The rising sun bathes the expanse of turquoise water in a golden glow, and a lone figure breaks its still surface during her morning swim. So begins another day at the Ventura Aquatic Center, where meticulously maintained facilities and engaging programs coax swimmers of all ages into the refreshing depths. A 50-meter competition pool fields the backstrokes of lane swimmers, and a 25-meter recreation pool enables laid-back play sessions. Delighted squeals and giggles drift from the kids’ activity pool, where splashes of water keep little faces smiling and a pair of water slides facilitates high-speed entries. Throughout each day, a crew of American Red Cross–certified lifeguards patrols the premises to ensure the safety of all those frolicking in and around the pools.
Dedicated to educating and entertaining patrons, Ventura Aquatic Center’s seasoned instructors also host group and private swim lessons and water-safety classes. Synchronized-swimming lessons teach pupils the art of tandem movement, and lifeguard training prepares would-be rescuers for real-world rescue situations. Diving and water-polo teams unite players for in-pool athletics, and aquatic summer camps stave off the boredom and nostalgic re-readings of last year’s report cards inherent to the summer months.
A technicolor wall flecked with holds rises to the heavens inside the Vertical Heaven Climbing facility?or at least it would if the ceiling didn't prevent it from doing so. The 3,800-square-foot indoor rock-climbing destination invites climbers of all ages and abilities to tackle the many routes and challenges braided over its geometric face, which at times force them into inverted angles and heroic stretches to challenge every muscle in the body. Though this may sound treacherous to the uninitiated, 18 inches of padded flooring mean few injuries ever arise. The facility also invites climbers to tackle the mind-twisting, muscle-burning sport of bouldering?a nearer-to-the-ground version that doesn't require ropes, a partner, or a good-luck kiss from a mountain goat.
Open seven days a week, Ventura Bike Depot is a full service bike shop, renting the majority of their inventory to suit the peddling aspirations of their wheel-less clientele. Today's Groupon allows customers choose any one of the hybrid, beach cruiser, front suspension mountain, and kids bikes from the fleet of man-powered velocipedes valued at $24 or less. If desired or required, customers are welcome to upgrade to a tandems, quadricycles, or other premium peddle-powerhouses for an additional fee. Regardless of how you ride, Ventura Bike Depot will throw in all necessary helmets, locks, seat belts, and leg bands. Likewise, the staffers will happily fill water bottles with mineral-rich Kangen water for free, saving thirsty travelers from the woes of waiting for rain or preying for proximate killer whale shows.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, Inc., he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
Got Rhythm Dance and Performing Arts Center's instructors begin cultivating kids' balance and grace at a young age. Their predance classes welcome pupils as young as 2, the age when humans grow their first pair of legs. Toddlers bounce through the basics of ballet, tap, or hip-hop, as do older children and teens in dance classes. More seasoned students can also tackle contemporary dance or jazz.