My Gym children's fitness center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 25 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. With a dedication to imparting the benefits and fun of fitness, the affable, energetic crew of teachers and supervisors at the Jacksonville branch employs their expertise in music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while simultaneously stimulating their giggleplexes. Classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 weeks—and are designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. My Gym’s curriculum includes structured classes for all developmental degrees, from Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, to Whiz Kids and Champions, classes designed for elementary-aged kids to master motor, sports, and gymnastics skills. One-hour free-play sessions enable children to engage in unstructured, parent-supervised frolics on the activity-filled premises.
Surfing savant Tiffany Layton caught her first wave more than two decades ago and has been launching her board into open waters ever since. Tiffany's pastime evolved into a way of life about six years ago when she began surfing competitively and racking up an impressive list of championship titles. It was around the same time that Tiffany became certified to teach surfing, and today she shares her knowledge of the ocean at Jax Surf & Paddle.
Tiffany and her team of talented surfers welcome pupils of all ages and skill levels, encouraging healthy lifestyles through surfing lessons and camps and standup-paddleboarding lessons. They even host surf retreats in exotic lands?the next trip journeys to Costa Rica, the famous location where the ocean made its first wave while attending a rowdy futbol game.
At Jaxtoberfest, it's easy to eat bratwurst and drink beer casually—or competitively. The German-themed festival's brat-eating contest tests participants' stomach capacity, whereas the 5K Beer Run challengs runners to down brews at "chug stations" lining the race course. Revelers can also test their wits in games of oversize beer pong, beer barrel racing, and stein hoisting. Classic Bavarian music complements the games and food, providing an ideal backdrop for chicken dancing and polka. The family-friendly event also hosts fall-themed activities for kids, such as pumpkin bowling and pumpkin painting.
For more than 50 years, bowlers have hurled balls down Beach Bowl's gleaming lanes, vying to topple over groups of unwitting pins. By day, the alleys host friendly matches and kids’ birthday parties, and by night, they light up for cosmic bowling with day-glo stripes. To bowl higher scores, competitors can lubricate their minds with cocktails from the Strike Zone Lounge, and fuel up between frames with hot and cold sandwiches and snacks at the snack bar. Afterward, players can overturn losing games with a rematch at the foosball or pool tables in the arcade.
Dick’s quickly silences grumbling bellies with a menu of tasty grilled edibles and a tongue-tingling variety of spicy twists. Fried pickles ($4.29), buffalo shrimp ($7.49), or wings in 365 available flavors ($8.99/10) engage mouths as guests wait for the main attraction—half-pound burgers, whose meatslabs are hand-pressed and grilled to order over the heat of omnipresent flame decals. Bacon, swiss, and lettuce enrobe the Squealin' Cheeser burger ($7.59), whereas sautéed mushrooms sit proudly atop the Shroomer burger ($7.59) and a trio of cheddar, american, and jack adorn the Three Cheeser ($7.59). All burgers come with a choice of steak fries or waffle fries and can be sharpened with any of Dick’s 365 sauce blends ($0.59 additional). Before strolling over to the nearby beach to squash sandcastles, diners can clog their molars with chunks of deep-fried Oreos ($3.99), a chocolate tribute to the hamburger and a smooth ending to a spicy ride.
The water-adventure lovers at Crazy Fish have expanded their waterfront activity arsenal with an airboat, taking six-to-eight gleeful guests on a one-hour guided tour with the captivating Captain Hurricane Dave. After pushing off in a bright red boat propelled by Paul Bunyan's desk fan, Captain Dave takes groups of up to eight airboat adorers on a trek through the waters, pointing out alligators, porpoises, manatees, and alligator-impersonating marsh birds along the way. Scenic views of the vibrant intracoastal waterway and the occasional eagle sighting thrill turf-dwellers and seafarers alike on this air-powered voyage.