Long bluegrass fairways give way to large seaside bent greens at Chamisa Hills Golf and Country Club. The semiprivate golf and country club in Rio Rancho originally consisted of an east and west nine, designed by Gene Sarazen and Desmond Muirhead in 1969. Dotted with an abundance of ponds, the classic-style 18-hole course thrived until 1988, when the original Sarazen-Muirhead layout underwent a modernizing expansion. Legendary golfer Lee Trevino came on the scene to design a third set of nine holes, along with an eco-friendly recharging station for turbine-powered caddies. Trevino's north nine compliments the east- and west-nine layouts, while also slightly favoring the kind of precise shot-making that's characteristic of the PGA legend's audacious playing style. Today's members and guests play 27 championship-level holes strewn with imposing deciduous trees known to make players readjust their strategies.
The newly remodeled clubhouse, backdropped by the same sweeping Sandia Mountain–views of the course, greets members with a host of amenities for before and after play and for special events. The facility houses expansive banquet rooms ideal for weddings along with a dance-ready ballroom and an adjoining outdoor covered patio. For summertime recreation, families and golfing buddies can perfect synchronized-swimming routines in the outdoor pool before toweling off to enjoy a poolside meal beneath the shade of a cabana.
Fire and wind: that’s all it takes to fly. Hot air ballooning’s sheer simplicity sparked pilot Scott Appelman’s interest in the sport 30 years ago. “In a lot of ways, it’s the exact opposite of the way the world is today,” says the Rainbow Ryders, Inc. founder. “And I think that gives it a certain degree of romance.”
Further evidence of ballooning’s inherent romance can be found in the number of proposals and weddings that have taken place aboard Rainbow Ryders’ fleet of 19 balloons, earning the company a spot on Yahoo’s list of top five places in the nation to pop the question. Even if engagement is not on passengers’ agendas, the crew still strives to ensure a memorable expedition. Guests can join the launch crew to help inflate the balloon before takeoff, and upon landing, pilot and passengers clink glasses in a champagne toast to celebrate another successful flight.
Though whimsy and romance may prove the biggest draw, Rainbow Ryders’ untarnished safety record is what ultimately keeps the balloons hovering. Since 1982, experienced pilots have safely floated 160,000 people over the Rio Grande Valley. Pilots not only helm top-tier equipment, but carefully monitor the region’s weather patterns to ensure smooth thermal drafts and minimize hitchhiking requests from migrating geese.
For nearly 30 years, Sluggers has given countless children and adults an arena in which to practice the universal pastime of hitting a ball with a stick. After fastening a complimentary helmet and selecting a bat, players step into outdoor cages where they can hone their skills on pitches of various speeds. Players can purchase gear onsite or borrow a bat from the center's stash of rental equipment, negating the need to whittle down a bat from one of their bedposts.
This fun center offers a world of excitement for the whole family, with an arsenal of arcade games, appetite-pleasers, and other activities awaiting all guests. Renounce the sky with indoor amusements such as the road-rage-inducing bumper cars, laser tag, and ten pin bowling. Visitors recovering from recent pixel-reduction surgery can ease the transition with iT'Z’s 150-plus video games, including the veggie-friendly Sega Extreme Hunting Deluxe, which features only tofu-based livestock. If 90 minutes of arcade games has helped you realize computers' dominance over humanity, your 200 prize tickets will improve your mood, since they're prime currency for obtaining neon erasers, alien rubber finger puppets, and VHS copies of Eraser.
Within an hour, Battlefield New Mexico's personnel can transform any space—from a tiny backyard to 500-acre expanse—into an outdoor laser tag venue. Before the first bout, team commanders show players how to use their taggers and run through the rules of various gaming scenarios. During the fast-paced battles that follow, participants convene at team bases and duck for cover behind inflatable crates. Along with laser tag, Battlefield New Mexico staffers run rounds of water tag during the summer and enliven parties with a 20-foot wide inflatable movie screen and projector for film viewings or big-screen video game playing.
The instructors at Deep Blue Scuba teach aquatic proficiency through the rigorous and comprehensive ANDI certification system. ANDI certification imparts pupils with the skills necessary to dive self-sufficiently or with companions, and trains students via pool sessions and open-water dives set in the crystalline Lake Travis. After mastering descent and ascent techniques, students can expand their knowledge base through a slew of specialty courses including underwater navigation, night diving, and wreck diving. Scuba instructors map out the best local dive locations and host periodic Discover Scuba outings where divers sample new gear and reacquaint themselves with watery skills. The diving enterprise also hosts expeditions to far-away waters, piloting trips that explore Australia and Mexico, and confront the notorious gangs of clownfish that lay claim to the Florida Keys.
Albuquerque Indoor Karting plays host to open-wheeled, road-course racing action no matter the weather. A one-year membership (a $20 value) entitles holders to a $5 savings on each race, after the first two included with this deal. The fully covered racecourse boasts a series of twists and straights that demand a g-force junkie’s total attention. A single race (a $15 value) or "heat" consists of 12–18 laps and lasts up to 10 minutes or until an engine taps the mat in surrender. Three different types of karts supply the appropriate size and horsepower for drivers of all experience levels. Sporting a helmet sock (a $2 value) keeps noggin protectors clean for sharing purposes and makes an ideal chimney-hanging gift receptacle during certain holidays. At the snack bar, a trained gelatier makes fresh, cool treats daily, serving up a variety of gelato by the scoop (a $2.50 value).