Just across the bridge but worlds away, there’s a kid’s camp in a lovely setting that features horses at the core, but also brings a bit of Disneyland to the area. Bella Oaks Stables is a ranch that offers 17 different camps for kids ages 3½ to 15, including the popular Indiana Jones camp. Based on a similar theme to the movie, kids search for lost treasure. Along the way, archaeology, adventure and mystery are incorporated into learning about such dangers as poisonous plants, snakes and spiders; while campers also navigate an obstacle course, conquer brain teasers and gain skills during their trek.
Tucked into the hillside just minutes from downtown Martinez, Bella Oaks Stables is across the street from the northern end of Briones Regional Park, giving riders access to the park’s many trails. The setting is idyllic— large oak trees shade a meticulously-kept facility for the camps, riding lessons, swim lessons, homework club and other programs; and the ranches’ horses, chickens, rabbits and goats. Bella Oaks also offers vaulting dressage, the equestrian sport of combining horseback riding with gymnastics (yes, that’s gymnastics on HORSEBACK.)
The camp works with Girl Scouts on merit badges; and Foster a Dream Foundation. Bella Oaks Stables, 120 Vaca Creek Way, Martinez CA, 94553. www.bellaoaksstables.com, 925.229.2171.