Steel blades rhythmically slice the ice across two spacious rinks at Ice-Plex (formerly Iceoplex Escondido), an all-purpose facility pairing leisurely open skates with practiced instruction from director Courtney Moebs and a staff of pro figure skaters. Specialties span everything from choreography and freestyle to ice dancing and yeti dodging, though basic lessons for both kids and adults are also available. Public-skating sessions beckon amateurs and experts on a daily basis, during which skaters can emulate the moves of their favorite hockey players. Replete with a well-appointed gym, indoor pool, and jacuzzi, an attached fitness center offers classes in aerobics, aquatics, and an aquatic-aerobics class led by an off-duty Aquaman.
Disguised in wetsuits, flippers, and diving masks, humans almost seem indistinguishable from the scores of aquatic life that thrive among the San Diego coastline. In the water, curious sea lions tug playfully at divers' fins, and thick stalks of kelp wave like Queen Elizabeth telling the gathered crowd to go home already. With access to five separate sites in which to see such wonders, the guides at San Diego Excellent Adventures tailor their adventures?whether snorkeling, diving, or paddling?around the experience level of each tour group, ensuring an easy assimilation to undersea life.
During guided dives along La Jolla Shores, swimmers peer in on frolicking creatures such as lobsters, octopuses, and leopard sharks, and standup paddleboards grant access to Mission Bay's shoreline views previously seen only by terribly lost Venetian gondoliers. Currently the largest manmade bay in the country, Mission is known for its calm waters suited to beginners just learning to explore the ocean.
WaveHouse San Diego exhilarates guests with a nonstop beach party that spans four restaurants, various bars, wave machines, and a 400,000-gallon saltwater pool. Guests catch 10-foot waves in the FlowBarrel, which pumps 100,000 gallons of water per minute to simulate the powerful waves and inter-island motorways of Hawaii. After a session of backflips and wipeouts, surfers can fuel up on burgers and brews at the Bar & Grill before grooving out to a live show on the outdoor stage.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center, which was voted 2010 Best Water Activities in San Diego by CityVoter, expertly guides more than 15,000 waternauts yearly in the ways of wave roving. Harboring one of the world's largest instructional seaside facilities, MBAC immerses beginners in basic sailing lessons held in four three-hour installments. Let the marine mavens fill your brain with essential sailing theories and boat handling tips while you man a Sabot, a single-handed boat that leaves your other hand free for high-fiving dolphins.