Since 1984, swim gym has work towards one goal: to maximize pool safety by making people comfortable in the water. Since splashing onto the scene, the facility has schooled more than 45,000 students—most of whom happen to have feet instead of flippers. Coach and director Robert Strauss leads the facility's efforts, having taught in Miami himself since 1973. But these days, swim gym spreads its teachings across a trio of South Florida locations, where students of all ages can boost their floatability during group or private lessons and fitness classes, such as Waterobics and Aqua Zumba.
The two founders of Aquachild Swim School—Scott Launer and Brian Lilburn—came to embrace aquatic education through disparate means. When Scott took his then 2-year-old daughter, Jaya, to swim lessons, he was amazed to see 10-month-old babies floating on their own and began his journey to becoming a youth swim instructor. Brian, who nearly drowned in a backyard pool as a toddler, learned to love the water rather than fear it after his mom enrolled him in swim lessons. Scotty and Brian now share their life-saving knowledge alongside a staff of instructors that are all certified in water safety, first aid, and CPR.
Through Aquachild Swim School’s specially designed lessons, infants as young as 10 months learn to roll from facedown positions to back floats where they can breathe easily, and 1-year-old students begin to swim with their heads down, then twist onto their backs for air. As kids progress, they learn the four major strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly), brush up on the basics to keep them confident, or start snorkeling. The instructors lead adult lessons to help older students learn how to paddle at pool parties or triumphantly retrieve their boss’s golf ball from a green’s lagoon during corporate outings.
CitySightSeeing Miami encourages tourists not just to see the sights around them, but also to explore them. Professional multilingual guides educate tourists on historical facts and fun city locations, leaving visitors with a deeper knowledge about Miami. When the urge strikes to linger at a tour stop, guests can hop off their double-decker buses and roam alone. Throughout the day, more buses arrive at each stop in intervals to pick up wandering customers and continue their tours while pairing them once again with the bus’s free WiFi and interior AC.
The Floridian sun sparkles off rolling waves, reflecting dancing patterns of light onto the white-and-red hull of Aquaworld Miami’s excursion vessel, the Caribbean Spirit . The double-masted catamaran catches the gulf’s gusty winds in its twin sails to journey to a shallow sandbar for a day of watersports, offloading jet skis, banana boats, and a parasailing-equipped speed boat into the knee-deep water. On Atlantic Ocean excursions, the 78-foot vessel parks over a shallow water shipwreck for guests equipped with snorkels to explore. The rhythmic thump of the waves combines with Calypso music that constantly drifts from the boat’s speakers, offering the only method of sonar capable of identifying an undersea dance party.
Half Price Tour Tickets’ knowledgeable guides orchestrate more than 30 diverse tours of Miami, the Everglades, Key West, and the ocean beyond. Most expeditions cater to adrenaline-fueled crowds with extreme pursuits, such as scuba diving, skydiving, and parasailing. The fleet of air-, water-, and landcraft grants access to remote locales, including the marshy Everglades and deep-sea-fishing hot spots, where fishing hooks play tug of war with sharks and submarine captains.
Miami Beach Water Adventures’s experienced instructors lead small groups on two-hour paddleboard escapes around islands and over reefs, exploring both the natural and manmade beauty of the city’s surroundings. First-time wave-riders receive one-on-one instruction by the beach and, like newborn giraffes, usually achieve mobility within 10 minutes. Green tour-goers stick to the bay, and more experienced paddlers take immediately to the deeper waters for an instant infusion of eyeball-delighting sights. Propelled by the rippling currents beneath them, groups set off in search of famous vistas such as Fisher Island and Key Biscayne, carefully steering with the aid of their paddle. Dolphins, manta rays, and turtles occasionally float in the wake of the board's smooth passage, and schools of colorful fish dart through the tropically touched waters underfoot like fireworks. The tour includes a board, paddle, and life vest for each visitor, leaving guests to provide only their own swimsuit and sense of balance.