Born into a family of equestrians, Jesslynn Saxton spent her summers on a horse farm, learning to ride at an early age. At 15, after having had some success in riding competitions, she took a job as a stable apprentice and dreamed of opening her own riding school. Today, as the founder of Saxton Equestrian, Jesslynn is an accomplished rider, trainer, and stable manager with more than 20 years of experience. Harboring an innate passion for teaching, she holds lessons and training sessions and volunteers with Project R.I.D.E., a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic riding instruction for persons with disabilities.
Jesslynn?s horse sanctuary, Clay Station Ranch, sits on 23 acres of green pastures, upon which five barns house 40 stalls. The ranch?s two outdoor arenas allow riders to sharpen their skills under blue skies, and a lighted indoor arena features all-weather felt footing, irrigated grass turnouts, wash racks with hot water, viewing areas, and a riders? lounge, where equestrians can kick back and relax after going on an exhausting ride or failing to teach the horses how to neigh in a British accent.
RPM Indoor Kart Racing indulges a driver's need for speed with two connectable indoor racecourses, refereed by staff members during high-octane heats. After stepping into the spacious lobby with high ceilings and a two-story window overlooking the track, adult drivers slap down a valid driver's license and sign a liability form in exchange for a racing suit and helmet. Once suited up, they climb into a 9-horsepower race kart that reaches speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, roughly the speed of an ostrich riding a moped.
The raceway's two sweeping thoroughfares—the Monster Energy Track and the Unbound Energy Track—send amateur IndyCar drivers zooming around adrenaline-filled turns. On Mondays, the two courses unfurl into one gargantuan raceway—the Lost Big Gun Track. Races include sprint and grand prix competitions with 8–10 racers, or Hot Laps that pit drivers against the clock, which despite one hand being smaller than the other, is actually a pretty good driver.
Guaranteeing maximum safety, referees keep their eagle eyes peeled during every race to enforce the courses' rules of the road. After heated competitions, former enemies bury the hatchet and become lifelong frenemies over refreshments in the Skybox, a windowed lounge that overlooks the tracks.
Each April, a tear in the space-time continuum opens up along the Sacramento River. Through it rolls a first-class locomotive right out of the 1940s and 50s. For 45 minutes, passengers in the train's coach and luxury first class car soak in the sights of California's fruit-growing deltas as the vintage diesel engine carries them into another time.
The California State Railroad Museum conducts these scenic, historic train rides. The excursions play a crucial role in the museum's mission to chronicle California's railroad history from the early days of the Gold Rush to modern agricultural transports and the proposed railroad to Mars. Spanning centuries, 21 restored locomotives and train cars blanket the museum's 225,000 square feet of exhibit space. A Pullman-style sleeping car and a dining car filled with fine china both sit on display, while the museum's Sierra Scene places a vintage steam locomotive next to a breathtaking mural of snow-dusted mountains. The popular Small Wonders: The Magic of Toy Trains exhibit currently commands the second floor, and with hundreds of examples of early electric toy trains and accessories such as stations, signals, tunnels, and bridges, it should delight even the most discerning miniature conductor.
Behind the Victorian columns of Crocker Art Museum?s 126-year-old gallery building, ornate chambers house works that span six continents and several centuries. Established in 1885, it remains the first art museum in the Western United States, boasting collections that pay homage to the region?s cultural lineage with a robust Californian collection.
The museum updated its look and tripled both its exhibit space and running time for games of hide-and-seek in 2010 with the addition of the Teel Family Pavilion, a 125,000-square-foot building that boasts geometric designs and sunlit rooms. The expanded gallery furthers the museum?s mission to function as a community hub by hosting Art Mix, social events that feature live music, djs and a cash bar on the 2nd Thursday of every month. Studio-art classes keep adults informed, and children?s programs inspire young artists to commit their creativity to canvas, rather than living-room walls or ephemeral Mr. Potato Heads.
Fright Planet Haunted Theme Park's outdoor theme park acts as a library of the world's most potent phobias. Every year, cast members reimagine its catalog of haunted environs, crafting new sets, props, and characters to prey on guests. Its dedication to genuine scares calls for only the best actors and the most grisly scenery, which is constructed with the help of a former Disneyland artist and a bulldozer possessed by the soul of a 1700s architect.
The lineup includes eight attractions. Though the houses all have distinct themes and decor, they share two factors: a richly painted backstory and a population of live, ghoulish denizens. Staring toys line the shelves at Hobart's Doll Factory and tight passageways put the squeeze on those brave enough to enter Jatinga: The Forbidden Temple. Other experiences play on claustrophobic fears?for example, Buried Alive: The Ride shuts patrons into a coffin where they endure a simulated hearse ride, burial, and the chilling sound of worms calling dibs on their body parts.
Laying a hand on a piece of the ornately carved fauna that chase each other around Funderland?s carousel, one can nearly hear the gleeful shouts of the innumerable happy riders who have graced the attraction since it is was built in 1947. A happy chorus of youthful shouts brings the present day back to life, drifting from rides such as the log flume and the Funderland train ride, which chugs slowly past diminutive rustic cabins under the shade-giving arms of evergreen trees. The Red Baron ride whisks youngsters off the ground, granting an improved view of the 2-acre playground as the tiny crimson planes pirouette through the air. Current owner Sam Johnston pays almost daily visits to the family-entertainment emporium and takes pride in the role the park plays in supporting local causes and helping families spend time together amid constant distractions such as work, TV, and the disco dancers that refuse to leave one's living room.