The 105-acre Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium entertains and educates visitors on a 105-acre plot peppered with native wildlife, an educational museum, and three trails snaking through natural habitats. Museum guests learn about the natural world as they commune with captive animals and plants, including native butterflies and a variety of tree frogs. An Audubon aviary houses injured hawks, vultures, and owls, as well as bald eagles preening for guests during breaks from modeling gigs for the quarter and $1 bill. Outside, guests can stroll along nature trails on the center’s grounds to spot all kinds of native plants and wildlife, and the Big Cypress Swamp Boardwalk allows explorers with wheelchairs or strollers to glide along stable paths. Sit back and stare up at the Media Globe dome theater's screen and learn the universe’s best-kept secrets under a breathtaking view of the stars.
Casinos and cocktails usually go hand in hand, so National Bartenders and Casino School took the natural next step by creating a place where students could learn about both under the same roof. Aspiring mixologists earn their certifications at professional bartending classes helmed by expert bartenders who combine lectures with hands-on instruction behind their fully equipped bar. They also lead TIPS certification, which teaches students to identify potential alcohol-related problems such as underage drinking and drunk driving. The school’s complimentary post-graduation employment assistance has helped past students land jobs at hotels, casinos, resorts, nightclubs, country clubs, and after-hours teachers' lounges. National Bartenders and Casino School also teaches card sharks the basics of Texas hold'em, stud, omaha, tournament poker, and other styles of gaming during their Poker Dealer program. They prepare students for pre-employment auditions at casinos, and also outfit them with the basic skills needed to run pub poker and charity events.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire - Fort Myers, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form using their expert eyes. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic Waltz and Foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of Salsa, Swing, or Samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction and demonstrations.
For more than 10 years, Germain Arena's hockey and figure-skating coaches have nurtured athletes on the ice of the facility's 200'x85' twin rinks. During eight-week programs, the coaching staff helps groups of up to 10 students grow comfortable standing, falling, and gliding on skates before tackling fundamentals in U.S. figure skating, synchronized skating, or ice dancing. For hockey hopefuls, they teach passing, stick handling, and backhand sweep passes, and each student receives a jersey and a pass that may be redeemed for public skate admission.
Inside the 7,100-seat main arena, advanced skaters and players face off in figure-skating competitions, hockey tournaments, and Florida Everblades matches. Leisurely skating commences at daily open skates––where a disco ball and laser show cast the rink aglow against the thumping beats of Top 20 songs––and at birthday parties. Birthday parties can be held for parties of 8 or more, includes admission, skate rental, pizza, popcorn, drinks, private-room rental for the entire session, and a free skate admission for every child.
Vertical enthusiasts test their anti-gravity gumption against Red Dragon’s 14'x14' climbing wall during open-climb sessions six days a week. Divided into three sections for beginner, intermediate, and advanced scrabblers, the multifaceted wall can introduce an element of danger to first dates or partnered physics study sessions. After an experienced instructor explains safety precautions and basic belaying techniques, each novice scaler straps into a rental harness before going aloft to explore myriad handholds and footholds. Alternatively, a 6'x16' roof section challenges more advanced grips, while bouldering courses and a wall-to-ceiling climbing rope help mix up routines for regular customers or easily bored spiders.