A ball python, bearded dragons, and three types of cockroaches have made their homes at Explorit Science Center, educating guests in an exhibit dubbed the Animal Alcove. Since 1982, the center has fostered curiosity about science and nature with hands-on exhibits like this, rather than by feeding children dry textbooks or encouraging them merely to imagine how loud the sound is when trees walk. About 55,000 people visit the center each year, enhancing their intellectual development at the miniature zoo and rotating exhibits that explore the role of science in both commonplace and whimsical natural phenomena. One popular exhibit, for example, took visitors through the local agricultural process, the interconnections between agriculture and weather, and each meal’s journey from the farm to the plate. Visitors can discover further factoids at Explorit's science lecture series, and youngsters can enroll in the center’s science-themed summer camps.
Vacaville Ice Sports sends skaters spinning, coasting, and pirouetting across a pair of NHL-size rinks. Each day of the week, the facility swings open its doors for open-skating sessions, and, when the ice isn't getting its hard-to-reach itches scratched by public blades, the arena buzzes with hockey leagues, birthday parties, and learn-to-skate classes. An on-site arcade and free WiFi keep mitten-free fingers busy in between ice-based orbits, and the center's snack bar ensures legs remain fully fueled for additional spins around the polar sheets.
There's something timeless about a classic county fair. There are the attractions such as antique cars and horse carriages, rodeos and livestock exhibitions. And, of course, there are the carnival rides. Midway of Fun makes sure that county fairs all over California stay stocked with the kind of flashing, whirling, fun that families have enjoyed for generations. A safety-focused team of pros sets up rides that range from sweet (the Berry Go Round and the Dragon Wagon) to nail-biting (the Viper and the Ranger). Fairgoers can also compete to win a stuffed toy or a term as mayor of next year's fair at games such as break-a-bottle and baseball toss.
Sugar Ditch Stables welcomes horseback riders onto its family friendly atmosphere. Riders young and old and of any experience level can look to the stable's instructors for help developing their command in the saddle and establishing the basics of good horsemanship.
All across California, Western Bowling Proprietors Association sends pins scattering at a network of bowling alleys, each with its own personality. In addition to open bowl on automatically scored lanes, many locations host special events that heighten the experience with enhancements such as vibrant lights, lively music, and laser systems that do double duty protecting the alleys' diamond collections. The alleys also house refreshment facilities, pro shops, and diversions that range from arcade games to billiards.
After she was born, Alana Henley basically rode a horse out of the hospital. Hyperbole aside, Alana did, in fact, begin riding at the age of 2. She also began competing at the age of 6, and did so for years with great success. Eventually, though, Alana realized she had another talent: dealing with problem horses.
In 2006, she formally opened SunFire Equestrian Training at Fresh Start Stables in Davis. That same year, she crossed paths with a rebellious young thoroughbred named Derby. Not only did Alana transform Derby’s behavior and instill in him the importance of flossing, the two triumphantly completed events across the West Coast. Today, Alana remains a teacher—both to challenging young horses and to students learning how to ride. She pulls double duty at SunFire’s new facility, a sprawling, 40-acre estate in Woodland.