This 8,000-square-foot facility houses five indoor batting areas to train baseball beaters on customized pitching machines capable of launching fast balls and curve balls at speeds of 25 to 90 mph, faster than the speed of black light moving toward a felt Don Mattingly. Each cage provides pop-fly pilots with helmets, bats, and baseballs. Hardball Sports Academy also includes two cages equipped for live pitching with L-screens that protect the delicate exoskeletons of warm-blooded lobbers.
Vital Climbing Gym combines the facilities of a rock-climbing center with the comforts of a coffee lounge, giving members a place to strengthen their bodies and relax their minds. The 24-hour gym entices members to climb at any time of day without concern for injury on rocky walls that are built for bouldering, a style of climbing that keeps climbers low to the ground and requires no safety equipment or backup support. Before or after climbing sessions, clients can relax on a comfortable couch, sip a hot beverage from the espresso machine, connect to the gym’s WiFi network, and talk technique with fellow climbers.
Each arena at The Paintball Park brings in fresh equipment every season to keep paintballers on their toes. Barricades, bunkers, trenches, and tall trees provide ample cover for firing off shots at opponents, ducking from overhead fire, or meeting to discuss how to get the pizza-delivery man into the fortress unharmed. Games of elimination battles give players a chance to take out the other team while sprinting between the wreckage of tanks and helicopters.
Each of the Paintball Park's paintball fields has a distinct feel. Running beneath dinosaur sculptures lends to a carefree sensation, and trying to find an entrance in endless, gray castle walls evokes the sense that one is an ancient warrior who left his keys somewhere.
At La Jolla Water Sports, guides undergo extensive training before captaining snorkeling excursions into the calm, crystalline waters of the Pacific. The experts escort 6 to 12 patrons at a time on shark tours of the shallow, sandy flats where small-mouthed leopard sharks up to 5 feet long lounge on their easy chairs of sand. Snorkeling tours of the La Jolla cove grant participants, including beginners and kids, a siren's-eye view of rock formations, underwater flora, and marina critters including garibaldi fish, sea cucumbers, anemones, and starfish. The most action-packed of La Jolla Water Sports's offerings are the spearfishing tours in which leaders expound on the importance of safety and proper form as customers skewer fish before schlepping them home for dinner or as treats for pet grizzly bears.
In the quiet, northern end of San Diego County lies the lush, green gem of Wild Wonders, Inc., a multipurpose facility that celebrates California's natural beauty and maintains artificial habitats for more than 150 exotic animals. The staff calls their charges "animal ambassadors," conditioning and training each of them to serve in close, educational encounters with wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. Through their Zoo Camp program, educators give kids a chance try their hand at zoo keeping, including rare opportunities to help feed, clean, and care for the animal ambassadors during intimate interactions.
The onsite staff obtained the park's residents—many of which were deemed non-releasable native wildlife—from other educational facilities as well as more dangerous reaches, such as lands riddled by the illegal pet trade. Resident wonders include big-eared foxes, armored armadillos, giant centipedes, and talkative african gray parrots.
A crew of former athletes and passionate locals with a love for the outdoors wait beneath the bright-red awnings at each Bike & Kayak Tours location to guide more than 35 daily expeditions through the natural sights around San Diego. The 7 Caves and Ecological Reserve kayak tour sends paddlers on an expedition to a 75-million-year-old sandstone cliff with seven sculpted sea caverns that resound echoes in seven-part harmony. In the spring, snorkeling trips follow the seasonal migration of leopard sharks as students paddle in the shallow waters of the sandy flats with harmless predators.
"I consider sacred the bond of trust that develops over time with our athletes, forged by sound direction, collaboration, and real, lasting results," says Erik Preston, owner and head trainer at CrossFit San Elijo. The ex-Marine recruited a team of instructors who work to forge a sense of community among its members through rigorous shared effort of their group workouts. Instructors teach athletes foundational movements during an initial class before embarking on daily workouts where they’ll hoist kettlebells, master gymnast’s rings, and walk with 45-pound weights. Every exercise is rigorously monitored, as instructors insist on proper form while students execute core exercises of squat, press, and lift. Along with emphasizing sound mechanics, instructors help copilot participants toward healthier eating habits and recovery techniques.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.