The championship course at Avila Beach Golf Resort hugs a tidal estuary that empties into the scenic San Luis Harbor, offering players dramatic views of the Pacific as they work their way through 18 holes. Designers Olin Dutra and Desmond Muirhead keep players on their toes with two distinct nine-hole sides, with the front nine draping over hilly terrain and the back nine traversing the coast and all of its singing fish. Throughout rounds, players corral their golf balls over kikuyu-grass fairways in pursuit of bentgrass greens, each mown short to produce quick-moving putts.
Course at a Glance:
At Ostrich Land, visitors quickly learn that ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand—they'd much rather bury them in a bowl of food that you hold out in front of you. They're also not fond of waiting their turn, and at any given moment, you might have four beaks dipping into your supply. The experience is a far cry from throwing bread at ducks or pigeons. These birds are the world's largest: they can reach up to 9 feet in height and weigh 350 pounds. At top speed, they hit 45 miles per hour on their massive, two-toed feet.
Having been raised around people and trained to eat from outstretched bowls, the park's 50 ostriches and emus welcome spectators from their savannah-like enclosure. They're also celebrities in their own right, with bit roles in the film Sideways as well appearances in a Santa Maria Times video feature and a tongue-in-cheek homage in an episode of The Simpsons. Dispensing the animals' supper is only one way in which guests can get close—a stop inside the gift shop reveals shelves of ready-to-cook ostrich and emu eggs, ostrich feather dusters, and savory ostrich meat shipped in from a separate farm not affiliated with Ostrich Land. Also in stock are vials of emu oil, a substance with anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that can soothe the skin.
The Try Scuba lesson, aimed at newcomers to diving, begins with classroom instruction on scuba diving and the science behind it, followed by ample time in the meticulously maintained on-site, heated pool. Participants will learn several skills taught in a full-certification program, including how to breathe underwater, how to clear a scuba regulator, and how to use diving equipment. Throughout the experience, you and your aqualungs will be under the close supervision of veteran instructors, all of whom are certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and/or have met all requirements of the Recreational Scuba Training Council under Scuba Schools International. As you float weightlessly through the water, take a moment to focus on the surrounding silence, the cascading light shining down, and the calming exchange between you and your lovingly pressurized oxygen tank.
The aromas of South Asian spices lure passersby into Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine, where heat emanates from the kitchen's clay tandoor oven and plates laden with marinated lamb and chicken. Four varieties of pakora—fish, chicken, vegetable, and paneer—don coats of spice and marinade before hopping into the deep fryer and emerging with a crispy veneer. Traditional Indian entrees include lamb tikka masala and tandoori shrimp, and a daily lunch buffet appeases tigers growling in bellies with more than 15 dishes to choose from. The restaurant's catering services accommodate a multitude of occasions, from small get-togethers to massive Bollywood dance rehearsals.
The creators of the The Colorful 5K – Graffiti Run use the term “run” very loosely. Less of a race, and more a celebration of the human spirit, The Colorful 5K – Graffiti Run encourages participants to dash, dance, prance, skip, cartwheel, or walk the course as they douse each other in vibrant hues that span the full spectrum. Each run also donates a portion of proceeds to a local charity, which range from Special Olympics affiliates and scholarship funds to city cleanup and beautification projects.
Established: Before 1950
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 2–4 hours
Pro Tip: Call ahead to see if there are any dress up themes for the Classic Films each month.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Metered street parking
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Classic Film Series
Recommended Age Group: All Ages