Just off the white-sand coastline of northwest Florida, Lanier Sailing Academy teaches students to captain their own aquatic adventures with classes in cruising, chartering, and navigation. Classes include programs for beginners to advanced students, starting with the Practical Sailing for Basic Keelboat Certification course, in which novice navigators learn to steer boats, trim sails, and avoid swashbuckling sea otters. While working toward certification in various programs, students explore the Intracoastal Waterway and its bounty of dolphins, rays, blue pelicans, and myriad fish. Lanier Sailing Academy’s experienced members earn membership into the Buccaneer Sailing Club and are able to rent and sail 22- to 25-foot boats at their leisure.
Alongside its Mediterranean platters, Jordan Valley Restaurant serves up ample hospitality. The restaurant strives to be a social space where friends and new acquaintances can mingle amongst Middle Eastern spices, or chat on the porch over hookahs. The kitchen’s staples include kebabs, gyros, and a variety of pitas filled with kafta, tandoori chicken, or meatballs.
Historic Pensacola Village opens a window into the 19th century through 27 faithfully maintained properties and museums brimming with cultural artifacts. Pass holders can explore 11 historically rich facilities and embark upon daily tours chronicling the Victorian-style 1871 Dorr House, the 1832 Old Christ Church—one of the oldest churches in Florida—and the 1825 Department of Equine Vehicles, guarded by vengeful spirits still waiting to renew their carriage licenses. A trio of museums including the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum display paintings by local artists and Civil War–era artifacts, and the Discovery Gallery welcomes children ages 4–8 to explore a recreated trade store, colonial house, and ship.
Led by phantasm fanatic Pattie Krakowski, Pensacola introduces audiences to the Seville Quarter’s eerie history with stories gathered from employees past and present. Tour-goers assuage moaning stomachs with an optional snack at the Quarter's Palace Café (available for an additional fee), after which their costumed guide materializes to lead them through the haunted habitations of the Seville Quarter, even those normally closed to the living public. In each room, Krakowski will share chilling tales told directly to her by both former and current building employees and a tattling Haley Joel Osment. Attendees can fill brain caves with facts about the quarter’s architecture and antique furnishings while keeping eyes peeled for occasional unexplained phenomena, such as alley cats that can succinctly explain current tax regulations.
Pensacola's oldest surviving house located on its original site, the Quina House was built in 1810. The shingled-frame cottage was made of local pine, cypress, and oak with a double-fire chimney, butterfly roof, and a portico with columnettes. Its namesake, Desiderio Quina, bought the house in 1821, had seven children with his wife, Margarita Bauve, and ran an apothecary business. In the same year, the Spanish Floridas were incorporated into the United States of America⎯the official event was presided over by Andrew Jackson just a few blocks from the Quinas’ front porch. Desiderio and Margarita’s presence remains in the house today in their historical furnishings, which include a horse-hair sofa and a sleigh bed from 1830. Today, the Quina House Museum sponsors date-night house tours, monthly luncheons, and walking tours of the Seville Square Historic District so that visitors can experience life before fruit roll-ups.
Children at a birthday party with Nonie's Ark Animal Encounters might get to meet Jimmy, Jack, or Jill—but despite their deceptively human names, these guests are actually exotic animals. A naturalist and wildlife educator with a background in zoo-animal technology, Nonie encourages kids touch and sometimes hold live animals such as snakes, toads, chinchillas, and sugar gliders during hands-on interactive and educational presentations. Nonie has adopted and cared for each of these creatures, many of which were formerly unwanted pets. At some parties, Nonie also leads children in animal role-playing games like eating dirt cake and worms and doles out goodies such as safari helmets and outdoor toys.