Bay Breeze Dive Center’s expert instructors attentively guide flippered pupils through scuba classes in an expansive indoor pool and the idyllic Pensacola Bay. Students submerge for one hour in the Discover Scuba class to gain a feel for aqueous activities, testing out flippers and learning how to breathe underwater without making a pact with a sea witch. Alternatively, the open-water-certification course pairs academic know-how with hands-on underwater lessons to train beginning divers in the ways of the water.
Members of Freedom Boat Club enjoy the luxury of captaining their own aquatic excursions without the maintenance and storage hassles of owning a boat. Outings begin with a boat-orientation course, during which an experienced captain teaches students key nautical skills such as tying knots, docking in the wind, and navigating by the position of a half-eaten sandwich that kind of looks like the Big Dipper. Once skippers feel comfortable commanding a water chariot, they take to the seas for a day of sailing along with up to six additional guests. With the trial membership, boaters can choose any available Hurricane deck boat, inshore fishing boat, or pontoon. Hop aboard Orange Beach's 21-foot Hurricane 2100 to cut through the water on the strength of a 150-hp engine or commandeer Perdido Key's Sweetwater 2486 pontoon boat to benefit from a deck-top canopy in the event that a witch's curse makes it rain salamanders.
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.
Sure as the rise of the twin suns above Tatooine, the Pensacola Para Con brings together fans of science fiction, horror, gaming, and anime for an annual weekend of subcultural panels and events. Celebrity guests from beloved franchises stop by to sign autographs and bask in the adoration of their fans, while industry icons talk shop about their latest invention: the two-sided die. A costume contest and parade put meticulous fan outfits in the spotlight, and replicas of such iconic items as the U.S.S. Enterprise's captain's chair and the TARDIS stand ready for photo opportunities. Throughout the weekend, the event stages host live music performances, panel discussions, and movie screenings.
With a complete line of Life Fitness and Cybex machines, the Pensacola branch of World Gym upholds the franchise's relentless tradition of providing 24/7 access to fitness. Each device in the cardio stable is hooked up to a personal cable TV and DVD set, allowing runners to finally live out their dreams of running wind sprints through aisle 7 of the electronics store. Conversely, an outdoor workout area beckons the ruggedly inclined with battling ropes and climbing stations. Instructors lead a medley of aerobics and yoga classes, and personal trainers help members to craft their own custom fitness plans.