The clatter of toppling pins resounds through the walls of the 89 locations of Bowling Centers of Southern California, which are scattered across Southern California, Nevada, and Hawaii. Each alley abounds with modern lanes and equipment, and many boast concession stands, lounges, and game rooms. The family-friendly centers host regular public bowling sessions and league tournaments. Many of the centers also host private birthday parties, which science has proven to be more fun than birthday parties covered by the paparazzi.
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes by location to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks. UltraStar Play it Again Cinemas also offers a selection of Hollywood hits for patrons to enjoy in high-back reclining chairs alongside snacks from the concession stand.
At Paintball Wars, the competition is just as unforgiving as the terrain, where splattered rounds mix with the red earth kicked up by dashing and diving players. On Kill Hill, players crouch behind plywood barricades and hay bales, while others climb atop the dirt bunkers, affording them a higher vantage point but exposing them to enemy fire. Nearby, the Flats keeps everyone on the same level, eschewing the Z-axis for ample cover behind barrels and piled tires. Alternatively, the Speedball field’s configuration of inflatable cover changes on a weekly basis, providing new challenges and preventing regulars from memorizing the locations of invincibility power-ups. Outside the battle zones, the park’s armory doles out rental equipment to the uninitiated, including such useful items as one-time-use camouflage overalls and ammo pods.
In 1992, Phil Dietro's younger brother Stu became enamored with his friend's paraplane, prompting him to learn how to pilot the motor-powered parachute. In an old fashion bout of sibling rivalry, Phil too wanted to master the strange flying contraption, traveling with Stu to Santa Ynez Airport for his first flight. As gusts of wind rearranged his hair, and impressed birds beckoned him over for high-fives, Phil became hooked, later seeking further training from the paraplane's inventor, Steve Snyder.
A year after his first flight, Phil's newfound hobby inspired him to establish Inland Paraflite, where he currently schools fledgling aviators in an airborne classroom high above the Apple Valley desert. His exhilarating flight courses instill cloud-curious students with the knowledge to man a dual-controlled Powrachute Pegasus, which reaches speeds of up to 32 miles per hour—the same speed at which the sound of soft rock travels.
Nobody in Santa Monica has a snow-covered slope in their backyard to practice slalom runs. Some think they can just march up a mountain and dominate a black diamond on courage and instinct alone. Instead, they wind up face first in snow, wishing they’d practiced.
In order to prepare skiers and snowboarders for the real deal, and to spare them from slushy, frostbitten shame, two-time world ski champion Bob Salemo devised his innovative Virtual Snow training system. In a controlled indoor environment far away from menacing ski lifts and snowballs tossed by mountain goats, winter-sports enthusiasts perfect their maneuvers in fun training drills led by skilled instructors and the clever teachings of Salemo himself. The faux ski-course simulator, which resembles a large conveyor belt, mimics the smooth surface and wily turns of a downhill slope as its snowy surface rolls beneath the feet of students on skis or snowboards. Future Picabo Streets or Shawn Whites not only expand their abilities to new levels, but they can also practice tricks without bailing out and shake off any bad habits they learned from sleet gangs.
The nine holes of Rancho Sierra Golf Course dot across the arid landscape northeast of Lancaster, forming an emerald oasis among the vast, flat expanse. Once upon the terrain, players send their golf balls hurling down wide fairways and tumbling over smooth greens en route to vanquishing the 2,452-yard course. With three lakes, several creeks, and one Super Soaker–wielding caddy on its grounds, water comes into play on seven of the nine holes. Players can traverse the facility’s peaceful confines year-round, either to play a round or polish their skills on the driving range.
Course at a Glance: