During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
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.
For more than 10 years, Germain Arena's certified 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 weekly 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, not in the main arena, which include admission, skate rental, pizza, popcorn, private-room rental, and a free skate admission for every child.
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.
The aroma of cigars hits you as you walk into the spacious humidor. Boxes line the walls, filled with everything from Ashtons to Gurkhas and Don Pepin Garcias. This humidor is the handy work of Rich Castiano, who grew up watching his father Sal enjoy a good smoke. To share his love of cigars with others, Rich established the World Famous Cigar Bar and stocked it with the finest stogies around. He even created his own special blend in honor of Sal—the 1929 Castiano, a box-pressed cigar featuring Nicaraguan filler, a Jalapa binder, and an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
At locations in Bonita Springs and Marco Island, Drs. Fred Eck and Joseph Goth and their team deliver a generous roster of dentistry services. They examine and clean teeth during routine checkups and beautify smiles with Invisalign retainers, dental implants, and porcelain veneers that cover chipped or discolored teeth. Their cosmetic services extend beyond the mouth with Botox treatments, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines on the face for up to four months.
World Gym is a no-nonsense fat-blasting factory outfitted with more than $250,000 in brand-new equipment, a friendly staff, and professional personal trainers. Spinning classes are offered daily, and with more than 50 new spinning bikes, presenting myriad opportunities to embark on imaginary bicycle rides through the sunlit streets of Paris circa 1953. Professional trainers, such as Cathy “Cat” Griffith, winner of several NPC Women’s Figure Championships, are available to help take exercise regimes up a notch, and more than 60 cardio machines, circuit equipment, and a garden of free weights round out the spacious interior. Childcare is available for grandparents whose children refuse to spot for them, and weekday hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. make sure that surly early worms and coffee-jitter night hawks have equal access to the bench press.