The entire sky along Florida's Space Coast is like one giant movie screen, regularly showing the story of rockets—some manned, some unmanned, others guided entirely by dreams. They launch gracefully towards the heavens, where they break through Earth's atmosphere and float out beyond it. It's a mesmerizing display, one that serves as the focal point for Space Coast River Tours's Rocket Tour. The Blue Dolphin, the company's 44-foot USCG-certified pontoon river boat, serves as the tour's mode of transportation. Its retractable roof pulls back to reveal unobstructed views of the sky above for all of its 49 passengers.
Captains Mark and Michele Anderson, who are both certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, have plenty to explore even when rockets aren't taking flight. Specialty tours are available at an additional cost. During the holidays, they show passengers the lights and decorations along residential canals in Sykes Creek, handing out some egg nog or hot cocoa to complete the experience. The Banana River Lagoon Tour, meanwhile, remains a daily feature. For two hours, the boat tours the Banana River and floats into the habitats of the area's many birds, dolphins, manatees, and gators.
Bikram Yoga on the Island's founders, Suzanne and Joe Elliott, draw inspiration from their students' physical progress and development each week, ensuring that each session addresses the needs of first-day students, casual practitioners, and lifelong yogis. Ten years of experience fuel Suzanne and Joe's work as instructors, with each tapping his or her encyclopedic knowledge to guide pupils through two breathing exercises and 26 poses. Along with a staff of instructors, the two founders demonstrate and describe the proper execution of each posture with the authority of an Olympic Twister medalist.
As students fold and unfold limbs, each movement helps promote healthy organ function by pushing freshly oxygenated blood throughout their entire bodies. Meanwhile, the studio's heating system helps them safely sink into each stretch and sweat out toxins by raising the temperature to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. After class, attendees can freshen up with the studio's indoor and outdoor shower facilities.
Somewhere along the line, a watersports enthusiast went a little crazy, in the best way possible. The result was the Flyboard, a single-person apparatus that combines the movements of a flying superhero with the underwater mobility of a dolphin. Jump Right In Flyboarding, a purveyor of such aqueous adventures, straps its patrons into one of their propulsion systems to levitate above water on columns of pressurized water and dive underwater upon command, making for an exhilarating ride.
During instruction sessions that last about 10 minutes, aspiring aquanauts learn to control the water-spewing nozzles. Two nozzles attach to the wearer's feet and supply 90% of the propulsion, while two more nozzles attach to the hands and help with stabilization in much the same manner that poles help with skiing or machetes help with sprinting.
Cocoa Beach locals know that it's rare to spot Bill Kowalik on dry land. The Puerto Rico–born seafarer is at home on the water, constantly surfing, kayaking, or leading tours across the Florida Space Coast. Bill’s as passionate about the environment as he is about watersports, enthusiastically exploring the area's diverse waterways while taking pains to leave the least impact on the protected waters. Along with his team of trained instructors, he leads individuals, groups, and families on kayak tours through lush mangroves and island channels, pointing out dolphins, manatees, and exotic birds.
A youngster furrows his brow, concentrating on each brush stroke as he paints a piggy bank. Good friends fuse glass pieces into a serving bowl for a soon-to-be-wed pal or string disparate beads together to create an eclectic necklace. At ClayZ Arts, guests are free to pursue their artistic ambitions as they paint bisque pieces, design jewelry, or replace all their car windows with elaborate glass creations. From classes to birthday parties and corporate shindigs, the studio and its accommodating staff host myriad events that cater to each person's inner artist.
At each of five Surf and Ski Water Sports locations, staffers equip tourists and locals alike with ocean and river rentals and beach necessities. While some take advantage of boats and jet skis to glide along the water, others watch from atop surfboards or seated in beach chairs situated beneath the shade of giant umbrellas.