Lee Martin began his baseball career playing junior-college ball at Long Beach City College before moving on to become an All Big West pitcher at Long Beach State University. Though an injury mere weeks before the College World Series ended his playing career, it couldn’t subdue his passion the sport. Today, Coach Martin shares his experiences as the varsity pitching coach at Columbine High School and by giving players a venue to hone their skills at The Batter's Box. Inside the spacious facility, Coach Martin and his expert staff help students perfect baseball technique during four-week speed-and-conditioning camps as well as one-on-one video analysis to review pitches and swings. Visitors sling pitches from three indoor mounds and strengthen their hitting skills in 55-foot retractable cages, whose Iron Mike or Jugs pitching machines launch balls endlessly or until the machines get called up to AAA teams. While players master the art of fielding, parents can read while waiting in a lounge equipped with free WiFi and Nintendo 64 for younger siblings.
Children run in trails marked by prehistoric footprints, and fingers run across fossils during each visit to Dinosaur Ridge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of ancient artifacts. Around every corner of the outdoor museum—which rests on land designated as a national natural landmark—bones and impressions protrude from their earthy abodes as evidence of the area's once larger-than-life inhabitants. Paleontologists of all ages can examine curious tracks on surrounding hiking paths, such as Triceratops Trail, or hop on a guided bus tour to examine fossil sites and valleys where brontosauruses used to question the meaning of life.
Lurking inside the visitor center is the Trek Through Time exhibit, where interactive children's games, replica fossils, and massive murals join forces to lead explorers into different prehistoric eras. In addition to its day-to-day operations, Dinosaur Ridge also plays host to various events during the year, including Boy Scout days, birthday parties, and lectures that explain how T. rex stayed humble despite his large stature.
Total Chaos Paintball brings video games into vivid reality, hosting colorful, officiated skirmishes on a 12,000-square-foot indoor battleground modeled after the Wasteland map from Call of Duty 2. Under constant pursuit by the opposing team, combatants duck down alleyways, hide behind urban debris, or outwit fast-moving opponents with quick presses of the pause button. The center can also simulate the stress of nighttime operations, killing the lights while a sound system broadcasts high-octane tunes to keep heart rates accelerated.
Though Wheel Fun Rentals bicycle stables are scattered from sea to shining sea across the North American continent, the seeds of the enterprise were sown in Italy. On vacation in the late '80s, founder Brian McInerney discovered the four-wheeled Surrey cycle, a pedal-powered vehicle capable of carrying as many as six passengers. Before returning to the States, he made sure to pick up a full set of Surreys from the manufacturer, and a new chapter in his life began. Today, the business rents not only bikes and Surreys, but also multiple cycle-style mutants such as the three-wheeled Deuce Coupe and its cousin the Chopper. They even carry more advanced land vehicles such as electric cars and scooters. Kayaks, one-person pontoons, and stand-up paddle boards also unlock access to some of the country's wettest byways.
Although Golden Goal Sports Complex's name refers to a soccer term for a winning goal made during sudden-death play, the facility's focus isn't limited to that popular sport. Aside from the 85'x140' indoor soccer field and a 60'x110' indoor training field, the complex also features batting tunnels and volleyball courts, and opens its doors to dodge ball, ultimate frisbee, and a soccer variant called futsal. In summer, kids and teens stream into Golden Goal for soccer camps with nationally certified coaches.
Gates Tennis Center boasts 20 public-access courts and a skilled staff of international pros and former world-ranked racqueteers. Fledgling forehanders are separated by skill—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—and taught in 6:1 student-to-teacher groups, affording players plenty of room to spread sphere-swiping wings. A trio of one-hour swat-athons instill beginners with basic baseline skills, and veteran volleyers fine-tune careening crosscourt shots and lofting lobs.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.