Retirement didn?t signal the end of the careers of Gun Training School's instructors. After finishing up their time in the military and law enforcement, they decided to pass along the kind of expertise that only comes from years of training. In doing so, they teach beginners' classes, including NRA courses in pistols, shotguns, and rifles. The instructors also host specialized classes, such as a hunter's safety course and a defensive pistol tactics course with outdoor range time. Shooting competitions offer challenges and a communal experience for the more advanced.
Since its inception in 1916, the YMCA of Greater Miami has opened its doors to whoever needed it. It welcomed African American youths during the Great Depression, hosted military personnel in the 1940s, and gave Cuban refugees a home in the 1960s. Today, it continues the tradition of depolarizing Miami's fractured populous, remaining a haven for people of all faiths, races, ages, and income. Staffers uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. YMCA of Greater Miami also raises much-needed funding for kids and families who can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
At the current locations, kids can leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to afterschool programs and day camps. Adults, meanwhile, can take Zumba, boot-camp, and aquatic fitness classes or work out within wellness centers replete with strength-training and cardio equipment. Adult basketball and indoor speed-soccer leagues further help guests flex their competitive spirits in an encouraging environment.
Crouched behind a stack of tires, a player feels the incoming paintballs smack against the rubber as he plots his next move. Such a sight is common at Bigshot Paintball Field's outdoor field, a collage of upturned pallets, cable spools, and dirt mounds where combatants outmaneuver each other to find the best firing positions. Bigshot's staff acquaints every player, from beginners to those who have been living off field grass since 2005, with the rules of play and equipment operation before allowing them to enter the thick of battle. Between bouts, the staff also dispenses bottled water and soft drinks and can recommend nearby pizza joints that deliver. Barbecue grills are allowed as well, if there's room available. As a not-for-profit organization, Bigshot Paintball Fields donates a portion of its proceeds to the Police Officer Assistance Trust, a support organization for the law-enforcement community of Miami–Dade County.
True to its name, more than 95% of Biscayne National Underwater Park is covered by water, resulting in a submerged, verdant landscape. In the shallows of Biscayne Bay, explorers can catch sight of waving fields of underwater grass as well as the occasional manatee, sea turtle, or wild submarine. Kayaks paddle out to the more than 30 islands dotting the park’s expanse, reaching destinations such as a 1930s lighthouse. Venturing out from the shore filled with lush mangrove forests, snorkelers dive into living reefs to see fish and turtles gluing the coral together.
In the 1920s, one man accomplished a feat so seemingly impossible that scientists, engineers, and scholars are still mystified by it today. This man, Ed Leedskalnin, actually carved 1,100 tons of coral rock to create Coral Castle. Thanks to Ed's ultra-private, night-owl work habits, the methods he used to do so remain mysterious to this day.
Part museum, part sculpture garden, Coral Castle features a hand-carved 9-ton gate, a Polaris telescope, and a sundial with seasons—all carved from coral rock. Visitors can explore the site through guided tours, which delve into the history and science behind the structures, as well as a love story. Afterward, they can grab a bite at Coral Castle Café.
The highly ranked TripAdvisor attraction has been referred to as a modern megalith and compared to such ancient megaliths as the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. Some even consider it one of the Wonders of the World, and it has been featured on everything from the History Channel to the Travel Channel. In 1981, the TV show In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy profiled Coral Castle.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.