Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
The Modesto Bee-praised International Wedding Festival introduces brides-to-be to the people, places, and dresses that make nuptials magical. Instead of darting from bakery to florist to photography studio atop a recently saddled butterfly, future wedders can meet all three under one roof, along with DJs, caterers, and professional event planners. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a Grab the Gown showdown unleashes a frenzy of the betrothed upon marked-down designer dresses, from brand-new gowns worn once at a photo shoot ($250–$499) to frocks with minor personality flaws ($50–$249). After entering to win a trip to the Mexican Riviera, guests can conclude their bridal adventure at a 3 p.m. with a fashion show of gowns, tuxes, and bouquets that turn into full bridesmaids when left overnight in a gallon of water.
Unlike mud runs before it, the 5K course of the Recon Run is adorned with boot-camp-style obstacles such as piles of tires, muddy trenches, and walls that runners must jump, scramble, and pull themselves over. The military theme comes as no surprise; after all, proceeds from this charity race support the Semper Fi Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support to injured and ill members of the US Armed Forces and their families. Upon completing the course, successful recruits earn T-shirts, dog tags, and beer that they can enjoy with fellow racers at the finish line.
Since 1978, Brenda Athletic Clubs has stood out from other gyms for its staff’s focus on offering all the amenities of a modern fitness facility while still fostering an inviting atmosphere. Its founder, Al Brenda, believed in fitness programs for all age groups, a mantra that the club continues today with youth fitness programs, including basketball clinics and yoga lessons, as well as a SilverSneakers fitness program for seniors. In addition to tennis, swimming, and standard strength and cardio equipment, the fitness centers supply its members with an ample amount of group classes including cycling, Zumba, and kickboxing.
Basketball on Monday, racquetball on Tuesday, Zumba on Wednesday, swimming on Thursday, weight lifting on Friday, and a weekend of relaxing in the Jacuzzi. There's even an indoor-outdoor swimming pool open during winter and summer months, thanks to a convertible roof that facilitates year-round frolics. This could be an entry in a PE teacher's dream journal or a routine visit to Modesto Court Room Fitness. Its 35,000-square-foot gym has been shaking up workout regimens for 35 years.
Members climb aboard weight machines and cardio equipment under the watchful eye of a personal-training staff or jettison calories alongside peers in group classes. Two aerobics studios host classes such as body pump, yoga, boot camp, cycling, and Zumba or special sessions where guests tone on Pilates reformers. Patrons cross rackets on one of eight racquetball courts or drench a sweatband during pick-up games of full-court basketball.
For 26 years, the friendly and knowledgeable rafting staff of River Journey has outfitted visitors with the equipment and know-how to navigate the meandering waters of the picturesque Stanislaus River. Departing from Knights Ferry, guided and self-guided groups in fitted lifejackets bob under the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi in their inflated rafts or kayaks, paddling with provided paddles or hiring a flock of unemployed ducks to do the grunt work. Adventurers then splash through Class 2 Russian Rapids—where their pictures will be snapped for optional purchase at the end of their trip—before floating between Two Bluffs, marked on each side by towering basalt cliffs where swallows and blue heron nest. Rafts continue toward Lovers Leap, a sheer rock wall with a uniquely shaped peak, and through the Throw Rapid after a sharp right bend in the river. Through Horseshoe Park and along to slow, calm swimming holes, three- to five-hour trips draw to a close at Orange Blossom Park after conquering 8 miles of the dynamic waterway and performing celebratory run-ashore dances.