Christy Jeffreys, lead instructor at Hoofprinted Hearts Farm, draws upon 21 years of equestrian experience each time she introduces a novice to the sport of horseback riding or engages a child's imagination during summer camps. Children, teens, and adults of all skill levels can enroll in the farm's lessons, which aim to instill self-confidence and respect for the maned mammals. As the instructor looks on and provides guidance, students learn to feed, bathe, and groom the horses in preparation for showing, a skill that is sure to come in handy when restoring old collections of My Little Ponies. Summer camps engage out-of-school children between the ages of 4 and 13 in daily riding lessons, horse-themed crafts, and human-themed camaraderie.
At Champagne Stables, riding paths wind through five scenic acres, beckoning trail riders and students alike. The stables’ patient teachers pair their pupils with steady, reliable steeds before guiding them through the basics of riding, including proper posture, and more advanced techniques, such as how to navigate the swimsuit portion of equestrian competitions. Instructors correct and encourage students as they and their mounts prance around the stables’ show ring during lessons and summer camps.
Andrea Whiting, Arbordale Riding Academy's head instructor, draws upon 14 years of professional experience to teach budding equestrian all-stars. Andrea has served as a board member of the Tampa Horse Show Association and a member of the United States Equestrian Federation, a group known for supporting quality care and voting rights for prettier ponies. On the academy grounds, Andrea's students hop atop one of the outfit's carefully maintained horses to receive an introduction to the skills required for competition. Students can learn how to ride in the english style of saddle seat during lessons, and summer camps are also available. One of Andrea's most accomplished students won a National Championship title with the help of her tutelage, and two other horses and three riders who studied under her earned top ten World Championship ribbons.
Arbordale also offers full boarding facilities for steeds, providing all the bedding, grain, and blanketing their tired haunches require. Horses and their owners exercise on 15 acres with various turnout options, and take advantage of the facility's large outdoor arena, jumps, and full tack room.
Scores of synthetic lanes span the length of Lane Glo Bowl, hosting open hours and special events for groups and individuals throughout the week. Flat-screen TVs display scores high above each lane, leaving ample room in lounge areas for victory laps. Each Saturday, the alley takes on incandescent hues for cosmic bowling, and the on-site bar hosts a live DJ and karaoke stage. Lane Glo's bar hosts pool tournaments each Wednesday, and its on-site arcade brims with flashing lights from games including skee-ball and air hockey. Bowling clubs and leagues are available for adults, children, and seniors, as are private parties for birthdays or businesses still recovering from the bee-wrangling event at last year's company field day.
For more than two decades, Pam Roush has been hosre-training equivalent of a Harvard professor. Her alumni regularly accumulate blue ribbons, awards, and credits such as the UPHA Chapter 16's "Horse of the Year" award. Notable former students include CH My Heart, Top Star Willie, and Galahad's Gold Mine, which all received the "Best of Breed" honor from Saddle and Bridle after spending time under her tutelage.
On Avalon Stables’ 30 acres of open pastures, Pam and her assistant trainers provide boarding and training services for horses, as well as lessons for riders of all ages. They address individual riding goals during private lessons, encourage camaraderie through group lessons, and introduce to riding at children's camps, where kids bond with horses that tell ghost stories.
Sock-footed moppets scamper up springy steps before hurling themselves down a towering slide as crocodiles and lions hover nearby, but these tykes' parents don't blink an eye. Sprawled across Jungle Bounce's 15,000-square-foot space, this playground teems with air-filled amusements for kids to safely bounce and tumble across. Six inflatable edifices in brilliant colors shiver beneath youthful romping, all against a backdrop of cheery giraffes, penguins holding maps upside down, and other typical jungle scenes. Two inflatable arenas thump and squeak as little ones leap into the air, gambol around obstacles, and wander through a maze.
A digital chorus of beeping and whirring drifts from the arcade, where tots and their grownups can whack moles and launch balls to garner tickets to trade for prizes such as plastic trinkets and stuffed mascots. A snack shop refuels young ones with pizza and wings so they can return to open play sessions or try and mediate disputes between imaginary friends wearing the same outfits at hosted birthday parties.
Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space’s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader’s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.