The Atlantic surf, the quiet shallow reefs, the warm stretches between islands—Jupiter Kite Paddle Wake makes these as accessible with ease. Amid racks of gear and boards by makers such as Cabrinha, North, Wainman, and Liquid Force, certified instructors wait to instill the basics of boarding in newcomers with kiteboarding lessons. Jupiter Kite Paddle Wake teaches everything from board set-up, to finding the wind, to idling patiently at sea turtle-crossings. Coaches are also happy to impart the basics of standup paddleboard cruising and racing in semi-private lessons, or train students to leave flat water and master cutting through the waves with paddleboard-surfing sessions. But the focus doesn't remain on oceanic newbies alone. Experienced aquanauts can join guides for private tours, or participate in on-water yoga classes atop their boards.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months–3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1–3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.
The sound of little limbs cutting into clear water with increasing confidence fills Quality Swimming's facilities, where instructors keep class sizes small in order to give individual attention and encouragement to each student. All instructors bear Red Cross certifications in CPR, standard first aid, and general lifeguard skills, and some hold additional honors such as degrees in infant teaching from the United States Swim School or certifications in instruction for developmentally disabled students. The trainers also undergo extensive training in Quality Swimming's in-house program, which includes observational sessions, seminars, and shadowing with senior teachers. Despite this intensive program, they continue to hone their skills year-round with local and national workshops, regular in-house refresher training, and international Marco Polo tournaments.
Students of all experience levels slowly grow to revel in the dreamlike effortlessness of movement through water in outdoor pools at three locations. Instructors pass on basic water-safety skills and more advanced swimming techniques, always with the principal aim of teaching students to exist comfortably within water and respect the pool noodle's natural ecosystem.
While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
Inducted into the National League in 1962, the Houston Astros have since netted six Hall of Fame players and a trip to the World Series. In 2000, the club made its home at Minute Maid Field, a 42,000-capacity stadium replete with red-brick walls, natural grass, and a 242-foot retractable roof. Throughout every game, kids can interact with mascot Junction Jack, a rabbit and train conductor who harkens back to the era when Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish sheepdog, controlled half the Union's railroads.