Though many outsiders know Sonoma County for its fine wines, the savvy drinkers at North Bay Brewery Tours spread the word about the region’s other specialty: craft beer. A relatively simple outfit, the company only needs knowledgeable drivers and tour guides, a fleet of buses running on eco-friendly compressed natural gas, and enough effort to organize group tours, party buses, and pub crawls. Brewery-hopping tours, their top services, head to three craft breweries each trip. One on-the-bus tour segment demonstrates from start-to-finish how beer is made.
Beer samples will be available for purchase at participating breweries, and complimentary ice-cold water or beer on the bus keeps tour takers thirsts' slaked between stops. Examiner.com recommended the tour as an excellent way to taste a variety of brews while enjoying the safety of a designated driver.
Picking a criminal out of a lineup is hard, but at Bodega Bay Sailing Adventures, the staff knows that picking a plant out of a lineup is even harder. On the company’s naturalist tours, naturalist Katja Svendsen arms passengers with comprehensive ID cards, printed with pictures and descriptions of local flora and fauna. As they identify the plants as well as the whales and seals native to Bodega Bay’s hamlet, Svendsen explains topics such as the causes of tides and human’s impact on the bay. Meanwhile, US Coast Guard-licensed captain Rich Crumley steers the sailboat. Crumley can also captain the 33-foot vessel during traditional tours, supervising passengers while they steer to ensure they don’t turn in a tiny circle forever.
A stress-shedding family-friendly sport for splatter soldiers of all types and stripes, paintball grants its combatants the perfect backdrop for one-on-one duels or group-oriented maneuvers. Spread out your tickets over six solo sessions, or round up five friends, coworkers, or NBA starters for a fast-paced adrenaline-fueled jaunt across unique indoor and outdoor terrains that can include pastoral fields and themed villages. Each trek arms guests with a battle mask and goggles, semiautomatic paintball marker, hopper and tanker, and orientation that lays out the rules, safety precautions, and the symbolism behind to Jackson Pollack’s early work.
Since 1961, Bamboo Reef has been unlocking the depths of the ocean by training scuba adventurers, outfitting them with gear and repairing equipment on the fritz. Skilled instructors guide swimmers during diving classes that range from paddling in an 82-degree pool to advanced night navigation in the Pacific's dunk tank. Refresher and specialty courses continue students’ aquatic education after they’ve mastered the basics of gliding through the deep blue. Bamboo Reef also coordinates dives off the shores of Monterey, Carmel, and international coasts that count toward specialty, advanced, and master diver ratings as well as black belts in underwater kickboxing.
The water wizards also rent and sell gear from brands such as Aqua Lung and Mares. Professional technicians—who maintain more than $10,000 in parts inventory—stand at the ready to repair all major brands of scuba equipment.
As founder of Four Star Farm, Natalie Rooney Pitts instills proper horsemanship techniques in each rider, whether they’re saddling up for simple enjoyment or dreaming of one day prancing onto the Olympic podium. Natalie and her team of trainers introduce new equestrians to the sport via lessons that allow students of all ages and experience levels to take the reins without having to own their own enchanted rocking horse. Atop one of the farm’s fully trained mounts, pupils learn the techniques of English-style riding—including eventing, dressage, and show jumping—while building self-confidence and a mutual respect among man, animal, and belt buckle. The ranch also offers boarding and training services, and youngsters can take part in camps and club events offered throughout the year.
There isn’t just one way to skate around the rink at Cal Skate. In the midday, open skate welcomes folks of all ages and couples and adults can spark romance or freestyle under the glowing lights during the evening. The center is also home to the Resurrection Roller Girls, who dare both adults and youths to tap into their inner warriors at age-appropriate derby-training sessions. For birthday parties, the staff can set up a party room for you and your guests, complete with snacks and free gifts, and the DJ will play your birthday song request—as long as it’s not “The Song that Never Ends.”