As you stroll across Fruit and Spice Park's grassy fields, an occasional piece of fruit falls from a neighboring tree. But it's not an apple or a berry you can easily find in a local supermarket—rather, it may be a specimen native to the Caribbean or South America, its shape foreign to your teeth, which want so badly to bite into its juicy flesh but aren't sure how. At Fruit and Spice Park, seasoned gardeners grow abundant specimens from tropical areas around the world, including 70 kinds of bamboo, 15 types of jackfruit trees, and edibles such as Fiji longan and jaboticaba across 39 acres.
Visitors meander freely through banana groves and African baobab trees, and they can also follow a guide during tours to learn more about plant species and which fruit seeds bear an uncanny likeness to Abraham Lincoln's silhouette. Throughout strolls, guests may help themselves to any of Mother Nature's home cooking that has naturally fallen to the ground, including mangoes, dragon fruit, and papayas, or venture to the tasting table at the entryway to sample the season's bounty.
Park staffers also gather visitors for a range of events such as stargazing, outdoor festivals, and plant-use tutorials, where they divulge helpful information such as which plants are medicinal and how to play dead during tree attacks. During regular park hours, chefs at the Mango Café pile plates with casual fare, often using the park's own fruit and vegetables, and the gift shop lets guests bring home harvest jams and aromatic teas.
Since its inception in 1916, the YMCA of Greater Miami has opened its doors to whoever needed it. It welcomed African American youths during the Great Depression, hosted military personnel in the 1940s, and gave Cuban refugees a home in the 1960s. Today, it continues the tradition of depolarizing Miami's fractured populous, remaining a haven for people of all faiths, races, ages, and income. Staffers uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. YMCA of Greater Miami also raises much-needed funding for kids and families who can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
At the current locations, kids can leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to afterschool programs and day camps. Adults, meanwhile, can take Zumba, boot-camp, and aquatic fitness classes or work out within wellness centers replete with strength-training and cardio equipment. Adult basketball and indoor speed-soccer leagues further help guests flex their competitive spirits in an encouraging environment.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Flagship Cinemas showcases new-release films in 11 theaters peppered across seven states, equipping each of its 103 screens with stadium seating and digital surround sound. Beyond providing family-friendly entertainment for more than 15 years, Flagship Cinemas strives to maintain a reputation as the "neighborhood theater" by ensuring each location has a presence in its surrounding community through contributions to local organizations. Flagship Cinemas also builds camaraderie with customers by offering free birthday visits and distributing fanatic cards, which guests can use to earn rewards such as free film tickets or an autographed photo of their favorite usher.
The same mysterious force that created Stonehenge and the Mayan crop circles of Giza helped us conjure today’s Groupon: for $5, you’ll get entry to the curious creation known as the Coral Castle Museum, a $9.75 value. Children under 6 are free, and children 7 to 12 are the same as the Groupon price—$5. Singlehandedly carved from 1,100 tons of coral rock over the course of 28 years, this megalithic South Florida monument is still baffling sightseers some 60 years after its completion.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
At Family Paintball Center, players armed with rented markers storm the fields during classic games: capture the flag, elimination, and elimination’s cousin, resurrection, in which tagged players can be reborn. Separated by sky-high screens, the sprawling fields are scattered with wooden fences and spools as well as inflatable shapes that players can use to dodge incoming pellets. To make a day of it, groups can bring along food and drink, and even set up their own barbecue grill. There is also a concessions stand on-site, and local pizzerias deliver to the field, rather than just throwing their pies there Frisbee-style.