When illegally trafficked animals are confiscated from the hands of poachers, they get sent to the safe haven of STAR Eco Station. The dynamic facility serves as a rescue center for these at-risk animals, while also educating youth as an environmental science museum. First-time visitors meet, touch, and learn about the center’s latest crop of exotic animal guests, including spiders, pythons, rare insects, and parrots. STAR Eco Station advocates “preservation through education,” and teaches visiting field trips or groups through unique events such as an all-you-can-eat bug buffet and their Bag Monster, a sculpture made out of the plastic bags used in one year by the average American consumer. Recognized on the state and national level for its philanthropic and educational work, STAR Eco Station is part of the larger STAR Education network, supporting after-school and cultural-enrichment programs for more than 500 schools in 61 districts.
As a lifelong member of the NRA and a sport shooter since he was 11 years old, John Taylor felt pained every time he read about or heard of an accidental shooting. Now as chief firearms instructor at Best Handgun Training, John and his team strive to end such incidents by teaching clients how to safely to handle and operate a firearm in the event they should need to use one. An array of classes, including a selection of NRA-certified courses, trains participants in armed self-defense. Best Handgun Training's locations let instructors utilize a combination of classroom, puppet theater, and on-range instruction to demonstrate not only the technical skills of wielding a gun, but also developing a responsible attitude.
Generation gaps call an evening-long truce to absorb the electric harmonies and magnetic energy of legendary rock bands Def Leppard and Heart. Def Leppard began its ascent to British hard-rock royalty in 1977, solidifying its reign with the 1987 multiplatinum album Hysteria and its iconic anthems "Love Bites" and "Armageddon It." Its latest tour stokes nostalgia and then pours sugar on it, with library classics giving way to singles such as "Undefeated" from the forthcoming Mirror Ball – Live & More album. Heart frontwomen Ann and Nancy Wilson add to the aural carnival with sisterly harmonics and guitar-wrangling routines developed over more than 30 years onstage. Revelry-inducing '70s hits "Barracuda" and "Crazy on You," along with soul-clutching '80s power ballads "Alone" and "What About Love," embody the decades whence they came while continuing to forcefully knock the socks and toenail polish off rapt concertgoers.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, which is the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, also sees its anthemic tunes represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Australian wunderkind Cody Simpson starts the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.
Grapes hang heavy from the vines on trellises scattered across 20 acres of the rolling Lincoln Hills. The fruit, tended by Wise Villa Winery's oenophiles, yield awards, including a prestigious honor from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Owner and winemaker Dr. Grover Lee draws on viticulture training while producing single-variety and blended wines or doing the crossword in the Grapes Aficionado Quarterly. Within the winery, the tasting room fills with the sound of clinking glasses as patrons sample various award winners, such as the Pinot Noir Rose. The winery also arranges frequent events, including live music on Fridays, grape-stomping parties, and reservation-only pairing dinners at its bistro.