Operated by Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, Sharks Ice skating centers professionally maintain solid-water rinks and facilities to accommodate a full range of activities. Each Friday night (7:30–9:30 p.m. in San Jose; 7:15–9:15 p.m. in Oakland) customers have full run of the centers' Olympic-sized rinks for public skating and fashionable displays of warm, Cosby-inspired outerwear. In addition to skating amenities, each Sharks Ice center features a full-service pro shop that sells NHL athletic apparel and other skate supplies and accessories. The centers also feature public snack bars and spacious public areas for socializing and frigid recitations of 18th-century Russian poetry. Sharks Ice San Jose also houses Stanley's Sports Bar, a full bar and restaurant overlooking the three rinks. Skate rental is included, but if you prefer to bring your own foot-blades, the general admission price without today's Groupon is $8, which still makes the Groupon the better deal. Hours are subject to change, so please call ahead to confirm.
It would be hard for many citizens of Fremont to remember a time before Cloverleaf Family Bowl. David and Marian Hillman opened the center back in 1963, and it's been a destination for friendly competition ever since. That's not to say there haven't been some changes over the years. Today, Cloverleaf Family Bowl features automatic bumpers on each of its 44 lanes, HD televisions in the sports lounge, and a special glow-bowling event that takes over the entire facility with more fog, lights, and music than you could find in even the grooviest swamp.
These games can stretch well into the evening (the center stays open until 2 a.m. every day), but there are plenty of reasons to stick around besides bowling. Saturdays mean karaoke, although any visit can include a game of pool or a trip to the pizza and food court, which serves up everything from breakfast pizzas to late-night burgers. That extra boost of caloric energy just might be the deciding factor in clenching the top score in one of Cloverleaf's many tournaments?which they host for kids, adults, and senior citizens.
On Sunday, February 24, runners get up at the crack of dawn to embark on a journey through downtown Niles, which begins at 7:30 a.m. The flat courses send participants snaking in and out of the bustling streets and along the lakes of the Bay Area burg. During both the half marathon and the 5K, supporters line the courses, cheering on the runners with shouts of encouragement and signs reminding them to never run from their problems. In the 12 weeks leading up to the races, a running coach from Stanford University leads free training sessions for runners of all levels. This helps athletes perfect their times so they can have something to celebrate at the finish-line party.
iRaceCenter takes minds on an unforgettable adventure with its arsenal of 14 simulation pods featuring meticulously researched cabins that transport visitors to the driver's seat of a sleek, speedy, professional racecar. Sessions pit friends against friends and racers against the clock as they speed through laser-scanned re-creations of famous tracks from around the world. Each aspect of the adrenaline-fueled experience lets players virtually experience the thrills of being a professional racecar driver, from navigating an upcoming hairpin turn on the triple-widescreen HDTV display, to chugging carafes of whole milk after a victory. Each simulator submits the mind and body to an immersive sensory experience, hitting ears with multichannel surround sound, and treating bodies to realistic vibrations and motion feedback in the seat and steering wheel. For the thrill of competition, racers can battle their real-life friends or challenging remote drivers from simulation centers all over the world.