Though still the same game at heart, the bowling competitions at Valley Center Bowl take on a sci-fi spin. The center's 30 lanes use flat-screen televisions to report bowlers' scores, play 3-D graphics, and display a digital clock counting down to the robot uprising. During events such as the Rock-N-Bowl, black and colorful lights dance along the walls and floors while videos pour from six 42-inch screens. Electronic entertainment coaxes visitors away from the lanes an into a newly remodeled, 3,200-square-foot redemption arcade that sits beside the Lazer Frenzy laser maze. Recently renovated with comfortable seating and flat-panel screens, Monterey Lanes entices bowlers of all ages to strive for a perfect 300 score while enjoying good company and crisp refreshments from the cocktail lounge. Weekend glow bowling and an onsite arcade keep gamers amused, and the pro shop caters to more serious bowlers. Monterey Lanes routinely lends its slick surfaces to charity events, such as Bowl Over Breast Cancer.
There's something timeless about a classic county fair. There are the attractions such as antique cars and horse carriages, rodeos and livestock exhibitions. And, of course, there are the carnival rides. Midway of Fun makes sure that county fairs all over California stay stocked with the kind of flashing, whirling, fun that families have enjoyed for generations. A safety-focused team of pros sets up rides that range from sweet (the Berry Go Round and the Dragon Wagon) to nail-biting (the Viper and the Ranger). Fairgoers can also compete to win a stuffed toy or a term as mayor of next year's fair at games such as break-a-bottle and baseball toss.
In the 1940's, Casa de Fruta stood as a seasonal cherry stand along the two lane road that slices through Pacheco Valley. Fast foward some 60 years and Casa de Fruta continues to delight generations of guests with an array of dried fruits, nuts, candies, and estate-grown wines. Once a mere 18.7 square feet, the original stand now covers more than 10,000 square feet, inviting familiar guests and accidental tourists to taste exotic treats from around the globe. Casa de Fruta also houses its own carousel and narrow-gauge railroad that winds two miles across the countryside. Guests may also experience the Old West as it once was by panning for gold or gemstones on the massive turning sluice.
An old-fashioned marquee sign hangs above the entrance to Osio Cinemas, its hand-placed letters broadcasting the six films currently being screened. While the selection changes weekly, the theater always carefully curates a selection of popular films, documentaries, and independent features. That eye for artistry even extends to the refreshments?besides classic popcorn scooped at the concession stand, the on-site Cafe Lumiere serves up slices of cheesecake, squares of brownies, and generally round cups of espresso, all of which may be brought into the theater.
Tucked into the tranquil foothills of Mount Madonna, BellaMar Training Stables and Riding School educates students of all abilities either inside one of two arenas or on the airy stretches of the facility's many trails. Head instructor Elizabeth guides riders through every level of equitation and instructs more advanced students on the styles of dressage and eventing.
New riders begin with private lessons, during which they learn such skills as correct position, grooming, and cleaning tack. Private lessons also maintain an overarching focus on good sportsmanship, emphasizing both respect as well as the importance of never spiking a helmet after a flawless trot. As riders improve, they can then move on to semiprivate or group lessons.