Kayaks glide serenely through the South Bay as the sightseers dip paddles into the water or stop to take pictures of migrating birds. Led by a docent for the Living Coast Discovery Center with five years of experience, Chula Vista Kayak’s tours navigate these oft-overlooked waters in search of rare sights, such as the local Pacific green sea turtles coming up for air or the abundant wildlife including raptors, great blue herons, and egrets. Tours welcome beginners and seasoned kayakers alike; no matter their experience level, guests brush up on water safety with a 15-minute introduction before they’re clear to push off and explore.
It's hard to imagine a seaside dining experience more complete than the one at Dolphins Restaurant, Bar & Banquet. Sailboat masts bob in the harbor just beyond floor-to-ceiling windows, a red canoe hangs from the ceiling to complement nautical flags on the walls, and at the entrance visitors are greeted by a bronze sculpture depicting a human pyramid of dolphins. And that's before you get a look at the menu. Classic seafood dishes such as lobster tails and grilled teriyaki mahi mahi fill plates during dinner service but also during weddings, when tables are draped in white cloth, decorated with floral arrangements, and cleared of all single people. The restaurant also offers a weekly Sunday brunch, with more than 50 items to choose from.
At the sushi bar, chefs wrap colorful seafood and vegetable combinations into 25 largely simple rolls, including the Chef's Marina, which contains tempura rock shrimp and avocado, and the Tijuana, which pairs spicy tuna with roasted jalapenos. In the evening, a tree-studded patio glows with light from several fire-pits, and occasionally the whole restaurant fills with music from live bands, mariachi bands, and DJs.
Step into to a bird's house. Get eye-to-eye with a moray eel. Greet a sea turtle as he swims up to say hello. The Living Coast Discovery Center isn't a nature museum?it's a chance to hang out with Southern California's plants and animals on their own turf. The Discovery Center's "living, breathing, flapping, buzzing, and splashing home" sits on the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, the ideal location for exploration of the region's most memorable residents in their native habitats.
A walk-through aviary encompasses the tidal slough habitat of black-crowned night herons, red-breasted mergansers, and endangered clapper rail chicks, freshly hatched from the in-house breeding program. Bald and golden eagles await up-close encounters at the Eagle Mesa, but the rays get even closer: an interactive touch pool puts the aquatic creatures beneath your fingertips. Raptor Row hosts the Center's rescued birds of prey, all of which have injuries or other conditions that prevent them from surviving outside the refuge on their own. Visitors are also free to pursue their own wildlife adventure along the center's 1.5 miles of walking trails.
Complimentary coffee, cold beverages, and a kids lounge playroom further enhance the relaxing atmosphere at Lounge Salon. While kids busy themselves in the playroom, highly trained stylists treat parents to an expansive menu of services that range from body and hair treatments to nails, makeup, and waxing. Stylists tame locks with custom men’s and women’s haircuts tailored to each client’s look. They also specialize in services that range from formal hair updos and curls to highlights, smoothing treatments, and color correction.
For 15 years, Pearl Car Wash has pampered vehicular surfaces with an array of doting services performed by expert auto aestheticians. Entrust four-wheel friends to the indulgent care of a gold wash to buff up fiberglass panels and erase mud-drawn effigies of Mr. Rogers. This thorough treatment begins with a full-service hand wash, an underbody tickle session, and a stylish tire-and-exterior dressing. Then, car-care professionals step inside each auto to vacuum the carpets of pebbles and stray G.I. Joe limbs, scrub the dash and console, and desmudge the windows. Finally, every car is coated in a flattering rainbow wax and clear-coat protection.
An elite group of trainers with high-level amateur and professional experience lead Bound Boxing Academy. They offer a range of class aimed at teaching kids, women, and men everything from proper footwork to how to properly wind up your fist before delivering a knockout blow.