It's hard to say which is more distinctive: the karts zipping around Octane Raceway or the track itself. During each lap on the 1/3-mile course, drivers zoom through an indoor area, then weave around an outdoor section that's covered by a permanent steel canopy, making for a hybrid experience rarely found in American go-kart tracks not owned by bored supervillains.
An equally rare find in the U.S. is the raceway's fleet of 32 Sodi RTX karts, all imported from France, whose electric motors give off zero emissions while reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Drivers who can stay in control at these top speeds are in for success: the winner of each race is determined not by who finishes a given number of laps first, but by who puts up the fastest single lap time, a result that's posted both at the track and online for posterity.
Races take place in a 65,000-square-foot space that doubles as a gathering place for parties and corporate events for up to 500 attendees. In addition to racing, the raceway is also home to off-track activities that include shooting pool in the billiards room, scaling a 21-foot rock-climbing wall, and melting burgers and pizza into rocket fuel at the Trackside Bar and Grill.
At Casey's SportsWorld, the owners stripped down the ice from an outdoor hockey rink, replaced it with multipurpose, artificial turf, and retained the oval's lights and bleachers to create an outdoor arena that hosts games of soccer, flag football, kickball, and monthly dodge-ball tournaments. Casey's baseball and softball batting cages differ from most in that players can swing for a 200-foot home-run fence while batting from one of three slow-pitch softball cages or seven baseball cages, which sling pitches as fast as 80 miles per hour and feature an arm-style mechanism that emulates human pitchers or talented robots with soup-ladle arms.
Designed to honor a legendary species named the Marsh-wiggle, Casey's SportsWorld's mini-golf course boasts its own brand of folklore. As guests attempt to sink testy putts or manipulate their opponents' scorecard, they can speculate about the origin of the Volkswagen Beetle that is half-embedded into the ground, which denizens of Casey's SportsWorld believe squished the last remaining Marsh-wiggle.
Let It Roll Bowl's lineup of 32 slick lanes invites locals in for a night of friendly competition accompanied by drinks and grub from its lounge and restaurant. Paintings of vibrant cityscapes line the walls of the facility, and each lane is outfitted with monitors that keep track of scoring and pins' heartbeats while competitors send orbs gliding down waxed paths.
Throughout the week, the alley spices up traditional play with a variety of specialty nights, including ones with karaoke and soul DJ sets; flashing neon lights accent classic rock tunes during "Rock N Cosmic Bowl". The on-site lounge keeps taps brimming with eight drafts and keeps glasses filled with a selection of wine, mixed drinks, and soda. Meanwhile, the kitchen of the connected Pizza RE churns out pizza by the slice or pie, with options such as the house's signature sweet jalapeno fig?a flavorful mixture of jalapeno jam, figs, feta cheese, spinach, and pine nuts.
Over careers spanning 25 years and 15 pairs of spontaneously combusted shoes between the two of them, Academy of Ballroom Dance instructors Jim and Jenell Maranto have chalked up a long list of professional-dancing and dance-instruction achievements. The pair entered the dance world from backgrounds as high-level college athletes, and after meeting and teaming up, they whirled through professional dance competitions, winning every major Open Professional Smooth contest in the United States and two consecutive US American Smooth Championships in 1993 and 1994. More recently, the couple has taken to training new generations of winning dancers, including several US Pro-Am and Amateur champions, and both have won teaching awards for their efforts and their ability to explain high-level physics while foxtrotting. Any level of dancer may receive private instruction from Jim or Jenell in any of 26 styles of dance.
The story of the Los Angeles Dodgers begins in 1884 in Brooklyn, New York, where the team tried out such names as the Bridegrooms, the Superbas, and the Robins before finally settling on the Dodgers in 1932. A scant 15 years later, the club played a vital role in the American civil-rights movement, as Jackie Robinson became the first African American to don a Major League uniform. When Robinson retired after the 1956 season, players such as Don Drysdale and Duke Snider picked up the torch and, along with owner Walter O'Malley, led the team on a cross-country move to Los Angeles in 1958. The club settled into its new home four years later, erecting the stadium in which it's since won four World Series titles. Unlike most modern fields, which use giant green screens to appear surrounded by city skylines, Dodger Stadium sits in the shadow of the real San Gabriel Mountains, and the 56,000-seat ballpark was selected by MLB players as the best stadium in baseball in a 2003 Sports Illustrated poll.
Though a pilot mans each of Hot Air Expeditions balloon flights, the excursions are really guided by Mother Nature. The colorful balloons simply follow the wind, hovering above the cacti and coyote that call the Sonoran desert home before gently climbing breezes to give passengers a full view of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Groups can take morning flights year-round or afternoon flights from November through March, both of which offer spectacular photo opportunities, as well as time-sensitive challenges to any still-life painters on board.
The mutable nature of the flights mean they last anywhere from 45–90 minutes, after which, passengers will enjoy sparkling beverages and catered snacks, such as pastries. Each guest is awarded an official flight certificate as a memento of their aerial journey before boarding a courtesy van that returns them to the launch point. Though the actual flights last up to 90 minutes, groups should allow up to four hours for the entire trip.