Piercing drives resonate across the verdant grounds of Zephyrhills Under Par, providing sonic evidence of golf balls advancing through the 18-hole, 5,054-yard course. The par 68—sculpted in 1978—presents a relatively open layout, with extensive landing zones that encourage golfers to either test the limits of their driver or charter a last-minute plane for their swing coach.
Course at a Glance:
Safari Wilderness Ranch's exotic wetland animals freely roam 260 acres of grassy plains, girded by an 850-square-mile watershed. Accredited by the Zoological Association of America and licensed by the USDA, the ranch is an agritourism project dedicated to teaching about endangered species through hands-on safaris. Wandering zebra and watusi-cattle herds coexist harmoniously with waterbuck and lost cable guys as explorers ride by on trucks, horse-drawn carts, and camels. An outdoor aviary flutters with nearly 100 colorful, playful budgie parakeets who will munch millet seeds from the palm of a hand, and a lemur habitat allows guests to feed the ring-tailed primates grapes.
SUP Englewood operates on a circuit of local beaches, sending seafarers off to explore the waves from several starting points. Under the supervision of an instructor who is a qualified paddleboarder, lifeguard, and tour guide, students learn to control their board before embarking on guided tours or independent rides. The shop stocks a fleet of epoxy SUP ATX paddleboards, which slip easily through the waves and include specialty yoga board varietals . As an experienced yogi, SUP Englewood’s instructor also leads classes on weekly trips to tranquil mangrove pathways and lagoons for yoga lessons atop paddleboards.
Brooke Pottery features fine ceramic crafts and a host of handmade doodads from more than 400 American artists. A glazed, tri-colored McQueeny Belt Bowl ($48) offers a fetching soup-holding alternative to cupped palms, while the Heart Coaster Set ($40) lovingly shields countertops from clammy cocktails and over-fizzed sodas. Decorate feng shui–deficient gardens with ash-wood Chi Energy Amber wind chimes ($35), or embellish tree limbs with colorful Aloha Chimes ($42). For kids, the Blues Band Harmonica ($7) provides hours of fun in the key of harmonica.
For first-time tandem jumpers, the experience of free falling from 11,000 feet is an unforgettable experience. But just in case, Skydive Orlanpa, in partnership with Jump Florida Skydiving, can document tandem jumps with professionally produced videos set to music. A preflight interview on the ground gives way to footage shots inside the plane as jumpers and their tandem instructors make their ascension. From there, videographers capture the entire free fall as participants take in the scenery and attempt to block out the chortles of condescending geese. The parachute then deploys, and jumpers and their instructors return to terra firma. Meanwhile, friends can watch dives from the ground in a large spectator area or tag along on the plane ride and watch the leap firsthand.
An award-winning restaurant and full-service bar supply participants with snacks and drinks after their dives. Patrons can even make a weekend of their dives by staying in one of Skydive Orlanpa's 26 guest rooms replete with cable TV and WiFi.
Helmed by the brother-sister duo of Chanel Bellotto and John Dedes, Skate World's funcentric rollo-dome and family-focused atmosphere have garnered the attention of Lakeland patrons and NBC's Channel 8 News alike. Roller-aficionados and timid trundlers glide along the rink with the zeal of a businessman diving across a conference-room table made of slip 'n slides. Freewheelers can practice time-honored moves, such as shoot-the-duck and the two-arm flail, under the dance-inducing disco ball, flashing colored lights, and pumping tunes. Between rounds of going around, reenergize with a snow cone ($1.25), cotton candy ($2), nachos ($2.50), and more from the fully stocked snack bar (not included in this Groupon).