"The haunting melody of a howling wolf pack is heard in only a handful of states, as wolves have been exterminated from a vast majority of their original range," explains the California Wolf Center's website. Though these howling cries are harder to find than they once were, one place to witness their grandeur is at the California Wolf Center.
The non-profit was founded in 1977 to educate the public about wildlife and ecology, specifically the history and behavior of the gray wolf. Located 50 miles east of San Diego, it houses two subspecies of wolves: the Alaskan gray wolf and the endangered Mexican gray wolf. The center also participates in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, which aims to help the endangered species recover in the wild. At the facility, wolves live in enclosures that can help retain their natural behavior, as some of them will eventually be released back into the wild.
Having spent her early years on an alfalfa ranch, Sabrina Fortyune of Vineyard Trail Rides has spent most of her life around livestock, and developed a special appreciation for horses at a young age. That equine enthusiasm never abated, and today she can look back on a three-decade career as a professional horse trainer and competitor, working with breeds ranging from arabians to quarter horses. Riders in search of a relaxing jaunt can head out into the surrounding countryside on a trail ride among oak trees and ponds more peaceful than the ocean during a shark conference.
Giant Paintball Parks' five locations spider across Southern California, causing flickering rainbows of color that splatter players failing to find cover. Shelter such as castle walls or Old West storefronts dot fields at the Alpine and [Lakeside](http://www.giantsportzoutlet.com/shop/-c-100.html locations, and in Bellflower, Hollywood Sports places players in a 23-acre universe populated with authentic movie sets from the likes of Starship Troopers and Godzilla. At SC Village in Chino, camouflaged paintballers trek through 25 fields of jungle and desert landscape, popping off rounds from behind mesh-covered tanks and army-green helicopters. The wide open battle zones of California Paintball Park in Castaic, meanwhile, challenges competitors' long-distance sharpshooting as they navigate gigantic wooden spindles and wooden forts. At each of Giant Paintball's sprawling venues, teams rent gear such as Tippmann guns and buy battle-proven equipment at their pro shops.
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.
A stable of equine luminaries awaits riders at Horse Savvy, a full-service showing and sales barn whose knowledgeable instructors also train budding jockeys of all ages. Students learn the fundamentals of riding, safety, and old-timey train heisting during private or group lessons and weeklong summer camps that trot down area trails and incorporate fun games and crafting.
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks.