A friendly staff mans Pickwick Gardens' pleasant bowlery, where 24 well-maintained synthetic lanes treat clown-shoed families and friends to old-fashioned, no-frills pin punishment. Slap on some bowling shoes ($3 daily, $4 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday) and challenge a chum to three-fingered skeeball at a time of your choosing (game prices range from $3 to $6, depending on time of day and week), or bust out the automatic bumpers (for ages 7 and under) and treat a wee one to a bout of life-sized pinball. Cosmic bowling lets grounded astronauts put a new spin on asteroid dioramas on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 7 p.m.
Since it first set down roots in Venice in 1995, Boardwalk Skate & Surf has equipped adrenaline junkies and tourists with surfing, skateboarding, and biking gear by top brands. Shoppers can fit themselves up with an Arbor, Penny Nickle, Sector 9, or Z-Flex skateboard with a hip design, and then match their new deck to a pair of skate shoes or sandals. The shop also has a department dedicated to rentals, giving patrons the option to take a surfboard, bicycle, or pair of inline skates out for a spin, so long as they return it before it gets homesick.
Lawn-bowling statistics don't dominate newspaper box scores, but the sport is hardly an unknown phenomenon. The game’s English roots stretch as far back as the 13th century, and today, lawn bowlers can be spotted in locales as distant as South Africa and New Zealand. Primarily a game of finesse, lawn bowling rewards teams of three for their accuracy as they read the manicured terrain and gently heft a three-pound ball toward a small, distant target.
Ever since Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club was founded in 1927, it has embraced the social aspect of the sport, currently welcoming 120 members from the surrounding community. As the only lawn bowling club in the city of Los Angeles according to Westwood-Century City Patch, the HPLBC organizes matches across two separate playing fields, accommodating as many as 96 players at a time. The club loans equipment to new members so they can get a feel for the game before buying their own supplies, and instructors arrive in the late morning to dole out pointers and help newcomers learn the fundamentals. Plenty of benches and shaded areas allow players to relax in between throws or enjoy a quick refreshment before the next match. Click here for an ATVN feature about the Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club.
Former Olympic bronze medalist Lloyd Eisler oversees the LA Kings Valley Ice Center's day-to-day operations, which include public skating sessions, private lessons, and hockey leagues designed for youth, adult, and special-needs players. Thanks to extensive renovations in the fall of 2011, the facility now sports a sleek lobby with energy-efficient lighting. The two-rink facility hosts birthday parties and runs a well-stocked pro shop where you can get hockey sticks and helmets or sharpen your blades after skating across the parking lot.
The gleaming blades of ice skates glide across the smooth, subzero surface of Iceland Ice Skating Center’s rink as guests swish in circles or try out their fancy footwork. Skaters of all abilities can enroll in skating classes to master pinpoint turns, develop graceful pirouettes, or learn how to shave with a tightly fastened skate. Public-skate sessions give skaters freestyle time on the ice, and thumping beats and a phosphorescent ambiance spice up skate sessions during Disco Light Night. Kids aged 4 and older can climb into unique, safe bumper cars and glide on the ice at up to 5 miles per hour during bumper-car sessions, and shoe-wearing players can assemble for a game of broomball, a hockey-like game played with a broom instead of a stick and legions of frozen-solid dust bunnies instead of a puck.