A pilot sinks into her cockpit, buckles up, checks the controls, and gets ready for takeoff. The engine hums to life and soon the ground rolls beneath her, until she lifts away and the buildings nearby shrink to the size of dust motes. But there's something unusual with the scene: the pilot isn't old enough to see a PG-13 movie let alone pilot an aircraft. That's because the Aerospace Museum of California doesn't let age become a barrier to flight. Children of all sizes climb into airplanes, pilot virtual jets in simulators, and experiment with the physics of flight while adults do the same, exploring the history of aviation both on Earth and beyond.
More than 37,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibits chronicle everything from the very first airplanes made of cloth and wood to futuristic Mars-destined craft made of space-wood. Some of the museum’s prize possessions include the McDonnell-Douglas A-4C Skyhawk I, better known as one of the Blue Angels’ stunt rides, and the Grumman F-14D Tomcat, just like the one co-starring in the 1986 film Top Gun. The Fun with Physics exhibit hammers home the idea of hands-on learning, letting young engineers play with simple machines, whereas the engine room dishes up eye-candy for motorheads, including specimens from 1910’s Le Rhone to the marvels that propelled the Titan rockets.
Colored lights flash as a disco ball spins and glitters over Sunrise Rollerland's glossy, blond hardwood floor where kids and their families roll along on quads or inline skates. During open-skating sessions, adults relive their childhood and children experience it the first time around as a live DJ spins tunes new and old. At the rink, clubs such as the Artistic Club and Speed Skating club congregate. These clubs are open to anyone, sanctioned by USA Roller Sports, and led by experienced teams of coaches. Additionally, skaters 5 years old and older can take lessons suited to their skill level. To celebrate a birthday, kids can choose from three party themes; the rink can accommodate skaters at any private event. Wednesday night is family night when the entire clan can skate.
Before making his mark in the bowling world and landing in the PBA Hall of Fame, hometown hero Steve Cook grew up practicing his craft at Fireside Lanes. Today, he serves as the proprietor of his old stomping grounds, fostering a friendly, supportive community built around his favorite sport, with youth and senior leagues alongside birthday parties, families, and groups of friends. A staff of PBA champions and trainers at The Strike Shop suits up serious bowlers with equipment tune-ups and lessons. After long sessions of knocking down pins and telekinetically keeping balls out of the gutter, guests chow down on sandwiches and burgers at the bar and grill, or immerse themselves in the racing games and air hockey tables of the nearby arcade.
Wake Island Watersports has decided to do away with the most cumbersome part of waterskiing and wakeboarding: the boat. Instead of a speeding vessel hooked to a towline, the park has a five-tower cable system on a 9-acre lake. Boarders hold on to a rope that's connected to the motorized cable, which pulls them across the water at the ideal speed for thrilling straightaways and tricks. Though the cable mimics the feeling of being behind a boat, it has advantages of its own. For example, its 37-foot height provides more lift, leading to impressive airtime for tricks such as switching your board out for a shocked swan. Another advantage: multiple riders can use the cable at the same time.
In addition to its main cable course, Wake Island Watersports has a two-tower cable system ideal for lessons and private parties. A cable pass includes all of the rental gear necessary to skim over the lake, from a life vest to the board itself. Advanced boarders can even slide and flip on obstacles from Rad Rails; however, they need to either provide their own board or rent a pro model board from Wake Island. Click here for a highlight video of all of Wake Island Watersports' activities.
The park specializes in cable wakeboarding, but has several other attractions within its 80-acre expanse. There's a large lake for traditional, boat-driven waterskiing, available to members, as well as a smaller lagoon for paddle boarding and having quiet dates with your reflection. Observation decks line these areas for those who'd rather spectate or browse the internet on free WiFi.
The blazing Sacramento summer sun is easily forgotten after stepping into the cool Skatetown Ice Arena, where skates and sleds slice across the frosty floors of two NHL-sized ice rinks. The arena bustles with wintry activity year round, from lively open skating sessions to festive themed skating parties.
To help avid patrons prepare to shine during special skating events, a team of professional skate instructors captain hockey clinics, youth synchronized skating teams, and instructional skating lessons for students of all ages and experience levels.
The pro shop also equips athletes for the ice—knowledgeable rink staffers outfit guests with skates in a range of sizes and styles, and provide athletes with repair services and gear. The expansive ice arena even features an onsite cafe, where servers dole out selections from a menu of pretzels, corndogs, and specialty coffee drinks that can thaw any frozen-solid feet.
Roller King’s family-owned facility has given the community a shiny wooden surface to roll around on since 1977. The rink—which has undergone several upgrades and withstood three Visigoth raids since its construction—hosts training sessions that teach youngsters how to skate on Saturday morning and Tuesday afternoon and also serves as home turf for the Roseville speed skating team and the Roseville artistic skate club. In addition to the rink, the building also houses a snack bar that slings pizza, hot dogs, and soda, and an arcade to entertain guests who accidentally packed a pair of ice skates.