Mike Johnson started at Dolphin Scuba Center & Swim School as an entry-level staffer but soon turned his lifelong passion for water into a promising career. Quickly, he became the manager and, at the tender age of 21, the owner of the store—a water-exploration supplier originally founded as a swim school almost 40 years ago.
Today, the PADI five-star facility boasts one of the largest selections of underwater gear in North America, including top brands of scuba, swimming, and snorkeling equipment. Johnson and his team still offer private, one-on-one swimming lessons with certified lifeguard instructors but have branched out into scuba classes. Introductory courses work their way up to professional-level training, all within a pool heated to 92 degrees—the exact temperature of the president’s nightly bath. Students can even test out their newfound skills during scuba-diving trips to the likes of Mexico, the Philippines, and Fiji.
The Stockton Indoor Sports Complex celebrates fast-paced sports and recreation with public-skate sessions, roller hockey, and roller-derby contests. During public-skate sessions, adults and kids lace up old-fashioned quads or in-line skates and glide around the center's hockey-rink-sized floor. Add a couple goals to the floor, and it's ready for youth- and adult-hockey leagues or indoor-soccer matches?the complex's only skate-free activity aside from bathroom breaks and oft-discouraged handstands.
For those who prefer to spectate, the Port City Roller Girls zip around the track on select days, shouldering opposing teams into the boards as they entertain fans during grueling roller-derby matches. On special occasions, the rink's private party rooms are available for birthday parties replete with pizza, hot dogs, and soliloquies lamenting the fleeting nature of one's youth.
Automatic scoring screens hover above West Lane Bowl's polished hardwood floors, allowing players to focus solely on sending balls on a collision course. Inside the spacious facility, families and pros alike compete during 10-frame series as the coffee shop serves wings, burgers, and pizzas and the sports bar welcomes players into its TV-filled enclave for a cocktail or a game of billiards. Those celebrating a birthday or successful weaning off of bumper bowling can gather in the private party rooms for cake and festivities between games and send guests home with swag-filled goody bags purchased from West Lane Bowl's pro shop.
In both 2010 and 2013, Bikram Yoga Central Valley's Stockton location was named Best Yoga Studio by San Joaquin magazine and KCRA 3 A-List. Despite the acclaim, owner Helena Monica and her staff have kept their noses to the grindstone.
Each day, sometimes as early as 5:30 a.m., they welcome students into a sweltering studio and lead them through Bikram yoga's traditional series of 26 postures, two breathing exercises, and one conga line. The benefits of the heat and movements are plenty. Students can reduce stress, sweat out toxins, increase their strength and flexibility, and tone their bodies.
Up to 30 players can battle in Zaps Zone's 6,200-square-foot multilevel arena. They can choose from 12 different game modes, including base mode, free-for-all, and team free-for-all, all of which are more fun and challenging than using the guns to pick up disks in games of tiddlywinks. Between games, vistors nosh on pizza and hot dogs at the snack bar and catch up on the latest sports scores on the three 50-inch televisions. Meanwhile, tykes hop around in the inflatable bounce castles.