The two founders of Aquachild Swim School—Scott Launer and Brian Lilburn—came to embrace aquatic education through disparate means. When Scott took his then 2-year-old daughter, Jaya, to swim lessons, he was amazed to see 10-month-old babies floating on their own and began his journey to becoming a youth swim instructor. Brian, who nearly drowned in a backyard pool as a toddler, learned to love the water rather than fear it after his mom enrolled him in swim lessons. Scotty and Brian now share their life-saving knowledge alongside a staff of instructors that are all certified in water safety, first aid, and CPR.
Through Aquachild Swim School’s specially designed lessons, infants as young as 10 months learn to roll from facedown positions to back floats where they can breathe easily, and 1-year-old students begin to swim with their heads down, then twist onto their backs for air. As kids progress, they learn the four major strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly), brush up on the basics to keep them confident, or start snorkeling. The instructors lead adult lessons to help older students learn how to paddle at pool parties or triumphantly retrieve their boss’s golf ball from a green’s lagoon during corporate outings.
CitySightSeeing Miami encourages tourists not just to see the sights around them, but also to explore them. Professional multilingual guides educate tourists on historical facts and fun city locations, leaving visitors with a deeper knowledge about Miami. When the urge strikes to linger at a tour stop, guests can hop off their double-decker buses and roam alone. Throughout the day, more buses arrive at each stop in intervals to pick up wandering customers and continue their tours while pairing them once again with the bus’s free WiFi and interior AC.
Since 1984, swim gym has work towards one goal: to maximize pool safety by making people comfortable in the water. Since splashing onto the scene, the facility has schooled more than 45,000 students—most of whom happen to have feet instead of flippers. Coach and director Robert Strauss leads the facility's efforts, having taught in Miami himself since 1973. But these days, swim gym spreads its teachings across a trio of South Florida locations, where students of all ages can boost their floatability during group or private lessons and fitness classes, such as Waterobics and Aqua Zumba.
At Baby Otter Swim School, a team of nationally certified instructors demystifies the water for infants and adults alike, thwarting tragedy with techniques for lifelong safety. After raising their own children to fear neither pools nor natural bodies of water, owners Mindy and Marlene pioneered their flagship Turn, Kick, Reach program—a method that teaches children 10 months and older how to handle a spill into the water—as a tool for preventing drowning. For other classes, they follow a five-day model that demonstrates basic and advanced aquatic skills, such as mastering strokes or putting out fires with nothing more than a drinking straw, a glass of water, and elbow grease. Their curriculum has helped firefighter and police cadets, three-month-old babies, senior citizens, and celebrities. Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson grew so enamored of the program after it taught him to swim that he became the school's spokesperson and set out on a water-safety campaign featured in the Sun Sentinel. Gwyneth Paltrow has also praised the instructors for the "tremendous confidence" that her daughter, Apple, gained as a result of the training.
A full service dive shop, Aquatic Ventures equips snorkelers and scuba divers with the gear, tanks, and instruction necessary to breathe underwater. Owner and dive instructor Gary Beiter has more than 40 years of teaching experience and draws upon that know-how during every lesson.
Riverside Hotel swings its doors open to the palms and porticos of Las Olas Boulevard, where a walk-through may reveal outdoor art installations or a Broadway performance. From Riverside Hotel's back steps, sojourners can book an all-day pass aboard a Water Taxi and cruise northbound on the Intracoastal Waterway or westbound on New River as it flows toward downtown Fort Lauderdale. Along the way, passengers can hop on and off at a multitude of waterfront stops, including Las Olas Riverfront at stop 11, which sits just steps from shopping, nightclubs, and the Fort Lauderdale History Center. A 10-minute walk or a 25-minute piggyback ride west along SW Second Street delivers travelers to the IMAX-outfitted Museum of Discovery and Science as well as Broward Center for the Performing Arts, a riverfront arts complex with riveting live productions and local theater performances. At the boulevard's eastern edge (nearest to Water Taxi stop 5), the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale brims with contemporary and traditional works of Caribbean, Cuban, American, and European art. To the north, the Atlantic Ocean's undulating waves lap up against miles of white sand to create Fort Lauderdale Beach, whose boardwalk bustles with outdoor entertainment and eats.