Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run 6K pairs an obstacle-heavy running course with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. Six kilometers’ worth of collective scampering awaits participants as muscle-testing obstacles impede progress to the finish line. Those prepared to race must dance through tires, army-crawl through mud, and clamber up rope ladders to avoid barrels thrown by giant apes. The roar of spectators rings throughout the course as bystanders cheer on runners to inspire strong finishes. Gladiator Rock'n Run proceeds go toward a good cause, helping to raise money for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), an organization that provides education, support, and information to aid parents in helping their children diagnosed with autism.
The Ramona Valley's long history of winemaking dates back to early Spanish missionaries who settled into the area in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The region’s altitude, high rainfall, and stable pattern of hot days and cool nights nurture the high-quality grapes fermented by Pamo Valley, Shawaesdall, and Lenora vineyards. After assisting with the winery’s operations for several years, Jennifer Jenkin took full ownership of Pamo Valley Winery in March 2007, turning the venture into one of the only women-owned wineries in the area. She produces award-winning wines in limited quantities to ensure that each contains captivating flavor notes and deter mutiny attempts by any one varietal. Schwaesdall Winery lies along 6 acres of boulder-strewn property managed by vintner and San Diego native John Schwaesdall. John first developed a passion for winemaking while working with vineyards planted in the 1950s—a passion that grew into a fulltime vocation after he planted, fed, and clothed 4.5 acres of his own vines. He and his pet turkey Zinny oversee the production of red and white wines, which visitors can sample in a tasting room constructed of straw bales. The rural vineyards of Lenora Winery produce eight distinct wine grapes, which ferment into the winery’s selection of single-origin and blended wines. A screened-in tasting room and separate picnic area allow guests to sample the wines surrounded by countryside scenery and the gazes of jealous sommelier squirrels.
As a thin teen, Peter San Nicolas turned to bodybuilding to buff up his physique, which gained him praise from ESPN’s American Muscle. Then in 1989, Peter channeled that motivation into establishing Ramona Fitness Center, a two-story workout facility for members 21 and over. Now, nearly 25 years later, Peter and his team of dedicated personal trainers and fitness instructors are still motivating others to lose excess weight and tone bodies through personal-training lessons, small-group sessions, and 18 group-fitness courses. Instructors get students’ heart rates pumping during Turbo Kick sessions, which meld kickboxing and intense interval training. Additionally, Core and More classes take 30 minutes to focus on ab work without attempting to do yoga while wearing a suit of steel-plate armor.
The facility is also packed with modern workout equipment that ranges from the ellipticals and spin bikes that line the loft-style second floor to the free weights that fill the ground level. The upscale fitness center is also outfitted with a retail area stacked full of vitamins and supplements.
Cooks at The Flinn Springs Inn sizzle up hearty pub grub, including cheeseburgers and tacos, as tap masters pour cold draft beers or expertly mix cocktails within a bar and grill replete with exposed-brick walls and leather-topped barstools. Guests can play a game of billiards inside, or make their way to the sprawling outdoor patio to watch live music and college-level math lectures on the stage or hurl horseshoes in the regulation pits. After dancing, singing karaoke, or playing beer pong all night, patrons can return the next morning for pancakes and bloody marys.
At FunBelievable Play, British owners Lynne and Adriana introduce the San Diego area to “British-style” indoor play with playground equipment imported from the United Kingdom. Meeting all playground safety regulations, the 6,000-square-foot facility helps children use their imaginations while developing their physical and mental capabilities, and climbing structures and interactive games encourage social skills that come in handy when imaginary friends go off to college. A colorful three-level play structure hosts fun amenities such as tube slides, climbing walls, tiki-figure punching bags, and a ball shower, whereas the sports arena gives future athletes the chance to kick goals and shoot baskets. Wobbly walkers and toddlers enjoy more age-appropriate play in their own space, which scales down big-kid fun into an area littered with soft toys, a mini ball pit, and mini slides.
Parents can sip coffee in a lounge area and rest easy knowing their children are playing on equipment that's sanitized and inspected daily. The staffers are fully trained and have passed background checks, and many of them also are certified in first aid and CPR and boast an encyclopedic knowledge of cartoons.