Aquarius Dive Shop has been a place for aspiring scuba divers to shop, train, and earn certifications for years, as current owner James Vincent knows all too well. He got his own Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Rescue Diver certifications through the shop before he owned it. The training actually put James on the path to becoming a PADI Dive Master, and he now leads open-water excursions of his own.
So why did James buy the place that trained him? Well, he wanted to help provide ever-richer opportunities for new divers to learn in a safe, controlled environment. Today, James has two other expert divers on his teaching team, each with their own specialties and favorite color of sea anemone. Bruce Sawyer, a true veteran of the submariner's world, boasts more than 2,000 dives at locations around the world. Brandon Bianchi, on the other hand, provides life-saving training as an Emergency First Response Instructor.
Kathleen Kane sees the pursuit of fitness as an endless journey marked by constant striving for an ideal. She named her fitness enterprise after ?kaizen,? a Japanese word meaning ?continual improvement.? Kathleen and her fellow trainers help students strive for that ideal through personal training and sweat-soaked group boot-camp sessions. A student of sports psychology, Kathleen pays special attention to positive encouragement and can offer brief pep talks through phone calls, emails, or a cheerleading squad sent to your front yard. The fitness fiends at Kaizen also offer sports-specific training as well as motocross-specific training.
A house of crayons, a pirate’s ship, and a massive rainbow slide. These are just a few of the inflatables that expend excess energy from Jump-N-Around’s pintsize guests. While younger kids playfully sock each other with giant cushy boxing gloves or bounce around amid vibrant crayon pillars, the older kids can race virtual cars in the arcade.
The name Planet Gemini would imply that this club has two sides to it, but that's not quite accurate. There are at least three. Since opening Planet Gemini more than 20 years ago, the Lane brothers?Frankie and Anthony?have built a venue that functions as a comedy club, a live-music space, and a full-service restaurant. Each night, the club transforms into something new: on Tuesday, Frankie, a master chef, puts together a menu of homemade Italian food as Anthony croons classic Italian songs; Wednesday and Sunday are dance nights, with Latin bands taking the stage as the audience dances the pachanga, merengue, and salsa; and Thursday is for karaoke, during which professional lighting and sound make amateurs feel like rock stars or a circus tiger.
On Friday and Saturday night, however, the music gives way to laughter, as the stage is reserved for a rotation of nationally touring comedians. Although Planet Gemini is mostly known for featuring up-and comers?many of whom have been featured on HBO, Comedy Central, and other national programming?they've also had the good fortune to host famous funny men such as George Lopez and Jimmy Fallon.
Inaugurated in 2012, the Monterey Bay Bacon, Blues & Brews Festival beckons Bay-area residents to take part in an afternoon filled with meat, music, and mead. Local chefs, including restaurant professionals and amateurs, compete to see who can win over the judges with bacon-centric dishes that festivalgoers can sample throughout the day. Although judges determine the grand-prize winner, guests decide the People’s Choice titleholder through a unique voting process. Each festivalgoer is granted nine marbles with which to vote, and at the end of the event, contestants’ marble jars are weighed to crown the winner. As the afternoon endures, a lineup of local and national blues musicians aims its tunes at the open sky, simultaneously entertaining onlookers and emphasizing with the lonely Man in the Moon.
Though still the same game at heart, the bowling competitions at Valley Center Bowl take on a sci-fi spin. The center's 30 lanes use flat-screen televisions to report bowlers' scores, play 3-D graphics, and display a digital clock counting down to the robot uprising. During events such as the Rock-N-Bowl, black and colorful lights dance along the walls and floors while videos pour from six 42-inch screens. Electronic entertainment coaxes visitors away from the lanes an into a newly remodeled, 3,200-square-foot redemption arcade that sits beside the Lazer Frenzy laser maze. Recently renovated with comfortable seating and flat-panel screens, Monterey Lanes entices bowlers of all ages to strive for a perfect 300 score while enjoying good company and crisp refreshments from the cocktail lounge. Weekend glow bowling and an onsite arcade keep gamers amused, and the pro shop caters to more serious bowlers. Monterey Lanes routinely lends its slick surfaces to charity events, such as Bowl Over Breast Cancer.