Splash Paint and Wine may be the only art studio with its own sommelier. Her name is Astrid, and she helps visitors sift through the studio's 200-bottle strong, internationally-curated collection of wines. If they'd prefer, guests can bring a favorite wine or beer from home. Guests' most memorable pours, however, aren't from a bottle, but from tubes of acrylic paint. In painting sessions, they follow along with an instructor, putting brush to canvas as they conjure their own version of that class's image. And because the studio requires no experience?just a creative spirit and a love of making new friends?Splash is a hit with artists of all stripes.
Modern Steps School of Dance regularly waltzes across the line that separates art from all-out fun. The school’s experienced instructors lead private lessons, group classes, and spirited dance parties for all ages, from seniors to adolescents who only recently grew their fifth toes. Focusing exclusively on ballroom dance, instructors branch out to cover the many styles that fall under that large umbrella, including tango, fox trot, Viennese waltz, and swing. They draw on a rich history of dance tutelage—though the school was founded only two decades ago, its roots in Florida can be traced all the way back to 1513, when Juan Ponce de León tap-danced with joy upon his discovery of Disney World.
La Cuisine's traditional Peruvian dishes are prepared with local farm-to-table ingredients delivered daily to the restaurant. From the bar, diners can watch the cooks in the open kitchen as they slice sashimi-style fish for the raw bar and prepare small plates of crispy pork belly and peruvian bouillabaisse. Entrees include grilled lamb with cilantro sauce and grilled filet mignon with fettuccine and pesto, which pair with wines from Argentina, Spain, Chile, and beyond.
Diners launch platters of sauce-soaked ribs, steaming collard greens, and homemade cornbread to table coordinates from the smoke-infused arsenal of Texas Tony's menu. Virtuoso beef artists tend brisket ($8.99/half pound) for 15–18 hours in in-house smokers, using orangewood from a local citrus grove and smoke from a Vegas magician. In The Floridian sandwich, chopped pork, coleslaw, banana peppers, and barbecue sauce cozy up between two slices of crusty texas toast ($9.99). A rack of baby back ribs ($12.99) takes a dip in one of the house's signature sauces, which include mustard- and habanero-based options and demand a Marco Polo duel with taste buds. Neat and responsible homemade corn bread, fresh-cut french fries, and macaroni and cheese ($1.99 each) clean up after the sauce-soaked parties of freewheeling barbecue entrees, and creamy, sweet potato cheesecake ($3.99) offsets tangy notes and offers a dulcet exit as impressive as Julia Child's zip line.
Brunina Carvelli draws from a rich culinary heritage and personal experience with food, from her training in her hometown of Calabria, Italy, to her time as a chef at Trionfo Restaurant in New York City. Before moving to Naples to open up her new eatery, Brunina swore on a stack of margherita pizzas to uphold the family tradition of creative Italian cooking. Guests take their place at tables covered in red-and-white checkered cloth to dine on calzones, lasagna layered with meat, eggs, cheeses, and herbs, or zuppa di pesce with shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari.
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.