The rising sun bathes the expanse of turquoise water in a golden glow, and a lone figure breaks its still surface during her morning swim. So begins another day at the Ventura Aquatic Center, where meticulously maintained facilities and engaging programs coax swimmers of all ages into the refreshing depths. A 50-meter competition pool fields the backstrokes of lane swimmers, and a 25-meter recreation pool enables laid-back play sessions. Delighted squeals and giggles drift from the kids’ activity pool, where splashes of water keep little faces smiling and a pair of water slides facilitates high-speed entries. Throughout each day, a crew of American Red Cross–certified lifeguards patrols the premises to ensure the safety of all those frolicking in and around the pools.
Dedicated to educating and entertaining patrons, Ventura Aquatic Center’s seasoned instructors also host group and private swim lessons and water-safety classes. Synchronized-swimming lessons teach pupils the art of tandem movement, and lifeguard training prepares would-be rescuers for real-world rescue situations. Diving and water-polo teams unite players for in-pool athletics, and aquatic summer camps stave off the boredom and nostalgic re-readings of last year’s report cards inherent to the summer months.
The instructors at Waterworks Aquatics believe anyone can learn to swim, no matter their age. This belief drives each instructor-led session, accommodating everyone from babies as young as 3 months old who are just getting acquainted with the water, to older children learning more advanced strokes and adults learning to swim for the first time. The instructors focus on teaching stroke techniques that utilize muscle memory and rhythms that are easy to grasp, while cultivating a fun, relaxed environment to help reduce students' anxiety. They lead private, semiprivate, group, and Parent and Me lessons, all of which move at the pace of the swimmers' abilities. Beyond bestowing swimmers with efficient form, the lessons also help them stay safe in the water by teaching them how to control their breathing, reduce unnecessary movement, and stay completely still in the presence of pool krakens to avoid begin seen.
Passionate about exploration, Bakersfield Scuba's instructors ready divers as young as 8 for aquatic adventures. They get students prepped with certification classes that include training in heated pools, open-water dives, and academic study. For those in training, or those ready to go it alone, they also provide rentals of all necessary scuba gear.
Central Valley Scuba Center educates adventurers in the science of scuba at an on-site classroom facility before heading off on trips to the tropical waters of the Atlantic. The Center's 12-foot-deep outdoor diving pool allows certified instructors to give hands-on direction to beginning students and divers seeking certification. Those who enjoy scuba and receive certification can join instructors on adventures to Cozumel and the Caribbean islands. There, they'll dive amid tropical fish and spy on movies filmed in Atlantis.
Members of Evolutions Fitness & Wellness receive access to more than 100 weekly fitness classes, rows of cardio and strength-training equipment, a lap pool, plush locker rooms, childcare services, and a slew of other gym perks. That's not what separates Evolution from other facilities, though. Its distinction as the fitness center for Tulare Regional Medical Center does. And the facility's medically minded take on fitness is evident, from the therapy pool and wellness seminars to fitness assessments and doctor vs. doctor bench-press contests.
In the early 1990s, Santa Clarita's city officials set out to establish a one-of-a-kind celebration of the area's cowboy roots in art, music, film, and beyond. The Cowboy Festival was unveiled in 1994 and every year since has showcased the city's rugged Old West heritage. These days, the annual weekend-long event draws more than 10,000 visitors through the doors at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio where Western fans young and old revel in the sights, sounds, and scenery of life decades ago, all without the risk of getting caught between two dueling horses.
Of course, for most of the year the City of Santa Clarita is as modern as any Los Angeles suburb. Civic leaders take advantage of the region's plentiful, free sunshine to stage a variety of outdoor gatherings for residents and visitors, including concerts and public art projects the whole community can get involved in.