Gold's Gym's amiable staff oversee an army of fitness amenities well equipped to spice up tedious workouts. Cardio equipment and resistance machines work together to burn calories, tone muscles, and tag-team unwitting video-game bosses. For human camaraderie, group fitness classes corral exercisers into sessions that deploy styles such as Pilates ($4/session), GroupCycling ($3/session), and Zumba (no extra charge). Add variety with an intense hour of BodyCombat (no extra charge), which torches calories with martial-arts fighting moves, or BodyPump (no extra charge), which wields weighted devices such as barbells and prize pumpkins to build lean muscle.
With his white hair and mustache and his penchant for hot air balloons, Wil LaPointe often jokes that he looks like the Wizard from The Wizard of Oz. On every balloon ride, LaPointe wants to create an unforgettable experience for his basket of passengers, peppering historical tidbits about early ballooning with jokes and stories such as the history of the white tiger adorning one of the balloons in his fleet. The white tiger, a ward of LaPointe’s friend—a wildlife caretaker—was one of three cubs abandoned by their mother and eventually raised by an open-minded golden retriever.
Though LaPointe is a self-proclaimed “balloonatic,” he got into the business of ballooning by chance when he bought a hot air balloon to advertise for his cellular-phone business. Today, LaPointe works as a master instructor of ballooning, training new pilots in addition to travelling to schools with miniature balloons, which he uses to teach hands-on lessons about mathematics, physics, and engineering.
LaPointe was featured on CNN.com after donating a balloon ride in his deceased wife’s name to Cy Breen, who raises funds for cancer research, on Breen's 100th birthday. Breen, who raises money each year by shooting one hole of golf for each birthday he’s had, did a little jig as he walked over to the white-tiger balloon, eager to check another item off his list of lifelong dreams.
Don’t let the stunning backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains induce a false sense of security: the links at SilverRock Resort are riddled with challenges. The home course for the Bob Hope Classic from 2008 to 2011, SilverRock sends players past massive bunkers and intersecting water hazards. Hole 12 reserves the title as the course’s longest, where players must wallop drives or construct tiny kayaks to get their golf balls across a canal. The course finishes with a dramatic 18th hole, as a lake alongside the fairway devours misguided shots. After rounds, players can visit the clubhouse, a charming renovation of a former working-ranch hacienda nestled into the rocky outcroppings.
Course at a Glance:
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes by location to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks. UltraStar Play it Again Cinemas also offers a selection of Hollywood hits for patrons to enjoy in high-back reclining chairs alongside snacks from the concession stand.
At both of Cimarron Golf Resort's John Fought–designed courses, one massive, unblinking spectator watches on: the San Jacinto Mountain Range. Its massive rockfaces jut above the fairways and greens, adding visual drama to every westward drive and putt. Nodding to those rocky outcrops with its name, the championship-length Boulder course challenges golfers with 6,782 open yards, including a formidable 569-yard, par-five 18th hole. At the Boulder's sibling course, the Pebble, 17 par-threes tempt players with 17 chances for a hole-in-one. Before any round, a driving range with five target greens hosts swing rehearsals, on-site golf lessons, and clinics that help golfers hit farther and yell "Fore!" louder.
Boulder Course at a Glance:
Pebble Course at a Glance: