The Christiansen family's roots in the carnival industry run deep, stretching back to Ralph B. Christiansen's 1920s amusement business, which his hard-working sons kept running through World War II. Today, Ralph's grandson, Buzz, hosts more than 80 Christiansen Amusements events per year and rents out carnival rides for parties and gatherings. Events pop up throughout Southern California and feature an assortment of family-friendly excursions ranging from mild kids' rides to more intense rides such as the Skydiver or Kamikaze. Carnival games challenge guests' hand-eye coordination, rewarding feats of strength or accuracy with stuffed animals to give to dates or mount on the hood of one's car.
Sky High Sports emancipates kids and adults from the laws of gravity with each jump, twist, or backflip their trampolines aid. The yellow-and-black play space features a spring-loaded frame that provides more give to jumpers, with all frames and springs covered by 2-inch-thick safety pads. To take full advantage of its unique space, Sky High hosts springy and elevated games of dodge ball as well as Airobics, a low-impact, fat-burning workout class that helps improve balance and coordination. Pintsize gymnasts can take refuge in a specially designed kid zone and use a rope swing to plunge into the foam pit while they brainstorm nicknames for their pro-wrestling career.
Equipment: English and western tack, selection of boots and helmets
Students should bring: Long pants (preferably jeans) and closed toed shoes.
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Outdoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Feel free to bring treats for your horse. They love carrots and apples.
Looking like a tiki hut on wheels, PB Pedaler’s eco-friendly bicycle gets partiers pedaling as they travel to Pacific Beach hot spots during two-hour bar crawls. The 17-seat bike is safely helmed by a sober driver who leads revelers—many celebrating birthdays, bachelor parties, and moon landing—to roughly 3-4 bars during each tour. And even though alcohol is not allowed on the bike, guests can indulge in exclusive drink specials for riders offered at many of the visited bars.
The paddle wheels of The Sternwheelers' two signature boats churn through the blue-green waters of Mission Bay, transporting passengers back more than a century to when steamboats dominated America's rivers. Across the 100-foot-long William D. Evans, festive events with up to 600 passengers unfold under ornamental pressed-tin ceilings, handcrafted lamps, and the astronaut-crafted stars viewable on the open-air top deck. Handmade masts at the bow lead the ship's way, and its hundreds of decorative bulbs illuminate the bay at night. Bahia Belle, William D. Evans' smaller sibling, offers a more intimate space for gatherings. Its Victorian decor and architecture make way for a stained-glass skylight that beams vivid colors across its interior, resplendent with cast-iron staircases and red-velvet curtains. Weddings, banquets, and other events also take place on the boats between public cruises, each craft's rich detailing setting the tone for trips to remember.
When drivers are whipping around the four hairpin turns at Miramar Speed Circuit and accelerating up to 40 miles per hour down the straightaways, it suddenly seems obvious that professional racers designed the layout. Both the quarter-mile, indoor, asphalt track and the soft tires of the go-karts wear a specialized sealant that helps eliminate the need for brakes when drivers are taking corners at high speeds. The mini vehicles also feature 6.5-horsepower, gas-powered Honda engines and electronic lap timers that allow drivers to survey their personal bests and determine how long it would take to drive to Australia. Safety is of the utmost concern, which is why a track manager and several marshals monitor each race, and why the course boasts bright blue and yellow protection barriers.
For guests seeking off-the-track thrills, a 5,000-square-foot laser-tag maze pits teams against one another on a foggy, obstacle-filled battleground. The facility also hosts parties and corporate events, hones driving skills with private lessons, and gives back to many charitable organizations within the community.