The instructors at Perfect Balance Fitness & Martial Arts Training strive to create a happy marriage between Eastern and Western philosophies. Master Al Agon draws from the discipline and fitness ideals of ancient martial arts techniques and modernizes them with instruction tailored to help kids build discipline and focus in school and professionals cope with stresses at work. To earn a black belt, students must exhibit devotion not only at the gym but also in other important aspects of life, such as relationships and school work, striving toward a lifetime of fitness and overall contentment. In addition to the martial arts program, the venue also hosts intense kickboxing classes in which students pummel punching bags until they agree to share the secrets of withstanding a pummeling. One-on-one personal training sessions also adhere to Agon's training philosophy and are tailored to help clients meet their individual wellness goals.
Splitsville explores contemporary consumption within a bowling framework, combining swankiness with three bars, and a full-service restaurant. Splitsville’s menu, developed under the guidance of one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs of 2008 Tim Cushman, stacks up and knocks down a cadre of ville plates ($5–$14) including spicy edamame and three-pepper calamari, stomach-stuffing signature plates ($14–$19) including the mahi mahi with voodoo shrimp and filet mignon, and big bowl drinks ($21) including the rum bowl and voodoo juice bowl. Diners sprinkle the restaurant with chatter as they dive into their choice of sauced steaks, generous pizzas, and rolls from the on-site sushi bar to the musical vibrations blowing from the speakers. After 8 p.m., all diners younger than 21 turn into pumpkin-shaped bowling balls and the fine hobby-sport decorum requests an evening-casual dress code as the crowd usurps the restaurant’s reins for nocturnal nourishment with energetic music.
Recognizing the interdependence of fitness and martial arts, Thump Fight Gym & Fitness Center married the two, inspiring patrons of all ability levels to hone their combat skills while making strides toward an overall healthier lifestyle. The trainers and certified exercise physiologists lead martial-arts classes including boxing, muay thai, and jujitsu, challenging fighters to face off in the regulation-size boxing ring or the half cage—which has proven inadequate for housing feral exercise bikes. During each class, students burn calories and learn practical and potentially lifesaving self-defense skills. To supplement the combat training, the instructors also lead yoga and Pilates classes, spinning, kettlebell training, and CrossFit classes. The gym also accommodates solo workout routines with a weight-training zone and functional fitness equipment such as oversize tires and climbing ropes.
Everything changed for Peru on July 28, 1821, when South American leader Jose de San Martin declared independence from Spain. A three-year struggle ensued, but Peru's freedom was solidified in December of 1824, when Venezuelan Marshall Antonio Jose de Sucre defeated a Spanish army at Ayacucho and ended Spain's South American rule.
In Miami, this celebration of Peruvian pride takes the form of the Peruvian Independence Day Festival. This annual event brings together the Peruvian-American community and the city at large for a weekend of music, dance, and art. Visitors groove to the infectious rhythms of merengue, salsa, and cumbia from live bands such as the Javier Mereno, Jr. Latin Band and Nando y su Banda Digital, along with the dance music that naturally emanates from fresh ceviche.
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Since 1938, the keepers of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden have cultivated more than 85 acres of floral displays with a mixture of science and art. The gardens are lush with plants valuable to scientists and educators, and the tropical landscapes designed by William Lyman Phillips are like ever-evolving canvases, blooming and fading as the seasons change. Most of the palms, cycads, flowering trees, and vines were collected from the wild, but the grounds also harbor endangered plant species.
Guides give English and Spanish tram tours as well as walking tours through specific parts of the gardens, or visitors can explore the displays at their leisure, wandering through the 16,428-square foot two-level Tropical Plant Conservatory exhibit, which blooms with orchids, fruit trees, and rare palms. Cascading waterfalls punctuate the stream flowing through the 2-acre Richard H. Simons Rainforest, where visitors admire the diverse plant life and reflect on the worldwide threat of rapidly vanishing rainforests. The Wings of the Tropics exhibit features thousands of exotic butterflies with tropical fish and rare plant life. Butterflies are released twice daily and the Butterfly Metamorphosis Lab lets kids experience them up close. The water gardens combine tranquility pools with waterfalls, sculpture, and lily pads to evoke a sense of calm.