If you part the branches of Mixon Fruit Farms? citrus trees, you might spy an unusual sight: Burmese pythons, an alligator, a crocodile, and African land tortoises basking in the sunlight, surrounded by cages of roosting falcons.
The farm that began in 1939 as a 20-acre roadside fruit stand has stayed true to citrus farmer Willy Mixon?s vision of showcasing the region?s natural splendor. But in addition to an extra 50 acres of fruit trees, the farm has expanded its focus to include a wildlife refuge, where rescue volunteers nurse injured animals back to health and educate visitors on native and exotic species. The farm also hosts an on-site tropical garden along with dazzling koi ponds, and has a magical maze open to kids of all ages.
Along with daily tours of the grove and sanctuary, Mixon Fruit Farms also spotlights Florida?s bounty with citrus-infused ice cream and salads at Groveside Caf?. Homemade fudge and orange juice also populate the 14,000-square-foot gift shop
Potential major-league stars launch heaven-bound baseballs toward the outfield and paint home plate with pitches all summer long for the Bradenton Marauders, the Class-A-Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team hopes to sail past competition, buoyed by the skills of fastball-slinger Kyle McPherson and slugger Jarek Cunningham, who through June 5 has 11 home runs, one for each of Abraham Lincoln's toes. Hungry fans can barter Buc's Bucks for ballpark eats between innings and treat stomachs to a classic grandstand dinner of hot dogs and fries.
The certified instructors at Scuba Bill's Aquatic Adventures guide students through a slew of advanced diving classes as well as specialty courses in spear fishing and rescue diving. They even organize trips to exotic locales, where students can put their skills to use while diving through some of the world's most beautiful underwater scenery.
Family pictures hang from exposed brick walls inside the dining room at Gio Fabulous, making it feel like you've been invited into someone's Italian kitchen. The pizzeria is one of four restaurants owned by the Gio brothers, who got their start more than two decades ago, selling home-baked bread to local restaurants. Today, it's the restaurants pizza crust recipe that takes center stage. The dough is made fresh each day, hand-tossed, and topped with fresh mozzarella, chunky tomatoes, Parma prosciutto, and more. Their authentic Italian dishes also include housemade gnocchi bolognese and spaghetti frutta di mare tossed in white wine sauce. Their culinary expertise helps them curate a wine and dessert list worthy of such entrees.
Since its inception in 1964 as a partnership between circus artists, The Showfolks Club of Sarasota has blossomed into a multifaceted entertainment organization. This year, the club continues to beguile eyes of all ages with its 44th annual circus, which has become a familiar destination for Sarasota families and vagabond balloon animals alike. Guests can bask in synchronized exhalations as flying trapeze artists, acrobats, and aerialists rebel against basic physics and jugglers coax uproarious applause by maintaining seamless, atmospheric rotation of inanimate objects or volunteer audience members. For an extra dose of excitement, tiger tamers Juergen and Judit Nerger will be on hand to display their uniquely white feline counterparts.
The experienced instructors at Empire Ballroom Studio love to teach brand-new students. Driven by their passion for dance, they lead classes in a variety of dances—such as the waltz, tango, and swing—that can be learned in American and international styles. Students learn to dance with passion, romance, and artistry while increasing their physical fitness and expressing themselves through movement. The staff welcome both couples and single students, and they also offer lessons to prepare engaged couples for their wedding dance.