Kiska the wolf was the first wild animal to roam the grounds at Moorpark College. She soon became part of the Exotic Animal Training and Management (EATM) Program. With the addition of landscaping and enclosures that mimic natural habitats, the program transformed into a 5-acre zoo with primates, coyotes, emus, and an African lioness. The zoo currently houses almost 135 animals and caters to students in the EATM. In addition to class work, they visit the zoo daily, learning how to train and care for exotic animals. Patrons can witness these interactions with the animals at the shows or during the animal demonstrations where student trainers present animals performing behaviors they have trained.
Comedy does not have to be crude. At least, this is the premise that co-creative directors Tim Kanter and Jeremy Zeller operate under during their Clean Up Comedy improv shows. In 90-minute, family-friendly performances, Tim, Jeremy, and an ensemble cast of comedians build jokes and etch out scenes from audience suggestions. A diverse group, the troupe of actors, writers, amateur magicians, and pie-eating contestants makes up routines on the spot from seemingly disparate words or phrases. Each show's audience fuels the comedic fodder with shouted suggestions or even by helping on stage, keeping every performance as fresh as a backtalking daisy.
With a history stretching back more than 40 years, Circus Vargas wows audiences with dazzling acrobatics and rib-tickling clowns under a giant big-top tent. The show eschews animal performers for human-costumed spectacles, showcasing dazzling feats that only a few dexterous humans and short-circuited cyborgs are capable of. The circus's big top, hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of fabric, holds up to 1,500 show-goers in classic, blue-dyed elegance. Early-arriving guests can take part in an interactive preshow, jumping in the ring with ringmaster Jon Weiss as he leads audience members through tutorials that show how to perform stunts such as juggling, feather balancing, and balancing checkbooks with quill pens.
Monarchs National Gymnastics Training Center furnishes the facilities and equipment necessary for young tumblers to develop their skills. The center staffs experienced coaches to teach students during sundry group classes that encourage camaraderie. Choose any four consecutive one-hour classes for aspiring Olympians or unwittingly aspiring Olympians, including co-ed kinder classes designed for ideally low-to-the-ground toddlers or a boys-and-girls tumbling session—for ages 6–18—that teaches kids the easiest ways to catapult themselves out of a room during awkward silences or boring lectures. All-girls and all-boys classes are available for kids aged 6–18, and a girls' cheer class prepares sprightly young ones for futures as high-school pep leaders.
A red carpet leads the way past a cluster of spotlights, and two large lacquered doors grant access to a low-lit room. Conversation buzzes, layered over the underlying thumping of music that emanates throughout the space. It's the quintessential modern nightclub, but Sunset Room is alive with old-school Hollywood glamour; it's decorated with crystal chandeliers and dark wood, aesthetic touches that are the very antithesis of stale chain restaurants or picnic tables set up in a cave. In the dining room, white tablecloths rest beneath the light of flickering candles, and small plates encourage sharing bites of flatbread and steak sliders. Reserved seating can make guests feel extra special, and live bands and DJs start dance parties on the dance floor. A team of mixologists also arrives on the scene to shake and stir a variety of craft cocktails and drinks at the towering bar.
The elegant mixture of cuisine, libations, and decor that constitutes Sunset Room is the brainchild of Chris Breed and James Ashford. Since 1990, Chris has been improving nightlife in Hollywood, first with the Roxbury Supper Club and now with Sunset. Chris teams up with James, who has a background as an LAPD officer and a real-estate man.
Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.