In 1989, Young At Art began as a small, 3,200-square-foot children’s museum dedicated to shaping young minds and enriching the community through the transformative power of art. Since then, the tiny workshop has grown into a 55,000-square-foot collection of activities celebrating the diverse influences of art on our lives and imaginations, garnering a rare accreditation by the American Association of Museums for its efforts. At ArtScapes—one of the four main exhibits—kids and their parents travel through The Cave, a frantic slideshow of images conveying 5,000 years of human history, step into a replica of a New York City subway car, and view examples of graffiti as a means of creative expression against the oppressive forces of aluminum spray cans.
Elsewhere, WonderScapes transports children up to 4 years old to a world inspired by the illustrations of DeLoss McGraw, whose version of Alice in Wonderland won the Society of Illustrators Book of the Year award in 2002, and GreenScapes demonstrates the immutable intersection of art and the environment as visitors build sculptures from natural materials. Never ones to ignore their creativity, teenagers can find refuge in the Teen Center, where a graphic design lab with Mac computers and a recording studio let them convert their pre-calc homework into digital form before it’s too late.
For 17 years, Flamingo Gardens has gathered plant experts, landscapers, and other gardening connoisseurs to its annual festival. This year, the Broward Bonsai Society joins in the fun with an exhibition of the varied shapes and levels of perfection its miniature trees can hold. Displays from Alexander Farms, Greenhouse Orchids, and other vendors entice the eyes while guests wander about, taking in colorful performances from butterfly stilt-walkers and West African drummers. At the Butterfly Encounter, guests learn lepidopterist lore from expert Mike Rich while feeding live butterflies and teaching them about the updated food pyramid.
Wee ones, meanwhile, can head to the Kids Gardening Zone to decorate their own pots and plant a seed or romp through the gardens on a scavenger hunt. Plant experts also hold classes and demonstrations, including "Mounting Orchids & Basic Orchid Culture," and take guests on guided tours through the botanical gardens.
Though Elite International Dance Academy began with only a few classes and a handful of students, the studio earned a growing following with its combination of accessible instruction and enthusiastic teachers. Since its opening, the studio has tripled its curriculum to include 15 dance styles, including the hustle, fox trot, belly dancing, bachata, and salsa. Both kids and adults gather in the academy’s noncompetitive environment, where instructors teach dance steps with easy-to-follow directions. The schedule also includes summer camps and workshops, as well as Zumba classes—cardio workouts using Latin-inspired dance routines to sizzle more calories than toasting marshmallows dipped in lighter fluid.
• For $39, you get a five-class studio package including spin classes, ultimate classes, yoga-stretch classes, and the ultimate ballet-barre workout class (an $80 value). • For $49, you get a five-class Pilates-FIT package (a $105 value).
Set in The Davie Ranch's 36-stable barn, the basic party package transports children to a Wild West overrun with gangs of adorable animals. Complete with a stage, wooden picnic tables, and an iPod-ready sound system, the party room is sheltered from the rain and stocked with ceiling fans to counter the heat and thwart escaping balloons. For one of the party's two hours, children have access to unlimited pony rides and a petting zoo, where notoriously cuddly goat kids duel with piglets for young hands' attention. This Groupon can also be applied toward an upgrade to one of Davie Ranch's longer and bouncier party packages.
Ruth Ann Bradley runs The Yoga Institute of Broward with humor, compassion, and dedication, providing students of all levels with the platform to learn methods of achieving a fitter self and peace of mind. With a focus on the Iyengar method of Hatha yoga, the studio's classes concentrate on overall well being. Ruth Ann shows her students that practicing yoga improves their quality of life by building long, lean muscles as flexible as a calendar with no agenda, while also ridding the body of stress and stimulating weight loss. Whether the goal is to stand taller, bend over backward, or open a pickle jar taped to your back, The Yoga Institute of Broward offers the yoga style to do the trick.