"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.
Jeff Martin's rise to CrossFit acclaim began in the small front room of the phone company he owned with his wife, Mikki. There, he began to teach martial-arts classes in kickboxing, Kenpo karate, and krav maga under the company name Brand X, building a foundation of self-defense skills as his class sizes steadily increased. Jeff's devotion to CrossFit was born simultaneously with Brand X's move to a larger location. Both he and his wife earned their training certifications and established their gym as one of the first official CrossFit affiliates. He then went on to spearhead the CrossFit Kids program, a venture that led to his title as Director of Youth Training for CrossFit Headquarters and the recent surge in toddler NBA recruits.
Today, the classes at CrossFit Brand X encompass every facet of Jeff's journey through the fitness industry. Elite coaches, Kenpo black belts, and certified krav-maga instructors lead sessions for all age groups that aim for functional strength and endurance, helping patrons to feel more powerful and able in their day-to-day activities such as lifting heavy boxes and scaling flights of stairs. The 30-minute CrossFit workouts cull techniques from weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardio drills, challenging muscles with movements that correspond to real-life tasks for all-around health.
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.
Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run is a unique and challenging event, pairing an obstacle-heavy running course and an attempt at breaking the record for the world’s longest mud pit with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. 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.
Rise N Shine prepares children for the road ahead with a preschool environment that fosters knowledge, motor skills, and sociability. Infants as young as 6 weeks play with sand and putty and learn to interact with other kids and Cabbage Patch dolls their age. Older preschoolers undertake basic writing, language, and math tasks that will aid them in their transition to kindergarten.
My Kids Clubhouse supervisors watch over open play as socked feet scamper through a ball pit and a mesh tunnel opening onto three slides. Across the open-format playroom floor, youngsters as old as 8 direct their own imaginative adventures in a play kitchen, soft-block area, dress-up area, and puppet theater.
Parents can drop their kids off through a secure check-in service, join their progeny on the playroom floor, or sip coffee in the Wi-Fi–enabled Clubhouse Café. In addition to holding open play hours, My Kids Clubhouse hosts two-hour birthday parties, including a slumber party option and a dinosaur-themed blowout with 3.5 billion candles to celebrate the birth of life on Earth.
My Kids Clubhouse founder Stephanie Antin opened her indoor playrooms after a disappointing search for creative play options for her own three children. She teamed up with business maven Jeri Price Smith to open two recreational locations in Poway and Bonita. Child development consultant Debbie Cazares funnels 20 years of education experience, a master's degree in Developmental Psychology, and 10 years of experience as a child to design the most creative and educational programs.