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.
Miami Exotic Workouts Pole Fitness believes getting fit doesn't require spending hours in a gym and performing monotonous exercises. Through their pole-fitness classes, which range from beginner's to advanced sessions, and their alternative-fitness classes, such as Booty Aerobics and Sexi Flexi, they help ladies burn calories and strengthen muscles without lifting a single weight. That's not to say the studio's workouts aren't challenging. Classes such as Pole Kitten require students to suspend themselves in the air simply with their thigh muscles, and Sexy Chair Fitness & Pole combine a variety of exercises that test students' leg and ab muscles for a full 60 minutes. If the studio and a traditional gym do share one quality, it's the confidence that they instill in their clients. Miami Exotic members come away with a boost in their self-esteem, making it easier for them to confront the banana spider that's taken over their living room.
Squalo Divers, a PADI Five Star Dive Center, works in tandem with top industry brands such as Aqualung, Mares, and GoPro to outfit divers so they can explore underwater ecosystems. Equipment such as tanks, depth gauges and buoyancy-control devices prepares landlubbers for underwater travel without tricking a whale into swallowing them. Alternatively, the shop’s maintenance services can whip older gear into working order before each aqueous adventure.
Taught by certified instructors, Squalo Divers' courses run the gamut of scuba instruction, ranging from basic open-water certification to emergency-responder techniques. Courses incorporate cutting-edge training materials—including dependable gear and online study aids—and are taught in English or Spanish. The scuba center also offers trips to explore local waterways renowned for their extensive array of marine life.
Seven extreme athletes and one Royal Marine banded together to design Spartan Races' intense miles-long courses, each strewn with obstacles to test resilience, stamina, and strength. Clad in event T-shirts, runners collect smudges and stains as they clamber across mud pits, slide unscathed under barbed wire, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as three miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
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.
Cafe Bambini combines stimulating play centers for children with a relaxing café for caretakers. Children frolic with no time limit in any of five areas designed to foster group play and creativity. Centers devoted to science and discovery, dramatic play, and areas with building materials and blocks all invite children to explore the backcountry of their imaginations. The Active Corner inspires climbing and extreme high-fiving, and the Dress Up & Princess Corner encourages make-believe with a variety of costumes.