As the Advanced-A minor-league affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Visalia Rawhide caters to baseball buffs with professional bat-cracking action and advance screenings of future big-league stars. This year the team celebrates 65 years of play at the recently renovated Recreation Park, an intimate stadium of spherical slinging where fans sit so close to the field that they can call pitches and notice subtle interventions from celestial outfielders. When the players’ endless running, throwing, and sunflower noshing inspires spectators' stomachs to hunger, the park’s three concession stands offer satiation with a bevy of ballpark eats.
Roars, growls, and clanking metal clamors from behind the castle walls. This is Camelot Park, where families can roar around curvy courses in growling go-karts and smack baseballs with aluminum bats at the batting cages. After chasing checkered flags and practicing their swings for the zombie apocalypse, guests take it down a notch to putt around waterfalls, a pink castle, and a painted pagoda on the 18-hole mini-golf course. Afterward, guests can play arcade and redemption games inside or fire streams of water at each other from aboard bumper boats. Party packages combine these attractions but throw in pizza, balloons, and a personal party host.
Judas Priest, the influential English rock band that helped define heavy-metal culture, crescendos a globetrotting career on its farewell Epitaph tour. After nearly four decades of shaking Hades's chandeliers with defibrillating beats, jackhammer guitars, and vocals that earn restraining orders from glass, the crew of Judas Priest is revving through one last career-encompassing victory lap, leaving no head unbanged before hanging up its chaps. Singer Rob Halford hits and holds nearly unattainable notes in anthems that may include "Breaking the Law," "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," or "Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Gracing the stage in the open air of the amphitheater, legendary ax-grinder Zakk Wylde leads Black Label Society through a parade of questionable lullabies, and the boisterous lads of Thin Lizzy pump out hits that encourage inter-office dating at classic-rock stations.
Crunching metal and the sweet smell of burning rubber prevail as the Monster X Tour invades the Ocean Center, thrilling all ages in an action-packed motorsports showcase. Bigfoot, the forefather of all station-wagon smashers, leads a fleet of competitive 10,000-pound monster trucks, including Bear Foot and Black Knight, through jaw-dropping races, wheelie contests, and freestyle car composting. Transaurus, a two-story transforming robot that never learned to love, buries his woes by chomping entire cars in his massive jaws while watching reruns of Felicity. Before the show, VIP tickets also grant access to the Pit Party, where fans can have autographs signed by the drivers. During intermission, fans get the opportunity to eschew sea level with a ride inside a monster truck or visit General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and learn its true feelings about excessive hood sliding.
Elton John. Dolly Parton. Dave Matthews Band. Harlem Globetrotters. These are just a handful of celebrated acts that have descended upon Winston-Salem Entertainment Sports Complex over the years. The sprawling event center remains a go-to destination for visitors who want to catch a first-rate concert, root for their favorite sports team, or get an autography from their favorite gym towel.
Everyone can buy up to five of today's Groupon (a total of 10 tickets), so round up ballpark fanatics of all ages for a Saturday-evening outing to the open-air Chukchansi Park, which plays host to the Fresno Grizzlies before they grow to the heights of gentle yet surprisingly man-sized San Francisco Giants. Backdropped by the downtown skyline, night games spring to life under a spectacular night sky. During slow innings or unusually long pop flies, take your anxious youngsters down for a few games at the park's Fun Zone, where kids can train like real-life baseball players by riding the carousel, rolling down the inflatable slide, and practicing in the pitching and batting zones.