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.
Groups meet at Camp Lotus for a brief orientation and safety prep before the rafting rally down to Lake Folsom begins. Ideal for all skill sets, CRA's program accommodates passengers ages seven and up. The four-hour journey shoves off into a gentle warm-up section of class-II waters to prepare for the gorge's jostling class-III rapids. Fourteen-foot self-bailing rafts equipped with first aid, river-rescue kits, and Coast Guard–approved life jackets safely seat eight passengers plus an expert guide. As a team, the boatload of adventurers navigates the water like a squirrel surfing in a washing machine, punching through white caps and splashing about wavy highs and lows along the 12-mile route. All gear is included, and participants are only required to pack products that make the trip more pleasurable (swimsuit, drinking water in a durable bottle, sunscreen, shoulder-mounted boom-box, and a dry change of clothes).
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.
Clint Robinson's U.S. Air Force duty took him around the world, but it was his time in South Korea that made the biggest mark. There, he learned the art of tae kwon do—and the positive fitness and values associated with it. When he returned to the states and left the Air Force, it didn't take long for him to found his own martial-arts school. More than 40 years and 19 locations later, Robinson's Taekwondo continues to thrive on the same principles on which Clint founded his business: excellence, personal attention, and tradition. He now counts children's, adult, and family programs as part of his curriculum. With continued training, students of all ages not only hone their fitness, but also improve their mental sharpness, self-confidence, and discipline.
Through group running sessions, NMotion Sports provides knowledge and support that runners might not otherwise receive when training solo. Experienced coaches ease newcomers into the rigors of running with wisdom on common topics, explaining why it's important to select good running shoes even though gazelles don't always wear them and they still love running. Seasoned runners can join groups tailored to their experience level, partaking in biweekly trail runs with kindred spirits.
At Cynthia's Dance Center, instructors teach youngsters ballet, jazz, tap, and other dance styles in hour-long courses closely tailored to students' age level and abilities. In classes aimed at kids as young as 2.5 years old, teachers strive to keep lessons dynamic and fun while outlining essential dance skills. The multi-age curriculum mirror's a child's brain development, and focuses on developing a student's self-confidence and overall health.