During public skate sessions at SJCH Ice Center of Bakersfield, a SMG managed facility, staffers give experienced skaters a wide berth, but stay on hand to assist novices with the basics, including lacing up their skates and getting back up after taking a tumble on the ice.
Instruction continues at the skating school, where students of all levels and ages can enhance their skating skills during private lessons or 12-person classes with 12 free public skating sessions and progress reports after their first month. The climate-controlled center—always kept at below 60 degrees—also hosts 14-week youth hockey seasons and three divisions of adult hockey league, which accommodate recreational to top-tier players.
Along with action on the rink, SJCH Ice Center of Bakersfield keeps its pro shop stocked with figure skating and hockey apparel. The in-house technicians can spruce up skates with repair and sharpening services. After hockey games or skating practice, guests can reenergize with pizza, popcorn, and hot chocolate from the Slap Shot snack bar, which entertains visitors with video games such as Super Mario Goes Ice Fishing.
The family-owned Russo's Books has fed text-hungry residents with tasty volumes and savory selections for more than two decades. Each organized shelf greets readers bedecked with varied titles. Parse through Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ($7.59) or James Patterson's Private ($26.59 for hardcover) for spine-tingling spine-bounds, or discover local page-turning prosematicians such as Gerald Haslam and Kat Martin. Russo's Youth Advisory Council taps a fertile well of young pundits from Bakersfield-area schools to carefully select the finest youth literature, and Russo's warm, helpful staff is quick to offer any recommendations.
Tucked amid the shadows of eucalyptus trees and mexican palms, Buena Vista Golf Course roams across 6,710 yards of dramatically undulating terrain. Throughout the par-72 layout, golfers grapple with uneven lies wrought by the hilly topography, as well as large, contoured greens that require a soft touch with the putter. As players make their way from tee to green, hillcrests offer glimpses of the surrounding farmland, the two lakes that comprise Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Center, and distant mountains as they ripple out into the horizon and hide the unsightly edge of the earth. Guests looking to polish their game can consult Buena Vista's two PGA Class A professionals, who offer private lessons and club-fitting services.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-72 course
Total length of 6,710 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 72.9 from the back tees
Slope rating of 124 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.79 value).
Nestled near Rincon Beach and stocked with gear from makers such as Volcom, Billabong, and Dakine, A-Frame Surf’s modest shop could never host a reunion for its surfing lessons’ alumni. They wouldn’t fit inside—more than 10,000 surfers have honed their craft with the shop’s CPR- and first-aid-certified instructors during both private and public lessons. Each session is held on a surfboard or a standup paddleboard and has a customizable curriculum that covers topics such as transitioning from paddling to standing and surf etiquette, which mandates that you write a thank-you card to every wave you surf.
In 1962, the Richards family began a surfing expedition, outfitting explorers of the Pacific waves under the banner of Val Surf. The shop has remained a family-owned haven of board-sports gear and apparel ever since, boasting bragging rights as the first-ever dealer of Quiksilver products and a partner with Burton Snowboards from its inception in 1977. Like beavers with master's degrees in woodworking, the staff?s passion is its profession, with surf-, snow-, and skate-enthusiast employees ready to match guests with proven brand-name gear from Volcom and Billabong or lesser-known offerings from up-and-comers such as Fourstar Clothing and RVCA.