Completed in 1911, the Woodland Branch is a 16-mile stretch of railway that connects West Sacramento with Woodland, California. At the branch's peak, passenger trains were running eight times a day, nine times on leap-days, but it all came to an end in 1940 with the start of World War II. The tracks were still used for freight, but it would be more than 60 years before passengers began using the railway again with any frequency. When the scenic stretch of rail was absorbed by the Sierra Railroad Company in 2003, it wasn't long before it took the name Sacramento RiverTrain and began running luxury coaches complete with rattan furniture, wood paneling, and state-of-the-art sound systems. Today, passengers board these trains to savor Sunday brunch, murder-mystery dinners, and other events while train tracks softly clack in the background.
The press certainly likes California Family Fitness, granting the exercise venue such awards as a top spot on KCRA-3's 2012 A-List and Sacramento News and Review's Best of Sacramento 2012 Award. The press, however, isn't the top priority for the gym's staff; they believe that, to quote their about CFF page, “awards don't greet you at the door.” Instead, they depend upon their dedicated staffers at the front desk, chaperones at the Kidz Club play zone, and personal trainers to make families of clients feel at home. Certified personal trainers take aspiring exercisers of all ages through regimens that make use of the 16 available locations' ample workout machinery. Seasoned instructors, meanwhile, hold group fitness classes, free with a membership, fostering community as they incinerate calories during high-energy Zumba, step aerobics, Turbo Kick, and Hip Hop Hustle. Nine of the locations boast pools that host swim lessons taught by certified water-safety instructors.
While hitting the gym, parents can drop wee ones at childcare havens lined with playgrounds and age-appropriate investment manuals. After breaking a sweat on the exercise floor, clients can also shed excess body moisture in saunas and tanning beds.
Amid a vast climbing arena wrought with 11,000 square feet of challenging climbing terrain, Sacramento Pipeworks imparts boulder scaling beginners and expert climbers alike with rock scaling knowhow. Experienced instructors offer a full beginners’ rundown of wall-climbing basics, providing you and your chosen roommate or press secretary with the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the climbing arts. You'll learn safe-climbing procedures and beginners' belaying moves as well as knot tying, top-rope-climbing methods, and wall-scaling, which will allow you and your partner to trade off the climbing and supporting roles before eventually co-writing your Emmy acceptance speech.
Donna Hunter started whitewater rafting as a hobby, but after spending 15 years as a social worker in San Diego, she was drawn back to the river as a career. With a few friends for support and a goal to start a rafting-adventure company, she went to night school and honed her business skills. Today, with some of her staff boasting more than 20 years experience leading tours, Donna orchestrates trips down various forks of the American, Merced, Kings, and Tuolumne Rivers to pit participants against rapids as high as Class V. Certified guides lead these tours in Hyside self-bailing rafts and inflatable kayaks, with some rafts holding up to eight people.
Wilderness guides also connect their guests with civilization, often combining rafting excursions with wine tastings and trips to local vineyards. On these overnight trips and other multi-day rafting excursions such as family gold-panning trips, they build relationships with their guests, garnering a clear idea of their paddling skills and the amount of time they've spent practicing in their washing machine.
The company’s camp boasts tent cabins—with names like Eagle's Nest and Falcon's Nest—which populate riverside clearings between picnic tables, swimming holes, and volleyball courts. A camp shop prepares guests with river gear, and hot-water showers let them wash off river water. When not seeking action on the river, staffers organize camp entertainment, such as live music, games, and visits from a local gold panner who demonstrates his craft.
Goalgetters' seasoned, kid-minded coaches lead tots 3–9 in age-specific clinics, introducing them to the worldwide phenomenon of soccer and instilling life lessons such as sharing, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Classes, comprising 8–12 students, allow younger groups to get a feel for the most basic of skills and older pupils to run, kick, and electric boogaloo to the more advanced stylings of European and Brazilian small-sided soccer. In addition to imparting the fundamental concepts, the coaches ensure pint-size Beckhams receive a high percentage of contact with the polygonal orb as they buzz about the 3,200-square-foot indoor facility that offers protection from ball-snatching pterodactyls.
When illegally trafficked animals are confiscated from the hands of poachers, they get sent to the safe haven of STAR Eco Station. The dynamic facility serves as a rescue center for these at-risk animals, while also educating youth as an environmental science museum. First-time visitors meet, touch, and learn about the center’s latest crop of exotic animal guests, including spiders, pythons, rare insects, and parrots. STAR Eco Station advocates “preservation through education,” and teaches visiting field trips or groups through unique events such as an all-you-can-eat bug buffet and their Bag Monster, a sculpture made out of the plastic bags used in one year by the average American consumer. Recognized on the state and national level for its philanthropic and educational work, STAR Eco Station is part of the larger STAR Education network, supporting after-school and cultural-enrichment programs for more than 500 schools in 61 districts.