Each year, Yorba Linda's most menacing demons prowl The Cemetery of Lost Souls for four horrible nights. Normally a peaceful martial-arts school known as the United Studios of Self Defense, the dojo suddenly transforms in the fall, its corridors echoing with the shrieks of ghosts just learning that The Karate Kid had multiple sequels. Courageous visitors can brave the bloody spectacle during the house's Scream Time hours or experience a less-startling version during a family-friendly hour. After enduring the thrills, survivors can shake off their goose bumps with attractions such as music, food, bounce houses, and laser tag.
PickUp USA takes the infamous pitfalls of pickup basketball—uneven teams, sloppy play, and incessant arguing over fouls and whose mama gives the best hugs—and replaces them with officiated and organized game play without the restrictions of a league. Its members hit the courts in a pristine 17,000-square-foot space, which features a lounge, a stretching area, and courts built by the designers who create them for the NCAA and NBA. Here, California Basketball Officials Association–trained referees officiate one-on-one to five-on-five games every day and night of the year. Though they are unscheduled, the matchups unfold in an organized, staff-guided fashion, a scoreboard keeps track of points, and a constantly running clock keeps games rotating.
The instructors at California Survival School impart decades of wilderness-survival know-how during outdoor, hands-on courses. Participants prepare themselves to live self sufficiently off the land using both modern and primitive techniques, which can come in handy when lost in the woods or the year 1412. During the Core Survival Skills Adventure Clinic, up to 30 students spend five hours learning to create fire using only sticks, build shelters with natural materials, purify water, and feed themselves off the land. The Ancient Artisans Workshop teaches novices how to fashion crude implements from scratch with materials found in nature, and how to use them while out in the wilderness. California Survival School also offers team-building workshops and private events.
Giant Paintball's five locations spider across Southern California, causing flickering rainbows of color that splatter players failing to find cover. Shelter such as castle walls or Old West storefronts dot fields at the Alpine and Lakeside locations, and in Bellflower, Hollywood Sports places players in a 23-acre universe populated with authentic movie sets from the likes of Starship Troopers and Godzilla. At SC Village in Chino, camouflaged paintballers trek through 25 fields of jungle and desert landscape, popping off rounds from behind mesh-covered tanks and army-green helicopters. The wide open battle zones of California Paintball Park in Castaic, meanwhile, challenges competitors' long-distance sharpshooting as they navigate gigantic wooden spindles and wooden forts.
At each of Giant Paintball's sprawling venues, teams rent gear such as Tippmann guns and buy battle-proven equipment at their pro shops. Players also engage in airsoft matches—a game that uses plastic BBs instead of paintballs–at the Hollywood Sports and SC Village locations. Rock climbing, BMX racing, indoor soccer, a two-story arcade, a restaurant, and other athletic diversions can also be found at Hollywood Sports enormous entertainment complex.
Epic voyaging need not be reserved for classical heroes who speak in dactylic hexameter. Just as Odysseus slayed the hurricane from aboard his inflatable raft, you too can conquer vengeful waters with today's Groupon to Gold Rush Whitewater Rafting. For just $50, you'll go on a heart-pumping, rapid-raging tour of the South Fork of the American River (44% off a $90 value).
Throughout Los Angeles, children as young as 2 are honing coordination, social skills, and other life essentials in Super Soccer Stars LA's kid-friendly camps. Each age-specific session is based on curricula designed by both soccer experts and early childhood and behavioral specialists in order to grant little ones with a fun and well-rounded experience in each drill they run and game they play. From dribbling and passing to more general principles such as teamwork, campers will learn skills that will help them succeed beyond the soccer field in the classroom, on the playground, and in the ball-kicking portion of state standardized tests. At the end of each camp day, children show off their new abilities by competing in a mini World Cup.
Inside a cavernous gym with aquamarine floors divvied up by clean white lines, badminton devotees thwack shuttlecocks over taut nets. Arcadia Badminton Club’s facilities boast 17 Olympic standard badminton courts, along with amenities such as three ping-pong tables, a lounge, and men’s and women’s showers. Players can load up on gear at the pro shop or stop by the café to strain tea with a racket.