Jacques Cousteau had barely slipped the first scuba tank off his back when Pacific Wilderness opened its doors in 1953. Since then, the shop’s staffers have used their collective expertise to outfit divers with high-quality equipment from brands including Aqualung, Oceanic, Scubapro, Seaquest, and Zeagle.
They also teach PADI scuba-certification courses that range from basic open-water training to advanced rescue diving. Lessons start at the on-land facility's heated pool but progress to weekend-long dives in the waters of Redondo Beach. The shop's scuba-philes also arrange journeys to exotic locales such as the Sipadan Water Village Resort in Malaysia and the secret depths of Camp David's presidential bathtub.
The Rinks offers both inline and ice skating for all ages and all skill levels. The Westminster and Yorba Linda centers boast NHL-size rinks, and Anaheim boasts an Olympic-size rink. In addition, Anaheim's league-certified surface is used as the official training facility of the Anaheim Ducks. Skaters can take to the ice for classes on such blade-top pursuits as hockey, figure skating, public skating, curling, broomball, and more. For the ice-averse, The Rinks has three inline-skating centers in Corona, Huntington Beach, and Irvine which play host to youth and adult roller hockey leagues, skating clinics, public skates, and more. Open-skate sessions give aficionados the chance to take a few laps with friends and family, riding atop their own blades or donning a rental pair from the front desk. On Friday and Saturday nights, rinks morph into icy dance clubs, blasting hit music booming through the speakers and projecting music videos onto a jumbo screen. Birthday packages are also available at both locations.
Shawn Crawford has been climbing for more than 40 years, working with wilderness search and rescue at age 13 and later serving as a park ranger. Today, he’s the owner and head instructor at Rock City Climbing, where he puts his American Mountaineering and Guiding Association certification to use as he teaches climbers of all experience levels techniques of top-rope climbing, belaying, rappelling, and bouldering.
Inside a gym equipped with more than 10,000 feet of climbing walls, as well as top-rope and bouldering areas, students learn basic and advanced climbing techniques in a range of classes. As they climb, instructors introduce techniques such as hand and foot placement and what to do if gravity starts working in reverse. Visitors can leave the main floor to explore a tunnel maze behind the climbing walls, filled with trap doors, narrow passageways, and drops of up to 11 feet.
When not overseeing his gym, Shawn leads outdoor climbing excursions to challenging locales such as Joshua Tree, Riverside Quarry, and the Statue of Liberty. He also oversees a nearby ropes course, where staffers help groups and individuals navigate two ziplines, as well as more than 20 aerial challenges at heights of up to 60 feet.