Inside a cavernous gym with aquamarine floors divvied up by clean white lines, badminton devotees thwack shuttlecocks over taut nets. Arcadia Badminton Club’s facilities boast 17 Olympic standard badminton courts, along with amenities such as three ping-pong tables, a lounge, and men’s and women’s showers. Players can load up on gear at the pro shop or stop by the café to strain tea with a racket.
On 12 sunny courts at Arcadia Tennis Center, certified instructors help students learn the fundamentals of tennis and hone their playing skills. Under new management as of June 2012, the staff is dedicated to new beginnings, organizing group lessons for both juniors and adults, each with a low student-to-teacher ratio to ensure individual improvement. In addition to the beginners' lessons, Arcadia Tennis Center hosts youth summer camps and regular leagues, which merge healthy competition with the sport's social aspects, much like a football game's halftime debutante ball.
Greek music reverberates into the open air as the rich smell of roasting lamb entices crowds walking into the annual Pasadena GreekFest in Santa Anita Park. Lined with stalls selling Greek wares and traditional Greek food, the fest celebrates Greek culture with three days of socializing, dancing, and lightening-bolt throwing. When not munching on honey-soaked bites of fried loukoumathes or shish kebabs, families can look at the goods for sale or scale the inflatable equipment in the kids’ fun zone.
Move playtime out of the sizzling summer heat and into the climate-controlled Little Tykes Playground at Kids Island, where children as old as eight can safely crawl, climb, and explore across a variety of pint-sized equipment. Outside food is allowed in the separate snack room, so come for playtime and stay for a picnic. Likewise, while loading up on snacks, load your children's minds with stories using Kids Island's children's library, or read a story out of Mother Nature's library (the Internet) with the available free Wi-Fi. Playing parents and supervising children are allowed leave and come back during the same day for free.
There's no better way to drink up some sun, get some exercise, and prepare for the impending zombie apocalypse than by racing for the finish in the Zombie Blood Run. The (fake) blood-strewn course is littered with obstacles that runners must climb over, swim through, and duck behind to avoid the outstretched claws of the undead. Those zombies will attempt to grab one of the three flags hanging around each participant's waist, but to be declared a survivor, racers must still have at least one of their flags on as they cross the finish line. Regardless of performance, everyone gets a goodie bag at race's end, except for zombies who'd probably just tear it to pieces anyway.
Nestled in the historic Rancho Santa Anita—a homestead originally inhabited by the Gabrieleno Tongva tribe—Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden houses wildlife and plants from all over the globe on 127 acres. Its creators opened the Arboretum in 1947 to promote environmental awareness in a sanctuary that reflects the distinct history, flora, and culture of southern California. The grounds reflect the founders' aim—hummingbirds flutter among the colorful blooms in the Grace Kallam Perennial Garden, and wildflowers, herbs, and veggies spring to life at the hands of community volunteers in the educational Garden for All Seasons. Tropical and temperate blossoms embellish the Meyberg waterfall's sun-drenched stone face and blue-gum trees stand guard in front of the Queen Anne cottage, one of several historic sites that was constructed in 1885 to encapsulate Victorian opulence. Peacocks and great egrets strut among living plant collections, which explode into flowery canopies whenever the right garden sprites are available to aid in pollination.
Members often gain exclusive access to the Arboretum's slate of events, which includes workshops, tours, Yoga in the Garden, and live music performances in the summer months. The Arboretum Summer Nights series kicks off with David Correa and Cascada on July 11, followed by Sour Mash Hug Band on July 25, Ooks of Hazzard on August 1, and closes out with Steve Rushingwind on August 8. Summer camps reawaken brains that usually hibernate until September, and Bookworms Story Time captures attention year-round. Members can also take advantage of free tram rides during SpringTopia on May 3–4.