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.
The seasoned instructors of Universal Dance Studios instill students of any age with the skills to pull off a panoply of forms ranging from ballet and acro dance to jazz and hip-hop. Kids 5–7 years old can harness Creative Movement classes to find self-expression through free-form choreography in various dance styles, or take a more structured approach through the French traditions taught in Pre-Ballet sessions. Swing-dance, salsa, and ballroom lessons equip older children and adults with the steps to commandeer any dance floor or spontaneous public musical number, and students looking for more heart-pumping excitement can also bust moves in dance-inspired Zumba fitness classes.
At both of its locations around Miami, Alf's Golf Shop fills golf bags with new and used equipment by top industry brands such as Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade, Nike, Ping, and Mizuno. Shelves are also stocked with apparel for men and women by brands such as Nike, Adidas, Oakley, and Lacoste. While players cruise through the showroom, sizing up drivers and counting golf balls, they can look to a knowledgeable staff and a PGA Class A Professional for help finding the right equipment. The pro also makes use of a computerized launch monitor located onsite, which adds an extra level of certainty to selections of irons, drivers, fairway woods, and wedges
Tee off at one of two nine-hole golf courses maintained by the Miami-Dade County Park & Recreation Department. Whether chipping onto the green at Greynolds or dodging water hazards and hazardous water monsters at Briar Bay, golfers of all experience levels can play quick, challenging rounds. Briar Bay Golf Course sprawls in all directions across 30 acres of lush greenery polka-dotted with trees and bunkers. Each year, this par 31 executive golf course serves as home for more than 40,000 rounds of golf and several hundred nighttime games of bio-sonar badminton. Greynolds Park similarly tests golfers with a par 36 course that stretches 3,100 yards from the longest tees. After matches at Greynolds, players can retire to a spacious clubhouse to tabulate scores and settle any draws with a round of rock-paper-scissors.
After its cameo in the 1998 movie There's Something About Mary, The Aqua Golf Driving Range became famous, summoning visitors to hit golf balls into aqueous landing areas. Before the movie, however, the 20-acre lake turned state-of-the-art golf facility was a local legend for more than 50 years. Beginners can start down the road to becoming a master golfer under the expertise of onsite golf pros during lessons, which make an ideal gift. Under a long, doublewide canopy or in the sunshine, golfers can also hit golf balls onto floating greens or buoyant caddies. The range also has a pro shop and synthetic short-game center on dry land to practice chipping, putting, and taking off the golf-bag scuba tank needed for second shots at the range.
Martin Joo and David Clarke have been fighters for a long time, and also have years of experience in mixed martial arts and fitness training. They decided to take their skills outside the cage by training other fighters to have the skill, fitness, and courage to follow in their footsteps. So they founded Omni Combat Fitness, where classes focus on a broad range of fighting styles as well as fitness techniques. Trainers might combine boxing and jiujitsu in a single class, or move from a plyometric workout to sparring in the ring to teaching the proper technique for launching tomatoes in a food fight.