Two decades ago, a strip mall, parking lot, and acres of invasive plants stood on this land, hosting crowds of shoppers bustling through their daily routines. Now, serene greenery has once again reclaimed the expanse, replacing the concrete and metal with 170 acres of flourishing gardens and pine flatwoods. Naples Botanical Garden's 90-acre preserve is home to seven ecosystems, including untouched forests, marshes, and mangroves, where hundreds of animal species and more than 300 species of native and exotic plants dwell.
Cultivating a diverse array of subtropical flora, the seven garden habitats enchant and educate adults and children alike. Visitors meander along 2.5 miles of walking trails, dropping into the Lea Asian Garden to admire a northern Thailand riverside scene and relax at the Balinese--temple water garden, spying on frogs trying to have a conversation with their own reflections. Throughout the Kapnick Caribbean Garden, guests stroll beneath a vine-covered arbor and through the coconut grove, which showcases plants from Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific that had great economic impact on the islands. Wee ones splash in jets of water in the Smith's Children’s Garden, where they can visit a butterfly house, caper about treehouses, and drop by the healthy-eating garden to ask organic vegetables why there are no mummies in the food pyramid. In addition to engaging the senses, the botanical gardens enlightens minds of all ages with myriad educational programs and events.
Reel Kind Fishing charters boats on which adventurers explore backwater wetlands, protected freshwater, and saltwater regions that are home to diverse marine life. Along with licensed and experienced captains, the company supplies rods, reels, tackle, and bait, ensuring that even novice fishers can participate. Tour-takers might nab snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, and tarpon, the four of which can be housed together in a jumbo aquarium for a fish reality show, as long as a sassy blowfish joins the mix. Each boat seats up to three people for half-days, three-quarter days, or full days, with the vessels heading either inshore or offshore near the Gulf of Mexico. Explorers might bring a hat, sunglasses, snacks, and jackets, according to the weather, and smocks depending on how neatly their co-tourists can eat.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Situated along shorelines in Tampa, Naples, and Key West, Florida Marina Club keeps watercraft ready to crest the waves with docking services, fuel docks, and ship repairs. The marinas’ terra firma amenities match the refinement of their seaside offerings. Restaurants and bars home in on local flavors and international atmospheres, from the Cuban and Caribbean recipes at The Club at Key West Harbour to the weekend pool parties at Tampa’s Hula Bay Club. When not dining or enjoying drinks at Jack's River Bar or Gordon's On The River, members can sweat away cares in saunas, glide through heated infinity pools, or sketch the design for a hypothetical seventh chess piece in restive clubhouses.
Aboard the 105-foot Naples Princess yacht, passengers live like royalty. They can tan on the upper sun deck, relax in the air-conditioned cabins below, or feast on lunch buffets and gourmet dinners. Passengers can explore local waterways during tours, which often catch glimpses of marine animals like dolphins, seabirds, and other wildlife, along with views of Port Royal's luxury homes and the Gulf of Mexico's majestic sunsets.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 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—from as tender as 6 weeks young to a timeworn 13 years old—and are designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. The busy schedule offers sessions such as Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, and Cardio Kids, which targets the older echelon of prematurity humans ages 7–13 to combat the effects of sedentary activities such as playing video games and tending to bullet ant farms. This Groupon covers My Gym's lifetime membership, a one-time enrollment fee ($75) that allows members to sign up for all future classes.