Operated by Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, Sharks Ice skating centers professionally maintain solid-water rinks and facilities to accommodate a full range of activities. Each Friday night (7:30–9:30 p.m. in San Jose; 7:15–9:15 p.m. in Oakland) customers have full run of the centers' Olympic-sized rinks for public skating and fashionable displays of warm, Cosby-inspired outerwear. In addition to skating amenities, each Sharks Ice center features a full-service pro shop that sells NHL athletic apparel and other skate supplies and accessories. The centers also feature public snack bars and spacious public areas for socializing and frigid recitations of 18th-century Russian poetry. Sharks Ice San Jose also houses Stanley's Sports Bar, a full bar and restaurant overlooking the three rinks. Skate rental is included, but if you prefer to bring your own foot-blades, the general admission price without today's Groupon is $8, which still makes the Groupon the better deal. Hours are subject to change, so please call ahead to confirm.
On Sunday, February 24, runners get up at the crack of dawn to embark on a journey through downtown Niles, which begins at 7:30 a.m. The flat courses send participants snaking in and out of the bustling streets and along the lakes of the Bay Area burg. During both the half marathon and the 5K, supporters line the courses, cheering on the runners with shouts of encouragement and signs reminding them to never run from their problems. In the 12 weeks leading up to the races, a running coach from Stanford University leads free training sessions for runners of all levels. This helps athletes perfect their times so they can have something to celebrate at the finish-line party.
Castro Village Bowl facilitates hours of pin-felling entertainment from early morning until late in the evening. The alley hosts 32 well-maintained lanes with automatic scoring machines and bumpers for bowlers under the age of 7. In addition to open hours, Castro Village Bowl provides league opportunities for children, adults, and families, finally giving parents the perfect justification for having named their daughter "Pin Crusher." A snack bar and full-service cocktail lounge is also available to provide refreshments for postgame celebrations.
Steven Stratton Dressage and Eventing enlightens equestrians of all skill levels, imparting knowledge based on the balanced seat method. One-on-one lessons teach aspiring cowpeople to communicate effectively with their steeds without having to ask an equine daytime talk-show host to mediate. Lessons take place in a private outdoor area, where pupils learn to mount, steer, and pace their stallions effectively. Stratton’s staffers emphasize safety, tailoring all the content of their lessons to individual needs. Riders with their own horses can bring their broncos along instead of leaving them alone to play solitaire with engraved carrots.
Earl Anthony's Dublin Bowl is an homage to champion bowler Earl Anthony, a six-time PBA Player of the Year and a member of the PBA and ABC Halls of Fame. Fittingly, Anthony's namesake bowling alley takes the sport as seriously as he did—it features 40 championship lanes, each equipped with Brunswick Vector automatic scoring to prevent players from having to borrow their neighbors' fingers and toes for adding purposes. In between games, players can wet their lips in the full-service bar, chow down on pizzas and sandwiches at the snack bar, and catch the game on the lounge's big screen TV. And, on Saturday nights, the lights drop and lasers flare during Solar Extreme bowl, a cosmic event that features a light show with music and videos, and rages until 1:30 a.m.