During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
At Dance Centers of Orlando, instructors work to foster an atmosphere of inclusion and support, helping kids to develop a strong sense of self-confidence to complement their fancy footwork. In each of the three studios, instructors fuse choreographed routines, dance combinations, and technical exercises into curricula focused on styles ranging from ballet and tap to hip-hop and martial arts. The studio's Marley sprung floors support little twinkle toes, helping to prevent injury. As the youths hone their skills, their parents can observe their progress on closed-circuit TVs or search the web via free WiFi to find the best ways to make nutcrackers come to life.
The gym looks like equal parts Olympic training facility and old warehouse—here, exercisers hoist themselves up rows of pull-up bars, grunt around a collection of kettlebells, and hop through jump-rope routines. On a power-lifting platform, a lifter explodes from a squat, hoisting a plate-loaded bar up to his shoulders and then dropping under it to catch the weight over his head. Elsewhere, athletes do dips on gymnast rings and build a sweat on rowing machines.
This low-tech setting is typical of all true CrossFit gyms. Though the equipment may be basic, the results are not: CrossFit workouts develop all measures of physical fitness—from power to cardiovascular endurance—through workouts that are broad, general, and inclusive. This approach is often described as specializing in not specializing: it develops physical fitness in ways equally beneficial to everyone, from professional mixed martial artists and police officers to weekend softball players.
CrossFit gyms typically start clients in a foundational program where trainers teach the basic movements, such as the squat, dead lift, and pull-up. Every exercise is scalable to a version that clients can complete—a pull-up, for example, can be scaled back to a negative pull-up, a static hang, or body-weight row with gymnast rings. It can also be scaled to a more challenging version, such as the kipped pull-up. After students learn CrossFit's basic movements, they move on to open group classes, which follow the ever-changing WOD, or Workout of the Day. These workouts are short and intense, and they foster camaraderie through frequent team circuits. In addition to supervising WOD class, trainers coach members on nutrition, advocating a caveman-style diet of low-glycemic carbohydrates, monounsaturated fats, and lean proteins such as raptor meat.
The area’s newest comedy club, Bonkerz facilitates human laughter with a changing lineup of jokesters whose hijinks have appeared on Comedy Central, CBS, and HBO. Cackle at the self-deprecating humor and collection of medieval whoopee cushions of Dave Williamson—Bonkerz’s featured comedian, who has earned high ranks in national comedy competitions and opened for renowned funnymen such as Gilbert Gottfried, Jimmy Fallon, and Christopher Titus. Other performers include former marine biologist Forrest Shaw, master of sarcasm Pedro Lima, and Erik Myers, known for his machine-gun-like delivery. During the performance, patrons can transform belly grumbles into belly laughs with award-winning Cuban-Thai fusion cooking, or use their drinks to see who can do the fastest spit-take (food and drink are not included in this Groupon).
Rock ‘n’ roll legend Dave Mason, a songwriting hero and inspiration to generations of guitarists, struts his six-string skills in a feisty evening of pure classic rock. From conducting the seminal band Traffic, exploring the paisley galaxies with Jimi Hendrix, and coaching Fleetwood Mac through Lamaze, Mason’s frenetic fret skills and pub keeper’s lilt have kept rock ‘n’ roll’s spine aligned for decades. During a rare live appearance, fans will rejoice as Dave plays evidence of his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inauguration, including hits such as “All Along the Watchtower,” “Feelin’ Alright,” and the therapeutic top 10 smash, “We Just Disagree,” which lowered the divorce rate in 1977.
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