The two founders of Aquachild Swim School—Scott Launer and Brian Lilburn—came to embrace aquatic education through disparate means. When Scott took his then 2-year-old daughter, Jaya, to swim lessons, he was amazed to see 10-month-old babies floating on their own and began his journey to becoming a youth swim instructor. Brian, who nearly drowned in a backyard pool as a toddler, learned to love the water rather than fear it after his mom enrolled him in swim lessons. Scotty and Brian now share their life-saving knowledge alongside a staff of instructors that are all certified in water safety, first aid, and CPR.
Through Aquachild Swim School’s specially designed lessons, infants as young as 10 months learn to roll from facedown positions to back floats where they can breathe easily, and 1-year-old students begin to swim with their heads down, then twist onto their backs for air. As kids progress, they learn the four major strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly), brush up on the basics to keep them confident, or start snorkeling. The instructors lead adult lessons to help older students learn how to paddle at pool parties or triumphantly retrieve their boss’s golf ball from a green’s lagoon during corporate outings.
At both of its locations around Miami, Alf's Golf Shop fills golf bags with new and used equipment by top industry brands such as Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade, Nike, Ping, and Mizuno. Shelves are also stocked with apparel for men and women by brands such as Nike, Adidas, Oakley, and Lacoste. While players cruise through the showroom, sizing up drivers and counting golf balls, they can look to a knowledgeable staff and a PGA Class A Professional for help finding the right equipment. The pro also makes use of a computerized launch monitor located onsite, which adds an extra level of certainty to selections of irons, drivers, fairway woods, and wedges
H2O Dive Center—located in North Miami Beach—facilitates safe diving experiences with a staff of SSI–certified instructors, who oversee informative ocean-exploration courses and quality equipment rentals. During dips in the center's pool, professional scuba divers prep beginners for open-water dives, demonstrating properly using the equipment and techniques for luring sea turtles into pulling you ashore. Seasoned divers can further their studies during advanced diving courses or a three-part open-water certification course.
Oscar Ochoa's passion for salsa dancing sprouted at age 9, grew rapidly at age 18 when he began taking formal lessons, and blossomed at age 24 when he won first place at a salsa competition. Today, the founder of Miami Salsa Driven combines his dancing expertise with the physical discipline he's developed from years of practicing tae kwon do and Brazilian jujitsu to lead detail-oriented salsa lessons. His team puts a big emphasis on creating an environment in which beginners feel welcome and unintimidated by advanced dancers trying to show off complex moves, such as the iceless triple axel. Students have ranged from seasoned dancers to a first-timer police-department captain, who actually ended up joining a professional dance team. Located inside the Tempo Music and Dance Academy, Miami Salsa Driven's classes focus on improving students' self-confidence and fitness levels with hands-on instruction and practice. One of the studio's walls is completely covered in full-length mirrors, allowing dancers to adjust their posture to match the instructor's or enjoy uninterrupted eye contact with themselves.
The seasoned instructors of Universal Dance Studios instill students of any age with the skills to pull off a panoply of forms ranging from ballet and acro dance to jazz and hip-hop. Kids 5–7 years old can harness Creative Movement classes to find self-expression through free-form choreography in various dance styles, or take a more structured approach through the French traditions taught in Pre-Ballet sessions. Swing-dance, salsa, and ballroom lessons equip older children and adults with the steps to commandeer any dance floor or spontaneous public musical number, and students looking for more heart-pumping excitement can also bust moves in dance-inspired Zumba fitness classes.
Tee off at one of two nine-hole golf courses maintained by the Miami-Dade County Park & Recreation Department. Whether chipping onto the green at Greynolds or dodging water hazards and hazardous water monsters at Briar Bay, golfers of all experience levels can play quick, challenging rounds. Briar Bay Golf Course sprawls in all directions across 30 acres of lush greenery polka-dotted with trees and bunkers. Each year, this par 31 executive golf course serves as home for more than 40,000 rounds of golf and several hundred nighttime games of bio-sonar badminton. Greynolds Park similarly tests golfers with a par 36 course that stretches 3,100 yards from the longest tees. After matches at Greynolds, players can retire to a spacious clubhouse to tabulate scores and settle any draws with a round of rock-paper-scissors.
Big Wheel USA doesn't kid around when it comes to bikes. Its storefront showcases more than 300, each from top brands such as CamelBak and Crankbrothers. Far from limited to adult-sized bikes, Big Wheel USA stocks plenty other wheeled rides, including Trikkes, exercise bikes, and skateboards.
Don't fret if nothing in the store strikes your fancy—Big Wheel's certified mechanics can customize your very own bike, complete with as many training wheels as it takes to make you feel safe. The technicians also conduct bike fittings and repair malfunctioning parts. Big Wheel also sells plenty of bike-related shoes and apparel, and keeps patrons abreast of the latest local rides and events.