The 18 holes of the semi-private Bonaventure Country Club follow along the edge of the Everglades, a human challenge laid out in the middle of an untamed wonderland of mangroves, palms, and wildlife. Golfers traverse TifEagle Bermuda greens dotted with scenic challenges, including freshwater lakes and a par 3 hole situated next to an actual waterfall. On a given outing, they might run into director of golf and PGA-certified instructor Bob Mallek, who helps students improve their game through a combination of analysis and intuition. In addition to his duties at the course, Mallek is also active in the regional golf scene, serving as president of the southern chapter of the South Florida PGA.
In addition to a tranquil-yet-challenging course and expert instruction, Bonaventure Country Club also sports amenities for golfers and civilians alike. The club's recent renovations gave complete makeovers to the driving range and clubhouse, which frequently hosts events from weddings and quinceaneras to reunions to retreats. Visitors can also extend their stays at the adjacent Bonaventure Resort & Spa, which boasts 500 rooms and a four-diamond rating from AAA.
Upon entering The Native Village, before you even spot a loitering tortoise or run your finger across the scales of a baby alligator, you'll catch a whiff of wood fire. That scent acts as a drifting reminder of the village's purpose, which is to give visitors a glimpse into how the Seminoles lived in the Everglades during the early 1900s.
For more than 30 years, The Native Village has educated guests with guided tours and live demonstrations of gator wrestling and snake handling. Today, you can stop by the property's Big Oak habitat, where alligators, caimans, and crocodiles live side by side and, consequently, have to share the same tube of toothpaste. At the Gator Hole, Lunge?a 13-foot, 1,000-pound bull alligator?stuns onlookers but doesn't faze the wrestlers wrangling him into submission with their bare hands. But the village is home to cute creatures, too. You can get your daily dose of awws by visiting Chain Saw the prairie dog, Ghost the fox, and a whole roster of other mammals, reptiles, fish, and fowl that lived alongside the early 20th-century Seminoles.
With hands gripped to the wheels of karts capable of cresting 45 miles per hour, up to 12 racers hum around the hairpin turns and straightaways of K1 Speed's indoor track during adrenaline-spiking sprints toward the podium. This brand of excitement can be found at all 20+ locations, where racers eschew the fumes and inflammatory skywriting of gas kart exhaust for European, eco-friendly electric karts designed to instantly accelerate out of curves, which are bordered by safety barriers that absorb impacts.
Boasting an 8,000 square foot indoor facility, Zippy Rides Jumping Gym enchants children with its vast assortment of inflatables, climbing structures, playground equipment, and party packages. Overseen by Zippy Rides Jumping Gym's friendly personnel, a plethora of party packages enlivens celebrations with pizza feasts and face-painting sessions held between rides down the zip line or romps through the ball pit. Zippy Rides Jumping Gym also educates youngsters with a variety of interactive classes, including newborn speech and language development sessions, art activities, and music lessons unearthing the sociopolitical implications in "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
A tree is something you might not expect to see inside a bar. But Mystic Water Kava Bar has one?and it's everywhere. Every look around yields views of the sculpted banyan tree's gnarled branches and roots tracing along the interior, giving the space the feel of being underground or in a secret lair. And the signature drink is just as unique. Kava, a traditional Polynesian drink said to have soothing properties, is served in a large bowl with small coconut shells that are used to dip into the concoction and to sip from. Beyond the drink's relaxing ways, the whole place feels like a haven for unwinding, with live funk and soul groups performing regularly, a yoga studio on premises, and plenty of space to let loose or meet up with your friend with the really calming voice.
Lifelong dancer Carmen Garson chose the goddess as the symbol of her fitness studio and boutique because it represents a loving, feminine energy. She aims to channel that energy throughout each of her belly-dancing, flamenco, Bollywood, African-dance, and yoga classes, helping earn her establishment the Hollywood Gazette?s Best Place for Yoga award. Within the wood-floored studio decked out with creations by local artists, she and her team host 33 dance and fitness classes a week.
Garson also opens her space for monthly art and poetry events where women come to share their creativity and boast about how many arms their inner goddesses have. She stocks the on-site boutique with exotic clothing and jewelry, as well as with spiritual books, essential oils candles, and incense.