Las Flores Family Winery produces fine, handcrafted wine from local grapes. Two chums can enjoy a tasting tour (a $5 value per person) of the small boutique winery. Use the complimentary glass to taste the 2007 syrah ($16), whose liquid character sparkles with the honorable tastes of peppery spice, vanilla, and darkish berries, pairing perfectly with beef, lamb, veal, or hard cheese. The One Night Stand—a blend of merlot, tempranillo, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon ($20)—takes its name from the winery owners’ bedroom, which only has one nightstand. A superb all-purpose table wine, it features flavors of cherry, black pepper, and oak. Tongues will gladly wrap themselves around the light and fruity 2008 chardonnay ($17).
McDermont Field House wears a lot of hats. It's a fitness center that houses more than 50 cardio machines. It's an indoor soccer field that hosts open play and league games and a skate park that lures skateboarders with ramps and rail slides.
Elsewhere, its Eagle Mountain rock-climbing wall challenges visitors to scale more than 50 feet. But it's not a traditional wall. Instead of colorful foot and handholds, the indoor wall looks much like a real mountainside: the grey, cragged peak is unmarked, and climbers must figure out their own ways to the top. The field house also brings the ocean to the San Joaquin Valley with a FlowRider wave simulator that buoys surfers and body boarders.
The Sequoia Shuttle whisks its passengers from Visalia to Sequoia National Park, a 400,000-acre nature preserve that houses General Sherman, the largest tree in the world. During rides, an informational video prepares riders for the natural wonders ahead, ensuring that the trees’ height doesn’t intimidate insecure basketball stars. Once in the park, visitors choose from three free in-park routes, which provide easy access to campgrounds, parking lots, and landmarks such as the Crescent Meadow and the Giant Forest Museum. The Sequoia Shuttle cuts down on the exhaust fumes and noise pollution that private vehicles inject into the park atmosphere, preserving a peaceful environment where critters can roam and trees can nurse their woodpecker-induced concussions.
Whitewater Connection's team of veteran rafters leads thrill seekers on a variety of rafting trips that range in intensity, from lighthearted excitement to hair-raising heroics. Traversing the Kaweah, Upper Klamath, and other rivers that stretch across California, turbulent excursions wind past verdant hills and distant mountains over the course of swift half-day trips or epic three-day adventures. In addition to its stable of sturdy rafts, Whitewater Connection stocks a full selection of rental gear to outfit rafters for their journeys, including wetsuits, meals for full-day trips, and camping gear for diverting snooping grizzly bears.