Unlike many big-box gyms, Club II has the whole family in mind. In addition to offering fitness services and health coaching for grownups, they host youth camps and daycare services for the kids. They up the ante with tennis and swim lessons, as well as social activities.
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.
For Captain Chris Williams and the Fish Happens Charters staff, spending a day at the office means bobbing across Pensacola Bay's emerald-green waters, past the area's sugar-white sand beaches. It's a gig that has its perks, and one that Chris and his crew are passionate about sharing. They do so by specializing in light tackle fishing with artificial bait, leading anglers out in search of everything from king mackerel and red snapper to much larger targets, including sharks. For the less adventurous, Fish Happens also offers family sightseeing tours, which showcase the area's million-dollar private homes which sound like the ocean when you hold your ear to their mailboxes.
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.
Wahoo Watersports sets up its clients with jet skis and pontoons at its perch on the Cotton Bayou, and then waves goodbye as they make hay for the open waters of the Gulf. Jet Skiers can spend the day picking and choosing which waters to shred or follow a predetermined route that will bring them up close with dolphins frolicking in their marine habitat. Customers can also charter a fishing boat and enjoy the private attention of a pro fisherman, who points out the best spots to drop a line and cleans the catch for free at the end of the trip.