More than one million fossils and artifacts were unearthed during the construction the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Hemet. These time-swept relics make their home in the Western Science Center's museum complex, creating a bridge between ancient eras and the scientific advances of the future. The campus itself is steeped in advanced design tactics, making it the first museum in California to earn a Platinum LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A rooftop covered with 3,000 solar panels provides more than half of the museum's power needs, and a combination of heat-resistant windows and forced-air circulation keeps the interior cool while spending less energy on air conditioning and ice sculpture maintenance.
A journey through the ages begins from the moment visitors step from the parking lot and under the Life on Earth Timelime, a 156-foot corridor of geologic time rings from Pre-Cambrian to Holocene that leads to the museum lobby. Inside, they explore permanent and temporary exhibits, including "Max," the largest mastodon skeleton found in the Western United States and the Discovery lab highlighting the tool contemporary architects use every day. Crowds can take a seat in the immersion theater with a 270-degree screen to watch a pair of short films about the time when giant creatures roamed California and how the region was excavated and preserved.
The Ranch aims to make motocross accessible to all. And though their goal isn’t literally spelled out in the dirt of their six different courses, the countless number of tire tracks raked across them sends a similar message. The difficulty of each course varies, starting with the kid’s PeeWee track and advancing up to the SX track, a challenging course designed for licensed riders, pro-am racers, and people with tires for feet.
With a friendly crew of chopper operators, Holmes launches scenic tours and hands-on lessons from the open pads at Sportsman Airpark, which is about 40 minutes southwest of downtown Portland. No matter which flight path you choose, the comforts of a Hiller 12-D or 12-E helicopter will be the chopper chariot. The spherical sky-mobile is designed for smooth rides and spectacular views. In flight, feel free to nudge your fellow passenger lovingly as you both admire the patch-worked wine country of Dundee Hills or the water soaked river known as the wet Willamette, depending on your chosen tour.
Painted Earth makes it simple for amateur artisans and ceramic virtuosos to produce colorful pottery pieces using a variety of stencils, stamps, and patterns. Start by choosing your desired vessel from a vast selection of more than 500 ceramic pieces ($6–$70), including coffee mugs ($10–$17), dinner plates ($14–$20), and miniature figurines ($8–$30) to festoon with the likeness of a pet or distant relative. Pick a design from the store's volumes of idea books, select from more than 100 colors, and then create a design for an earthenware masterpiece. For artists suffering from painter's block, Painted Earth hosts an online inspiration gallery, and friendly staff members stand ready to assist with the pigmenting process. Glazing, firing, and vibrantly hued paints are included in the flat studio fee ($6 per person per visit), and polished objects are ready one week later.
The owners of Corona Pumpkin Farm weren’t setting out to build a business in the fall of 2009. They just wanted to cultivate fresh, healthy produce for their family. So they began sowing seeds in box gardens, nourishing the soil with compost from chickens that also bore fresh eggs, and the occasional golden one. Eventually, the chickens’ bounty outgrew the boxed gardens, and the humble family endeavor flourished into Corona Pumpkin Farm, which sits atop more than an acre of land. Now the farmers nurture more than 50 types of pumpkins for eating and carving, as well as a cornucopia of fruits and veggies that includes three types of corn and pick-your-own boysenberries. Along with the produce, they raise chickens and turkeys for meat, gather eggs from the coop, and sometimes barter with neighbors for beef and pork.
To show their respect for Mother Nature and their own health, they never use hormones, additives, or chemicals on their garden grub. But visitors don’t flock to the farm just for the fresh, healthy fare; they come to pick their own pumpkins, meander through the 10-foot-high stalks that fill a half-acre corn maze, and enjoy other seasonal activities, such as cuddling baby chicks, scouring the fields for scavenger hunt clues, zooming down an inflatable slide, painting pumpkins, and crafting personalized trick-or-treat bag.
Whether soaring in a hot air balloon or freefalling on a skydive, you’re guaranteed picturesque aerial views at Above the Rest Hot Air Ballooning & Skydiving. On 45–60 minute hot-air-balloon rides, an experienced pilot and up to 10 passengers glide above the earth in a wicker basket, propelled by wind and an occasional flock of friendly geese.