The press certainly likes California Family Fitness, granting the exercise venue such awards as a top spot on KCRA-3's 2012 A-List and Sacramento News and Review's Best of Sacramento 2012 Award. The press, however, isn't the top priority for the gym's staff; they believe that, to quote their about CFF page, “awards don't greet you at the door.” Instead, they depend upon their dedicated staffers at the front desk, chaperones at the Kidz Club play zone, and personal trainers to make families of clients feel at home. Certified personal trainers take aspiring exercisers of all ages through regimens that make use of the 16 available locations' ample workout machinery. Seasoned instructors, meanwhile, hold group fitness classes, free with a membership, fostering community as they incinerate calories during high-energy Zumba, step aerobics, Turbo Kick, and Hip Hop Hustle. Nine of the locations boast pools that host swim lessons taught by certified water-safety instructors.
While hitting the gym, parents can drop wee ones at childcare havens lined with playgrounds and age-appropriate investment manuals. After breaking a sweat on the exercise floor, clients can also shed excess body moisture in saunas and tanning beds.
Donna Hunter started whitewater rafting as a hobby, but after spending 15 years as a social worker in San Diego, she was drawn back to the river as a career. With a few friends for support and a goal to start a rafting-adventure company, she went to night school and honed her business skills. Today, with some of her staff boasting more than 20 years experience leading tours, Donna orchestrates trips down various forks of the American, Merced, Kings, and Tuolumne Rivers to pit participants against rapids as high as Class V. Certified guides lead these tours in Hyside self-bailing rafts and inflatable kayaks, with some rafts holding up to eight people.
Wilderness guides also connect their guests with civilization, often combining rafting excursions with wine tastings and trips to local vineyards. On these overnight trips and other multi-day rafting excursions such as family gold-panning trips, they build relationships with their guests, garnering a clear idea of their paddling skills and the amount of time they've spent practicing in their washing machine.
The company’s camp boasts tent cabins—with names like Eagle's Nest and Falcon's Nest—which populate riverside clearings between picnic tables, swimming holes, and volleyball courts. A camp shop prepares guests with river gear, and hot-water showers let them wash off river water. When not seeking action on the river, staffers organize camp entertainment, such as live music, games, and visits from a local gold panner who demonstrates his craft.
Since 1972, Spare Time Clubs has evolved into a 10-club, full-service family sports club company that includes programs for both adults and children. Each location varies in size—some boasting multiple complexes—and houses amenities such as lighted tennis courts, pools, kids’ play areas, and fitness centers. At the Diamond Hills and El Dorado Hills locations, members can shine up in the onsite European spas, and the jewel of the Gold River club is a lighted stadium court encircled by a 5,000 square-foot observation deck. In the event of inclement weather or courts being overrun by ball-chasing dogs, players can schedule time at the dedicated indoor-tennis center, where eight fully sectioned-off, championship courts glow under the power of tournament-level lighting. World-class coaches develop kids’ court skills at the junior tennis academy, students of which can practice with an unlimited number of sessions at any of Spare Time’s other clubs.
This is not a 'mainstream' zoo," notes Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary on their website. "People who 'don't like zoos' are generally comfortable here." Perhaps that's because the center is more animal sanctuary than public zoo. Since 1963, it has taken in wild animals that have been injured in the wild, orphaned at an early age, or rejected as exotic pets by their owners. The sanctuary's staff provides lifelong homes for these animals, not only keeping them fed and cared for, but also engaging their mental and physical abilities through creative enrichment activities. Of course, education is a major focus, as well, which is why they invite visitors in to meet their boarders. The black bear exhibit showcases a few of these rescued creatures. Its glass viewing panels look into the habits of bears such as Sequoia, who was dropped off anonymously at a wildlife facility, and Marty, who was shot in the hip. Elsewhere, rescued red-tailed hawks perch inside an aviary, and a canine area showcases wolves, dogs, and everything in between.
North American species such as these occupy most of the habitats, but zookeepers also rescue the occasional exotic animal. They saved Orinoco, a squirrel monkey that came from a research facility, and Misty and Pouncer, a pair of mixed species tigers rescued from an illegal breeding facility. By telling these stories, the zookeepers hope to discourage the public from keeping wild animals as pets. Instead, they invite visitors to take active roles through volunteer initiatives and a junior zookeeper program.
Corner Pocket takes its title as a sports bar very seriously. Hooked up to 15 satellite receivers, the nearly 10,000-square-foot bar's 35 flat-screen televisions constantly air games, from baseball and hockey matches to ultimate-fighting bouts. The TVs surround eight balls sinking into the pockets of 16 billiards tables and darts striking the bull’s-eyes of six dartboards. Not to mention balls rolling into goals on a foosball table, pucks gliding along a shuffleboard and gamers competing on Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation consoles.
But amid all its emphasis on sports, Corner Pocket never loses sight of its bar duties. Domestic and imported beers from 14 taps pour into pints, mugs, pitchers, or directly into patron’s mouths. Along with wine, the brews complement Corner Pocket's classic approach to bar food, which includes Angus beef burgers, chili-cheese corn dogs, and housemade potato chips. The bar stays open until 2 a.m. daily, so patrons can celebrate their team’s win until the wee hours or dance the night away to karaoke on Sundays and Thursday or live music on Saturdays.
Andy Siebert floated in the water, weightless—almost as if in outer space—and watched as all 40 feet of a Galapagos Island whale shark drifted past him. It’s moments like that one that Andy lives for, having devoted his life to scuba diving. He took his first dive as a teenager, but didn’t take the sport seriously until he turned 42, at which point he began his journey to log more than 3,000 dives.
Now, as owner of Scuba World, Andy works to help others discover their love of the underwater sport. One part retail shop and one part scuba-diving school, the PADI five-star IDC dive center is chock-full of gear for purchase and rental, as well as expert instructors who teach classes for divers of all levels, including instructor-level classes. Their classes range from beginner discovery sessions to open-water-certification courses to rescue-diver classes for the more advanced diver who is worried about all those fish in the ocean who need help getting out. Andy’s wife and partner, Lynn Siebert, plans trips that take divers to waters all over the world, including the nearby Monterey Bay and more far-flung expeditions in Micronesia.
Before making his mark in the bowling world and landing in the PBA Hall of Fame, hometown hero Steve Cook grew up practicing his craft at Fireside Lanes. Today, he serves as the proprietor of his old stomping grounds, fostering a friendly, supportive community built around his favorite sport, with youth and senior leagues alongside birthday parties, families, and groups of friends. A staff of PBA champions and trainers at The Strike Shop suits up serious bowlers with equipment tune-ups and lessons. After long sessions of knocking down pins and telekinetically keeping balls out of the gutter, guests chow down on sandwiches and burgers at the bar and grill, or immerse themselves in the racing games and air hockey tables of the nearby arcade.
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