The W-League Rookie Franchise of the Year in 2010, the Colorado Rush take on all slide-tackling opposition with grace, skill, and determination. Cheer on the Rush as they host their northerly neighbors, the Victoria Highlanders, in a battle of pinpoint passing, fierce shots on goal, and precisely catapulted orange slices. A beverage and a baked-good treat (a $3–$5 value each) provide fuel for enthusiastic shouting and ringing high-fives. Fans should remain glued to seats during the break for the Thunder Team, members of a special-needs program who will perform a halftime show. Seating is general admission (a $6 value each for adults; a $3 value each for children), so arrive anytime after 6 p.m. to stake a claim near the most fetching patch of sod.
Crunching metal and the sweet smell of burning rubber prevail as the Monster X Tour invades the Ocean Center, thrilling all ages in an action-packed motorsports showcase. Bigfoot, the forefather of all station-wagon smashers, leads a fleet of competitive 10,000-pound monster trucks, including Bear Foot and Black Knight, through jaw-dropping races, wheelie contests, and freestyle car composting. Transaurus, a two-story transforming robot that never learned to love, buries his woes by chomping entire cars in his massive jaws while watching reruns of Felicity. Before the show, VIP tickets also grant access to the Pit Party, where fans can have autographs signed by the drivers. During intermission, fans get the opportunity to eschew sea level with a ride inside a monster truck or visit General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and learn its true feelings about excessive hood sliding.
The U.S. Women's Open is one of the United States Golf Association's premier majors and a chance to see the world's best female golfers display their driving, chipping, and golf-ball-levitation skills. Spend one of seven days analyzing the rhythmic, controlled shots from expected competitors such as Michelle Wie and the steadily putting Ai Miyazato—both trying to best last year's champion, Paula Creamer. Golf-following youths age 17 and under will be admitted free of charge with every ticketed adult, and the front row of the grandstands is reserved for children to soak in the action without being blocked by tall adults or over-large foam fingers.
The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association pairs former baseball brethren with local and national celebrities in a charity baseball game to benefit the Children's Cancer Center. Baseball for Kids Day 2011 brings Hall of Famers such as Goose Gossage and Jim Bunning, and celebrities from other walks of life like Larry the Cable Guy to the Bright House Field for a day of fast pitches and hard hits. To complement the fun on the field, auctions and raffles provide official merchandise excitement with on-site winners.
Patrolled by mermaids and people walking atop the water in huge, transparent bubbles, the pool inside Donna's Dolphins Swim School seems to be more of a wonderland than an academy. Employees oversee games at birthday parties or outfit guests in a fitted mermaid tail for whimsical dives and gliding choreography. Poolside carousers can even move across the surface of the pool at a walk or trot with the help of W.O.W.—Walk On Water—bubbles.
At the heart of all the fun and games, however, the highly trained staff’s main focus is to ensure that safety always comes before each splash. In swim classes, staffers employ the swim-float-swim approach—a method condoned by the United States Swim School Association—when teaching students in their group and private lessons. The lessons emphasize muscle memory so that children as young as 6 months can absorb techniques such as the starfish float for use in aquatic emergencies. They also assign seasoned mentors to coach special-needs students, making sure every kid gets a chance to embark on aquatic adventures.
Throughout each class, instructors motivate pupils with encouragement and prizes, awarding them a different colored bracelet on a traffic-light system to denote their skill level. Students graduate from red to yellow to green, and finally to blue, which signals that they can demonstrate all four strokes, execute flip turns, and remain safe in potentially dangerous situations by drinking all of the pool water.