Marino Dance Club founders Cindie and Jose Marino each bring more than 28 years of experience to the dance floor as they edify couples, kids, or solo dancers in the art of ballroom dance. Students can bring a partner or meet someone new in the intimate studio characterized by warmly painted walls and lighting that turns down when the music comes up or multiple microwaves are used at once. Group or private lessons cover the fundamental steps, spins, and transitions of styles such as the waltz, tango, and cha-cha, and practice parties provide a social gathering to try out newly acquired skill sets. Twice a year, Marino Dance Club invites its student body to the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Orlando to showcase their talents with freestyle dances and solo exhibitions in front of a panel of judges and an enthusiastic audience.
The 18-hole course at Winter Pines Golf Club was first drawn up in 1968, and continues to surround golfers in a Technicolor terrarium marked by brightly flowered landscapes and deep emerald turf as it celebrates its 45th birthday. The front nine presents a traditional, par 36 layout that stretches to 3,026 yards, complete with two par 5s just upwards of 470 yards apiece but still well southwards of the 100,000-yard distance at which holes can apply for statehood. Golfers having trouble with the par 5s will find a respite on a par 31 back nine stocked with five par 3s—including four in a row from holes 14 through 17. Those hoping that these indicate can-of-corn iron shots and no-hands aces will come to a rude awakening, however, when they find themselves staring down tee shots of more than 210 yards on holes 12, 15, and 17.
You don’t have to be a professional boxer to benefit from boxing training. In fact, many of the athletes who've trained at Gym Rat Boxing & Fitness have been your run-of-the-mill pro basketball players. Coach Todd’s dynamic, results-driven regimen helps people of all fitness levels—from all-stars to amateurs—attain a wide array of fitness goals without resorting to repetitive gym routines. Instructors use cardio-boosting calisthenics, footwork training, and shadowboxing techniques to help students lose weight and build muscle tone over time. Classes cover basic striking skills as students launch flurries of jabs and crosses at speed bags and heavy bags stuffed with the shirts of high-school bullies. Outside the ring, the gym offers personal-training sessions and intensive boot camps as well as access to the facility's free weights and cardio equipment.
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.
While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
Designed by prolific course architect William W. Amick, Fairways Golf Club's par 70 course takes golfers careening across 18 holes of pristine Florida landscape. Though it has a relatively short layout, the course compensates for its diminutive length with winding fairways flanked by multiple water hazards, where a tribe of merpeople raises sunken golf balls as their own. Expansive bunkers populate the course's fairways and fringes, their dazzling white sands further shrinking golf balls' safe landing zones and attracting droves of disoriented sunbathers. Along with its fun but challenging course, the club promotes score-shaving practice with an onsite driving range and peddles stylish birdie-hunting apparel and accessories at the pro shop.