Indio, California offers more than just festivals

From Polo, to touring a date garden, to practicing archery, there are many activities at Indio, CA

2 riders, one in yellow, the other in blue, playing polo at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.
Visitors take in a polo match at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. — Photo courtesy of Empire Polo Club

Indio, California, City of Festivals, offers more activities and reasons to celebrate than anywhere else in the state.

Empire Polo Club

Feel the excitement and cheer for your favourites at the Empire Polo Club, which hosts exciting polo matches every Sunday from January to March. The first Sunday in January is Hat Day, and visitors are encouraged to wear their most dramatic and eye-catching hat for a chance at recognition and a prize.

Adriana Navarro, assistant event coordinator, said visitors love to participate in the Champagne Divot Stomp, which takes place at each event’s halfway mark.

“Guests are welcome to grab a complimentary glass of wine and go out to stomp divots,” she said. “It’s really fun and a nice way to enjoy your visit.”

The Empire Polo Club is the only facility like it to offer golf cart polo, a unique opportunity for groups to try the game from the comfort of a player-driven cart.

“Our polo players are drivers of the cart and the guests are the players,” said Navarro. “There’s an announcer and players get a lesson before the game. It’s very easy and a lot of fun.”

Top off a visit to the club with lunch or a weekend breakfast at the Tack Room Tavern. The club also hosts yearly special events like the Celebrity Charity Match, which featured Nacho Figueras in 2013. Watch the website for the 2014 schedule of special events.

Shields Date Garden

Visit the Coachella’s oldest date garden, established in 1924 and one of only two retail date stores in the region. Take in free samples and wander the gardens to find out all there is to know about one of the region’s primary industries, which produces 95 per cent of the dates sold in the U.S.

Jessica Duenow, sales and customer service representative, invites visitors to tour the stunning grounds, which produce over 100 different types of dates, approximately 20 of which are available for purchase at the garden.

“People can walk through the back gardens and see the date palms, citrus trees, fig trees and desert plant life,” she said. “We also have statues that depict the life of Christ and a booklet that gives the background of the statues. The walk is beautiful and although it has religious affiliation, people can look at it from any perspective—man or Messiah—and enjoy the botanical aspect, too.”

The Cafe at Shields serves breakfast and lunch and offers a beautiful back patio where visitors can relax and take in the scenery. Be sure to see the continuously playing video, “The Romance and Sex Life of the Date,” created by the garden’s founder in the 1950s and revised in recent years.

Robin Hood Archery

Try your hand at archery at Robin Hood Archery, an indoor range with beginner, experienced and kids’ programs all year round. Visitors can take a drop-in beginner lesson on Saturdays or participate in the kids’ program, which meets twice per week.

Jos Jaime, manager, said the facility’s four targets hold eight in a line with up to two lines shooting at once. The average distance is 12 to 15 yards.

“Visitors can also do a private lesson,” she said. “We offer rentals or people can bring their own equipment and try out the range.”

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