Under strings of lanterns and the night's canopy of stars, kids scamper through a field filled with thousands of pumpkins, each one searching for the biggest, roundest one. Finding it is one thing; lifting it is another. The bountiful Pumpkin City's Pumpkin Farm began a bit by happenstance—the owners originally began selling pumpkins out of the back of their pickup and steadily added on amusements as more people came each year. More than 30 years later, the one-month harvest festival sets up each October with attractions ranging from pony rides to puppet shows. As they explore the area amid bales of hay, teepees, character cutouts, and other props, kids can feed baby goats and sheep at the petting zoo or sit on an authentic tractor from 1932. Once guests have procured the perfect pumpkin to carve into the likeness of their favorite monster, they can get their picture taken with Pumpkin Jack, hop on rides such as the Goliath Slide or Pumpkin City Express Train, or visit Gone Fishing, Knock 'Em Down, and other game booths.
The pristine sheet of ice at Ice Palace’s outpost in Lake Forest serves as well-kept tundras ideal for diversions such as hockey, figure-skating, and public-skating sessions. Future NHL stars and misinformed basketball players can both sharpen their stick-handling skills in the facility's Learn to Play Hockey programs, whereas Learn to Figure Skate sessions teach beginners everything from forward and backward moves to entry-level jumps and spins. Held throughout the week, open-skating sessions allow the general public to let loose as couples slip on their skates, hold hands, and fearlessly tie each other's laces.
While seated in a boat on Laguna Niguel Lake, visitors feast their eyes on the surrounding rolling hills and lush forestry while taking advantage of 44 acres of fishing spots. The staff constantly stocks the waters with new fish, sending thousands of pounds of rainbow trout, catfish, and other species to swim amid the watery depths. With the fishing arena prepared, they then repel down on fishing lines to awaiting customers to supply permits, poles, and live bait, which they use to entice bluegill and other aquatic passersby.
Though all share the same lake, visitors can embark on fishing adventures in multiple ways. They can wrestle with carp from the lakeside, steer a rented boat, or bob across the water in float tubes, a single-person watercraft reminiscent of the floating easy chairs used by retired penguins.
The experienced instructors at Leslie Thomson Training forge respectful bonds between humans and horses while cultivating basic riding and Western show skills in both parties. Across rollicking fields of grass, teachers demonstrate how to navigate trail patterns and control the steed's stride and speed. Students also learn proper stallion care, as well as how to use tongue clicks to signal sightings of the ice-cream truck.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, which is the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, also sees its anthemic tunes represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Australian wunderkind Cody Simpson starts the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.
Faces literally glow at Gamer Realm. That’s because they’re in front of luminescent screens playing more than a dozen PC and Xbox games such as Halo 4, FIFA 13, and World of Warcraft. The crew there also hosts LAN parties and tournaments for games such as StarCraft II, pitting seasoned and novice RTS player against each other and awarding prizes to winners.