Helmed by chief pilot Josh Jones, Channel Islands Helicopters soars over the sparkling Pacific during breathtaking tours around Channel Island National Park and Channel Island Marine Sanctuary. Guests load into a luxurious, bright-yellow steed of the sky, zipping out of Oxnard Airport and into the wide skyscape. Floating along a mountain-framed coastline, the sturdy chopper scrapes the clouds as guests peer into the waters below. Depending on the season, whales may frolic in the surf, carousing with sea lions or jubilant dolphin pods that leap out of the waters in hopes of catching a glimpse at the mythical creature known as the whirlybird. Clink glasses of champagne with a loved one or two friends to commemorate a magnificent midair adventure.
The stately grounds at River Ridge Golf Club are split between two distinct 18-hole courses: The Vineyard Course and The Victoria Lakes Course. Though there is a diverse arrangement of hole layouts littered throughout these sibling courses, a few design features are constants. Well-kept fairways and smooth greens of poa annua grass are always underfoot, one of the 14 water hazards is never far, and a light breeze constantly blows over the club from the Pacific, located just a few miles away.
In fact, the ocean is visible from a handful of high elevation points on the Vineyard Course. Holes three through six are "on top of the world" because they showcase panoramic ocean views and are at the highest elevation in Oxnard. Golfers also encounter water in closer proximity, as five lakes span the back nine on the Vineyard course, including the signature island green on the par-3 18th hole that usually plays into the wind or the occasional golf-ball hail storm. True to its name, the Victoria Lakes course harbors eight acres of water, as well as a stretch of difficult layouts on hole 12, 13, and 14.
In addition to adhering to golf's storied traditions, River Ridge also embraces new developments in the world of sport. Take footgolf, for instance. Started in the Netherlands in 2009, the hybrid sport combines soccer's precision kicks with golf's scoring system and challenging courses. River Ridge embraced the sport early, opening the first footgolf course in California alongside its traditional courses. In addition to attracting curious athletes, the course also earned the attention of the sport's governing body; River Ridge is an official partner of the American FootGolf League, and will host one of the league's inaugural pro-am tournaments in September 2014.
Vineyard Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 72 course
* Total length of 6,761 yards from the back tees
* Course rating of 72 from the back tees
* Course slope of 121 from the back tees
* Four sets of tees per hole
* View the scorecards
Victoria Lakes Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 72 course
* Total length of 7,170 yards from the back tees
* Course rating of 74.6 from the back tees
* Course slope of 136 from the back tees
* Five sets of tees per hole
With more than two decades in the industry, FCI Aviation jets passengers into the heavens above the Malibu coast and Southern California's rippling hills and valleys. The company appeals to varying interests with an assortment of different tours, including wine tastings in the sky, whale watching, and shark pursuits that track great whites and mako sharks.
What do dancers at the Monte Carlo Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet have in common? Besides the supernatural ability to walk on their toes, they got their start with The Ventura County Ballet Company. The school rigorously trains its students in Russian-style ballet, then shares the results with the community with full-scale, professional performances of classic works such as?The Nutcracker.