The 105-acre Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium entertains and educates visitors on a 105-acre plot peppered with native wildlife, an educational museum, and three trails snaking through natural habitats. Museum guests learn about the natural world as they commune with captive animals and plants, including native butterflies and a variety of tree frogs. An Audubon aviary houses injured hawks, vultures, and owls, as well as bald eagles preening for guests during breaks from modeling gigs for the quarter and $1 bill. Outside, guests can stroll along nature trails on the center’s grounds to spot all kinds of native plants and wildlife, and the Big Cypress Swamp Boardwalk allows explorers with wheelchairs or strollers to glide along stable paths. Sit back and stare up at the Media Globe dome theater's screen and learn the universe’s best-kept secrets under a breathtaking view of the stars.
Casinos and cocktails usually go hand in hand, so National Bartenders and Casino School took the natural next step by creating a place where students could learn about both under the same roof. Aspiring mixologists earn their certifications at professional bartending classes helmed by expert bartenders who combine lectures with hands-on instruction behind their fully equipped bar. They also lead TIPS certification, which teaches students to identify potential alcohol-related problems such as underage drinking and drunk driving. The school’s complimentary post-graduation employment assistance has helped past students land jobs at hotels, casinos, resorts, nightclubs, country clubs, and after-hours teachers' lounges. National Bartenders and Casino School also teaches card sharks the basics of Texas hold'em, stud, omaha, tournament poker, and other styles of gaming during their Poker Dealer program. They prepare students for pre-employment auditions at casinos, and also outfit them with the basic skills needed to run pub poker and charity events.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire - Fort Myers, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form using their expert eyes. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic Waltz and Foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of Salsa, Swing, or Samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction and demonstrations.
Before finding her calling as a yoga instructor, Sylvia taught biology, Earth science, and general science for more than 25 years. Throughout her years in the classroom, she practiced yoga as a way to calm her mind and balance her body. In 2005, she switched gears—she trained for more than 1,000 hours and earned her E-RYT 500 certification. She specializes in Kripalu-style mindfulness yoga, which emphasizes self-acceptance and consciousness of the interplay between life and yoga. Although she primarily teaches multi-level classes, some sessions, such as chair or adaptive yoga, are intentionally geared toward those with limited mobility. At the beginning of class, she occasionally reads inspirational passages or practices levitation.
Al Herrera is no stranger to cycling. Before founding EA Bicycles, he not only established several bike shops in Colombia, but also raced for the Colombian BMX cycling team and trained with the Colombian road bike team. His enthusiasm for the sport is almost palpable, with many of his clients stopping by the shop just for some friendly advice. They also show up to purchase bikes by brands such as Pinarello, Raleigh, and Lynskey, and drop off their current rides for one of three tune-up packages.
It’s not uncommon to stumble upon fake alligators as you make your way around a mini-golf course. But at Smugglers Cove's locations, live American alligators snap their jaws in exhibits nestled amid the miniature fairways. With an old-fashioned bamboo pole players can dangle a treat above 20–50 of the predatory alligators, which leap from the water to snatch their treat. Between feeding frenzies, games take place on Smugglers Cove’s 18-hole outdoor courses, where balls roll past rushing waterfalls, into caves, over mountainous terrain, and into a hole in a pirate ship.