Painted Earth makes it simple for amateur artisans and ceramic virtuosos to produce colorful pottery pieces using a variety of stencils, stamps, and patterns. Start by choosing your desired vessel from a vast selection of more than 500 ceramic pieces ($6–$70), including coffee mugs ($10–$17), dinner plates ($14–$20), and miniature figurines ($8–$30) to festoon with the likeness of a pet or distant relative. Pick a design from the store's volumes of idea books, select from more than 100 colors, and then create a design for an earthenware masterpiece. For artists suffering from painter's block, Painted Earth hosts an online inspiration gallery, and friendly staff members stand ready to assist with the pigmenting process. Glazing, firing, and vibrantly hued paints are included in the flat studio fee ($6 per person per visit), and polished objects are ready one week later.
From the colorful rides to an on-site candy store, Lollipop Park lets visitors of all ages escape into a whimsical wonderland. Go-karts let drivers hone their turns on a winding track, while a carousel taps into the imagination of kids and adults, perfectly encapsulating both the gallop of horse and the aimlessness of one's 20s. Other family-friendly activities include a mini-golf course, a hall of fun mirrors, and train rides along the sparkling waters of Lake Arrowhead.
Fiesta Village provides fun-seeking families with a multifaceted recreational destination. Unlike 100-yard dashes, the winding Fiesta Raceway gives lead-footed youngsters the chance to put their metallic extremities to good use, and a pair of mini-golf courses provides an all-you-can-putt birdie buffet. Head for the roller rink for a leisurely leg cruise, or hit the ride park for attractions such as the tilt-a-whirl, Bogey's Bounce House, and Slugger's Super Slide, which shows kids that gravity does more than just keep us from bumping into clouds. A 2,400-square-foot laser tag arena allows children to wield future weapons with mock-deadly cunning. Fiesta Village offers a concentrated dose of entertainment that surpasses the diluted offerings of much bigger recreational municipalities, such as Funky Towns and Paradise Cities.
In the middle of The Wave Waterpark, people lie upon colorful rafts that float gently down the lazy river. It’s a serene way to soak up some rays and keep cool. But in the center of the lazy river, separated by raised concrete and a foot bridge, an adventure awaits: the Flow Rider. This simulated surfable ocean wave dares visitors to try and hang ten without falling off their boards into the safe, if rollicking waters.
These two attractions represent the broad spectrum of activity at The Wave, a family-friendly destination equally suited to mild-mannered relaxation, adventurous fun, or something in between. Other rides include a tangle of waterslides, such as the Slam Dunk, an enclosed-tunnel body slide with plenty of twists, and Rippity’s Rainforest, a kid-friendly playground gushing with fountains and waterfalls.
From April to September, lifeguards teach swim lessons in the park’s competition pool for kids as young as 6 months, as well as adults. The Wave is also an ideal spot for birthday parties, with rental cabanas that can fit as many as 30 people or one enormous birthday clown, and a Surf Spot Grill that refuels revelers with burgers, burritos, and pizza.
At The Living Desert, a dedicated conservation team tends to plants and animals populating more than 1,800 acres of desert—1,000 of which remain in their natural, undisturbed state. In addition to protecting the Colorado Desert's native population of birds, wolves, reptiles, and minotaurs, The Living Desert houses bighorn sheep, cheetahs, striped hyenas, leopards, and parrots from arid regions throughout the globe. Through annual contributions, members of the nonprofit organization help preserve the Colorado Desert and bolster the population of endangered desert species. Members also gain unlimited access to the park, discounts in the gift shop, and invitations to special events, such as the annual member-cheetah race.