Sprawling alongside the historic Caloosahatchee River, Riverbend Golf and River Club's 18-hole executive course pairs picture-perfect drives with equally impeccable surroundings. Winding waterways, native woodlands, and crisp river breezes follow players across the course's 212 acres, and overhead, eagles soar gracefully while muttering swing critiques under their breath. After rounds, groups can celebrate new low scores at the club's 19th hole, Marker 34, which caps off pleasant days on the links with quaint waterfront views and eats from an onsite restaurant.
Zuleta’s Indoor Batting Cages are owned and operated by Julio Zuleta, a veteran ballplayer who boasts a 17-year career in not only the Minor and Major Leagues, but also in Nippon Professional Baseball and the World Baseball Classic. Seventy feet of astroturf separate future sluggers from their robotic pitchers in four cages delineated by black netting that keeps patrons safe from stray balls and the occasional giant monster mosquito. Bring your own bat (wooden, aluminum, or pygmy round-eared) or rent an aluminum bat for $1. Practice like the pros on the same type of machines most MLB players use to warm-up during spring training. Controllable pitching speeds from 25 to 85 mph are available to suit any ability level and can take both baseballs and softballs.
At the helm of Mangrove Masters is Florida native and USCG-certified Captain Jack Boutchyard, who loves to introduce visitors to the waters he calls home—specifically those surrounding Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Captain Jack brings along all gear, including fishing licenses, rods, and bait for flats fishing charters that chase trout near the grass flats and redfish when the tide goes out. For a hands-off outing, the sunset cruise charts course toward a horizon bathed in soft pinks and purples, presenting a colorful backdrop for dolphins and manatees at play. Treasure hunters can also opt to meet Captain Jack on the dock for a short jaunt to the white, sandy shores of North Captiva Island, which is only accessible by boat and teems with riches such as conch shells, sand dollars, and buried chests filled with pirate baseball-card collections.
Engines start to roar, propellers spin, and a large parachute expands into the sky, carrying a light aircraft and its passengers toward the clouds. Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as powered parachutes, weight-shift trikes, and gyroplanes. Led by licensed FAA flight instructor Craig Ewing, Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Airwolf 912 and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also assist new pilots with replacement parts, provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.
For Pat Glaunert, tennis rackets have been like a pair of butterfly wings. They’ve carried him across the US—from Louisville, Kentucky, where he oversaw all operations as director at Top Gun Academy, to Indianapolis, where he owned and operated his own adult and junior tennis academy.
Now the director of Three Oaks Tennis Center, Pat puts to work certification with the United States Professional Tennis Registry to teach children and adults. His intro courses teach basics to beginners from forehands and backhands to volleys, overheads, and serves. His cardio-tennis sessions build upon basics by pairing swinging and footwork exercises with energetic music and muscle-building activities, which do not include bench-pressing ball machines.
The 105-acre Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium entertains and educates visitors on a 105-acre plot peppered with native wildlife, an educational museum, and three trails snaking through natural habitats. Museum guests learn about the natural world as they commune with captive animals and plants, including native butterflies and a variety of tree frogs. An Audubon aviary houses injured hawks, vultures, and owls, as well as bald eagles preening for guests during breaks from modeling gigs for the quarter and $1 bill. Outside, guests can stroll along nature trails on the center’s grounds to spot all kinds of native plants and wildlife, and the Big Cypress Swamp Boardwalk allows explorers with wheelchairs or strollers to glide along stable paths. Sit back and stare up at the Media Globe dome theater's screen and learn the universe’s best-kept secrets under a breathtaking view of the stars.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.