My Gym children's fitness center, which currently has more than 300 international locations, began more than 31 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp around. This dedication to imparting the benefits and fun of fitness still earns acclaim today; in 2014 alone, My Gym was named the best children's fitness center by Entrepreneur magazine.
My Gym's popularity stems from its signature program, which helps children from 6 weeks through 13 years of age develop their physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. This development unfolds in the centers' fun classes, which teach kids fundamental skills through music, dance, games, sports, and more. In addition to boosting physical attributes such as balance, coordination, and strength, these fun classes also teach kids important social abilities, as well as boosting their self-esteem. Classes are run by the warm, energetic crew of teachers and supervisors at the Jacksonville branch. Team members also understand the value of the hands-off approach; the center offers practice & play sessions dedicated to unstructured (but parent-supervised) play time.
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.
The couples eating Valentine's Day dinner at Buddha Thai Bistro would have been flooded with rose pedals, if not for the gauzy tapestries that hung from the ceiling and held them aloft. The eatery's ceiling is a canvas that changes with the seasons, sporting hundreds of folded paper sculptures for the Thai New Year or colorful streamers for other celebrations. Though the decor fluctuates, Buddha Thai Bistro's commitment to flavorful cuisine remains constant. In the kitchen, seven varieties of curry simmer with meat and vegetables, fried rice sizzles alongside eggs and glass noodles, and extra spices lend a sobering kick to drunk-man noodles, served for lunch or dinner. A new vegan menu offers dishes such as soy shrimp and papaya salad and tofu egg rolls, and a robust wine menu helps diners pair reds, whites, and sakes with their meals.
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.