Family owned and operated since 1923, Metropolitan Theatres unspools blockbuster and art-house independent films at 19 locations in the U.S. and Canada using superior film presentation and digital sound systems. Theatre concession stands dole Coca-Cola products and detonate kernels of popcorn to fill bellies and share with encroaching Godzillas. Snacks in hand, customers sink into seats inside conventional or stadium-style theatres to laugh, gasp, and grimace at star-studded titles, such as The Grey, War Horse, or Hugo. Independent films such as The Artist and The Descendants appease creative tastes.
Officially opened in July 1962, Village Country Club incorporates the natural beauty of Northern Santa Barbara County’s wine country as its backdrop. Towering oaks and pine trees play a starring role throughout the course, especially on the 10th hole. There, a stately oak stands right in the middle of the fairway, marking the course's signature challenge and the location of its treasure chest of golden golf balls. At the 16th hole, meanwhile, an elevated tee tempts players to let it fly, all while avoiding a lake and brook running the length of the hole’s left side.
Next to the course, club visitors can practice on the driving range or at a practice green outfitted with a sand bunker. Or, they can step away from golf altogether by taking a dip in the pool and hitting the tennis courts—each of which remains open year-round.
Course at a Glance:
Herds of wild horses and burros—about 400 in total—roam the 300-acre Return to Freedom sanctuary, where they're free to exhibit the natural behaviors and social structures they came to know in the wild. However, for many of the horses, it hasn't been an easy journey to their new home. Government roundups displaced these wild steeds from public lands, forcing many into auction, where they were sold off to the highest bidder. Their stories are harrowing, which is why Return to Freedom works tirelessly to help these wild horses resume their natural ways of life. Visitors of the sanctuary can observe these creatures on walking tours and safaris, getting up close and personal with the five herd families that traverse the lands.
Amid views of coastal dunes, the Morro Bay Estuary, and Morro Rock, golfers drive, pitch, and putt their way through the nine-hole executive course at Sea Pines Golf Resort. As native wildlife such as waterfowl dwell among the fairways, guests tee off for the afternoon or warm up on the driving range, two putting greens, or dedicated chipping area. Those who prefer to ride a well-trained horse rather than break a bucking golf cart can board their own equine friend at Sea Pines' stables and roam the 8,000-acre Montaña de Oro State Park. In addition, Sea Pines Golf Resort offers overnight stays for humans at The Lodge, whose spacious rooms overlook Morro Bay and the golf course's manicured landscape.
If you ask the team at Tri-California Events what a triathlon is all about, you might hear about swimming, biking and running, but what you’ll hear the most about is how fun they are. As each racing season emerges, the team gets to work running fun races from the mud-filled M.O.R.E. Wildflower Obstacle Course in the spring to Scott Tinley’s Triathlon in fall, replete with on-road and off-road options. One of their most popular events is the Wildflower Triathlon, now one of the largest triathlons in the world. During this packed event many athletes camp out for the weekend to ensure a memorable experience and to make sm’roes as race fuel. Tri-California’s team also runs the San Francisco triathlon at Alcatraz, which includes a swim portion that sends participants partway to famed Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.
At Ostrich Land, visitors quickly learn that ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand—they'd much rather bury them in a bowl of food that you hold out in front of you. They're also not fond of waiting their turn, and at any given moment, you might have four beaks dipping into your supply. The experience is a far cry from throwing bread at ducks or pigeons. These birds are the world's largest: they can reach up to 9 feet in height and weigh 350 pounds. At top speed, they hit 45 miles per hour on their massive, two-toed feet.
Having been raised around people and trained to eat from outstretched bowls, the park's 50 ostriches and emus welcome spectators from their savannah-like enclosure. They're also celebrities in their own right, with bit roles in the film Sideways as well appearances in a Santa Maria Times video feature and a tongue-in-cheek homage in an episode of The Simpsons. Dispensing the animals' supper is only one way in which guests can get close—a stop inside the gift shop reveals shelves of ready-to-cook ostrich and emu eggs, ostrich feather dusters, and savory ostrich meat shipped in from a separate farm not affiliated with Ostrich Land. Also in stock are vials of emu oil, a substance with anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that can soothe the skin.