Former Olympic bronze medalist Lloyd Eisler oversees the LA Kings Valley Ice Center's day-to-day operations, which include public skating sessions, private lessons, and hockey leagues designed for youth, adult, and special-needs players. Thanks to extensive renovations in the fall of 2011, the facility now sports a sleek lobby with energy-efficient lighting. The two-rink facility hosts birthday parties and runs a well-stocked pro shop where you can get hockey sticks and helmets or sharpen your blades after skating across the parking lot.
The gleaming blades of ice skates glide across the smooth, subzero surface of Iceland Ice Skating Center’s rink as guests swish in circles or try out their fancy footwork. Skaters of all abilities can enroll in skating classes to master pinpoint turns, develop graceful pirouettes, or learn how to shave with a tightly fastened skate. Public-skate sessions give skaters freestyle time on the ice, and thumping beats and a phosphorescent ambiance spice up skate sessions during Disco Light Night. Kids aged 4 and older can climb into unique, safe bumper cars and glide on the ice at up to 5 miles per hour during bumper-car sessions, and shoe-wearing players can assemble for a game of broomball, a hockey-like game played with a broom instead of a stick and legions of frozen-solid dust bunnies instead of a puck.
A friendly staff mans Pickwick Gardens' pleasant bowlery, where 24 well-maintained synthetic lanes treat clown-shoed families and friends to old-fashioned, no-frills pin punishment. Slap on some bowling shoes ($3 daily, $4 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday) and challenge a chum to three-fingered skeeball at a time of your choosing (game prices range from $3 to $6, depending on time of day and week), or bust out the automatic bumpers (for ages 7 and under) and treat a wee one to a bout of life-sized pinball. Cosmic bowling lets grounded astronauts put a new spin on asteroid dioramas on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 7 p.m.
Each winter, the Woodland Hills Ice rink appears at the Westfield Promenade. More than 7,000 square feet of solid ice supports skaters throughout the season as they enjoy open recreational sessions, skating classes, private lessons, and parties. Towering pines surround the open-air rink, providing a romantic backdrop for couples and an inspiring setting for hockey players in training montages.
Lawn-bowling statistics don't dominate newspaper box scores, but the sport is hardly an unknown phenomenon. The game’s English roots stretch as far back as the 13th century, and today, lawn bowlers can be spotted in locales as distant as South Africa and New Zealand. Primarily a game of finesse, lawn bowling rewards teams of three for their accuracy as they read the manicured terrain and gently heft a three-pound ball toward a small, distant target.
Ever since Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club was founded in 1927, it has embraced the social aspect of the sport, currently welcoming 120 members from the surrounding community. As the only lawn bowling club in the city of Los Angeles according to Westwood-Century City Patch, the HPLBC organizes matches across two separate playing fields, accommodating as many as 96 players at a time. The club loans equipment to new members so they can get a feel for the game before buying their own supplies, and instructors arrive in the late morning to dole out pointers and help newcomers learn the fundamentals. Plenty of benches and shaded areas allow players to relax in between throws or enjoy a quick refreshment before the next match.
The frosty rinks at Iceoplex have supported the arabesques of professional figure skaters and served as the backdrop in feature films. During public skating hours, though, anyone can stop by for a glide on the ice. Visitors can rent hockey or figure skates for the day, hold events in heated party rooms, or play games in the video arcade. Beginning skaters can attend skating school or take hockey lessons.
Toyota Sports Center entices skaters of all ages with a trio of glassy rinks smooth enough to be commandeered for official practices by the L.A. Kings. When the pros aren't reigning over the ice, guests can practice axel jumps during skating lessons or show up for public skating sessions to lap the flattened glacier in search of preserved saber-toothed zambonis. Toyota Sports Center also educates aspiring Great Ones with beginners hockey classes, hosts youth and adult leagues, and encourages visitors to bulk up off the ice at the fitness center, which is outfitted with free weights and treadmills for those slowly reconnecting with exercise on solid ground.