where people have been getting married for years. Naper Settlement remains one of Naperville’s historic landmarks.
8. Top Golf
Thinking about the sport of golf just amazes me. While it’s not entirely thrilling to watch, it’s far better to play it. Top Golf has decided to take the pleasure of playing golf to the next level. As a golfer myself, I usually take more pleasure in hitting balls on the driving range rather than playing an actual game or putting. I think Top Golf is aware of this because 90% of Top Golf seems to be a driving range. Keep in mind that Top Golf is among one of the more expensive places in Naperville.
7. Millennium Carillon
Remember how people will always say that the Willis Tower is the tallest building in Chicago? Well, I’m considering calling the Millennium Carillon the tallest building in all of Naperville. Truly, there is no taller building in this city. At the heart of the Riverwalk is the Millennium Carillon, a building full of musical bells that ring every hour. Generally I find this pleasant. I attended Naperville Central High School and every hour I would be able to hear the Carillon’s bells go off. It’s easily noticeable because it’s height is tall enough to be seen from your bedroom window. I find the Carillon to be peaceful and beautiful because of its delightful sound and feeling whenever it is played. They do give tours of the tower and if you’re lucky, you’re allowed to ring the bells. I often wondered as a child if there was an actual person operating the bells up in the tower every hour or if it was an automatic player. Either way, I still enjoy seeing the tower’s view from my bedroom window.
6. Hotel Indigo
Hotel Indigo opened on the Naperville riverwalk. I actually wanted to put this at number 9 but I realized how much effort they were putting into the new hotel. Generally, Naperville isn’t as scenic as Downtown Manhattan or Downtown Chicago and isn’t entirely worth staying more than 3 nights. Hotel Indigo will be opening within 2 months and although I have doubts about the hotel’s opening, I think that Hotel Indigo will be a popular destination in Naperville.
5. Morton Arboretum
Many people may disagree with me about this one because it borders between Lisle and Naperville, but I personally think it still counts as being in Naperville. The Morton Arboretum is just blissfully wonderful, peaceful, relaxing, and feels like someone should be out in the fields painting a picture. The Morton Arboretum is the Botanic Gardens of Naperville as it is devoted to nature and flowers. The Morton Arboretum finds interesting ways to draw visitors such as statue art and special flowers from around the world. The Morton Arboretum is beautiful for walks, hikes, and bike rides. You can also get tickets to ride their tram. The restaurant has just enough to offer to fill your stomach. The gift shop does have enough items to turn your house into the next Botanic Gardens because half of the items sold are usually have something to do with nature. I personally think the Children’s Garden is among the best for young children. Winding paths lead you through various trees and special displays of origami. I highly recommend Morton Arboretum even if you’re not a nature person.
4. DuPage Children’s Museum
Ah, this museum, I can easily say that it almost deserves the number 1 spot. The DuPage Children’s Museum introduces the wonder of creativity to young children in the most fascinating ways and it’s a play place where children can entertain themselves. There’s everything to stimulate a child’s mind: bubbles, playing with light, building tools, controlling air, and creating puzzles. The activities challenge kids creatively, from the water area to the huge light bright. DuPage Children’s Museum also provides different classes involving art and music. All the interactive exhibits are just enough to be very unique and allow children to stay active while their parents aren’t around. Long story short, it’s a nice, open, and pleasant place to be. The most interesting part of the DuPage Children's Museum is that the museum overlooks 5th Avenue Station, which means kids can watch passenger and freight trains go by while they’re exploring.
3. Hollywood Palms
When Nova 8 closed back in 2007, it was described as a major disappointment by my family. I didn’t think another theater would be able to top Nova 8. Little did I realize that Hollywood Palms would bring a completely new experience when it comes to going to the movies. Generally at the movies, we buy the basic same thing over and over again, But Hollywood Palms is above and beyond when it comes to the movie experience. We have can choose to purchase popcorn and soda but we also have appetizers such as “Moe Sticks." Most of their meals are usually named after famous movies. I personally go to Hollywood Palms not just for the food but for the theater rooms themselves. Unlike most movie theaters, the rooms in Hollywood Palms are devoted to a certain theme: the jungle, the Wizard Of Oz, and the ancient Egyptian theater (I personally consider the kids theater to be the best). For more classy dining at a theater, Hollywood Palms is up there.
2. Centennial Beach
Centennial Beach is a "family approved" destination. Beaches generally have a wide range of space and plenty of room to run. But if you’re looking for a much more smaller, relaxing beach to lounge at, Centennial Beach is definitely your destination. Centennial Beach is perhaps among the perfect destination for both adults and kids. Unlike most beaches, Centennial Beach has everything you need for a summer day: grassy and sandy areas, trees for shade, chairs, food, a volleyball area, the option to bring your own food and cooler, grills, plenty of parking spaces, reasonable prices, umbrellas, a shallow end with sand, life jackets for little kids, and three diving boards for low, medium, and tall heights. I think Centennial Beach has everything from the snack bar, the safety break in between, and it is the perfect walking distance from downtown Naperville.
1. Naperville Riverwalk
Out of most things that make Naperville the tourist destination it is, the Riverwalk is the Willis Tower of Naperville. With shopping stores around the area and the recent addition of Hotel Indigo, people from neighboring cities and villages including drive to see this area. I’ve lived in Naperville since 1999 and I haven’t seen anything more popular in Downtown Naperville than the Riverwalk. You can learn a lot about the town just by walking up and down the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is quaint, peaceful, and a great place for a nice walk, it even has paddleboats and a cafe. The only downside of the Riverwalk and is that it gets crowded in late spring and early summer. The Riverwalk is just a nice location to walk around and explore Naperville.
When looking back on the history of Naperville throughout its 186 year existence, we’ve seen tremendous improvements and change. We’ve gone from being a small village to becoming a huge scenic destination. With the additions of Hotel Indigo and the Apple Store, we can see that Naperville is determined to become a fierce tourist foe for many cities and I can envision more and more improvements in years to come.
Do you think I missed a particular Naperville destination? Believe me, as most of us have lived here for a long time, I’m sure there’s a thousand destinations that couldn’t quite make this list, so let me know in the comments. And a special thanks to Ms. Anderson, who has allowed me to write these blogs throughout the year. I share my sincere gratitude and thanks to all the staff here at Connections who’ve supported me in writing these blogs. For the last time of the 2016-2017 year, thanks for reading and I hope to be writing next year soon.
And from the Connections team to T, it is a pleasure. We love seeing your writing grow and supporting you in developing your voice. It gives us great pride to share your thoughts and views with our community and world.
It’s time we look at what might be perhaps one of the best animation companies of all time, Pixar. Pixar’s animation style is what rakes in the money for the company but what makes it uniquely special is their protagonists and antagonists in all of their films. Some of these characters are so well detailed that they manage to live forever. So let’s check them out today in the Top 10 Best Pixar Heroes And Villains. And more than ever, if you don’t like these heroes or villains that’s okay, we’re all entitled to our own opinions and I’m glad you can see the good in others that I’m not able too. For a heads up, I’m going to be doing a mix describing both the protagonist and antagonist perspectives and roles in their movies, Onto the countdown!
10. Riley Herself (Inside Out, 2015)
Riley herself is not only the protagonist of Pixar’s 2015 film Inside Out but she also poses as the antagonist. Now that sounds pretty ridiculous and lousy when you first hear it, but it turns out the magic of Pixar managed to make a great hero/villain all in the same main character. In reality, it’s Riley’s conscious mind that becomes the villain. This is due to the fact that Joy and Sadness leave her memory, and she slowly sinks into this despondent state of sadness and displeasure, and we watch her personality traits slowly fall apart without Joy or Sadness running in her mind. In the movie, we learn that we do need a mix of sadness, happiness, anger, fear, and disgust in our lives, we can’t live our best life without all of them.
9. Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks (Cars, 2006)
As much as I despise the shameless marketing-merchandise tool that Pixar is, I can safely say that both Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks are the two perfect main characters for the first film. At first, even as the main protagonist Lightning McQueen starts off as a self-centered jerk, often shunning those around him and hogging all the media to himself, he eventually cleans up his act and starts becoming a more respectable and likable character. As the antagonist, Chick Hicks is a self-centered jerk, who is unapologetic and only thinks about winning, often to the point of nearly getting others killed in the final race.
8. Wall-E and AUTO (Wall-E, 2008)
Wall-E takes the smallest of items, turning them into something useful. while being the only person living on current Earth while the humans gorge themselves silly out in outer space on a ship helmed by the Captain. AUTO, our villain, appears to be the Captain’s main computer who runs the show because the Captain has become so morbidly obese that he’s incapable of doing anything anymore.
7. Nemo And Darla (Finding Nemo, 2003)
This duo isn’t really that complicated. Nemo is a lively active fish that is kidnapped by a diver who learns that life without your Dad is rough. The diver intends to give Nemo as a last-minute birthday give to Darla, his niece, who taps on fish tank glass and shakes bags containing a fish while screaming at the top of her lungs. I don't believe Darla is a bad kid, I believe she is a bad pet owner.
6. Remy & Linguini And Chef Skinner (Ratatouille, 2007)
Ratatouille is about a rat who befriends a garbage boy who then gets promoted to being a chef and together, they become successful at making the restaurant 10 times better than it was. Remy, the rat, is able to control Linguini, the human, by helping him make delicious dishes. Ratatouille overall is the kind of movie that bumps up my spirit whenever I’m in a bad mood.
5. Flik And Hopper (A Bug’s Life, 1998)
A Bug’s Life tells us about Flik who is an inventor trying to inspire the rest of the towns folks to try out his new inventions. Flik's general cheerful personality was what I enjoyed about him the most. Flik simply tries to be that positive upbeat guy throughout the film, until he knocks over the grasshopper’s food after Flik’s invention backfires on him. And thus we meet our villain… Hopper. I think what was so unique about this movie that made me remember it was THE BIRD. Even though she was only given what seemed to be only 10 minutes of screen time, she managed to be the ONLY character I remembered watching this movie when I was 4. I think it was even better seeing Hopper get devoured in the end. I think generally this film has a great storyline about an aspiring inventor and crazed dictator all rolled together in one movie.
4. Carl And Charles Muntz (Up, 2009)
Up has been the most heartfelt Pixar movie I’ve ever seen, I have never seen Pixar go to so much detail in the first few moments of a movie. After Ellie’s death, Carl sinks into depression and despondency, becoming grouchy and longing for his adventure to Paradise Falls. From Carl’s perspective, he’s mostly viewed as the antagonist in the beginning, but eventually he has a change of heart during his adventure and learns to stop being sad over Ellie’s death. As for Muntz, I found out that he was the villain all along, after he was unable to find the most legendary creature he promised the media. I thought it was obvious from that point that he was going to be the villain, along with the fact that he had a talking dog army at his disposal.
3. Sulley, Mike, Waternoose And Randall (Monsters INC, 2001)
There’s something special about Monsters INC. Is it that Billy Crystal was Mike Wazowski? Or was it the fact that it was just the perfect film for all ages to enjoy? Monsters INC. begins as this big powerhouse corporation that Waternoose inherited from his family. Randall gives the plot away when he leaves Boo's door behind. In the end, Waternoose's crimes is exposed and the bad guys loose their jobs. Sully saves the franchise, turning children from having screams to having laughs. And let’s face it, laughs are better than screams.
2. All The Toy Story Heroes And Villains: Woody, Buzz, Sid And Scud (Toy Story, 1995); Al McWiggin and Stinky Pete (Toy Story 2, 1999); Lotso (Toy Story 3, 2010)
This one is a bit of a hard decision because just like all three films being contenders for the Top 10 Best Disney Movies blog, I had to put all of them on my list. Each character has their own speciality of evil, from the toy torturers Sid and Scud, to the greedy and uncaring fiends of Al McWiggin and Stinky Pete, and to the ruthless dictator Lotso. Woody And Buzz start the saga off despising each other, but then go on to become the best friends they are now. From the first Toy Story it was evident that Woody was starting to become the villain after he’d been replaced by Buzz, but then we are introduced the real villains, Sid and Scud. When we get to the third film, we meet one of the most darkest villains of the series. Lotso. Lotso may look plush and cuddly, but in reality he’s a toy’s worst nightmare. Lotso became the ruthless dictator of Sunnyside Daycare, turning a once promising place for abandoned toys into a prison camp. You'll have to watch the movie to see how it ends!
1. Mr. Incredible and Syndrome (The Incredibles, 2004)
The Incredibles was groundbreaking for Pixar. In the past, Pixar had been used to relying on happy-go-lucky movies like Monsters INC. and Finding Nemo, each having a good story and not-so-dark spirits behind it. The Incredibles managed to be Pixar’s first ever PG movie, notably for its violence and cruelty. In the beginning, the Supers have a pretty easy life, stopping crime, and being idolized for their acts. One fan in particular, Buddy Pine worships Mr. Incredible. Only Mr. Incredible rejects him. After this, an endless barrage of unnecessary lawsuits filed by ungrateful citizens results in Supers having to conceal their identities and adapt to a normal life. Mr. Incredible cannot tolerate this as he once was the most powerful superhero the city had and he began desperately longing for his glory years. After he takes on the Omnidroid, he learns that his former biggest fan, Buddy Pine, has become Syndrome (the villain) in his attempt to get revenge. It’s a pretty clever story of the Incredibles and how action packed the movie turns out to be. And, we're getting a sequel. I’m hoping that we get the same action-filled experience. I consider Mr. Incredible and Syndrome to be the best Pixar Hero/Villain.
Throughout Pixar’s 31-year existence, they’ve given us some of the most iconic Disney movies we’ve seen. We live with them, we die for them, and hold high expectations for the next upcoming film. Pixar has been giving us a strong lineup of heroes and villains, making the villain as equal or somewhat different than the original villain of its predecessor. But I know that Pixar needs to have boundaries because it’s meant to be a family-friendly movie studio. Pixar is both perfect for all children while giving parents the thumbs up to let them know their child is capable of being old enough to watch the movie of their choice. Do you think I missed a particular Pixar Hero/Villain despite the ones I’ve listed? If you think there’s a hero or villain you’d like me to know about, let me know in the comments. And as always thanks for reading, I’ll be writing soon…