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.
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.
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.
Though flat and polished to a brilliant gleam, the floor at Miami Beach Ballroom is as much a springboard as it is a dancing surface. Students from the school have taken the steps learned in the ballroom and gone on to compete on some of the biggest stages possible, from the US Grand National finals to the sets of So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. Instructors take students step-by-step through the tango, rhumba, salsa, and other popular styles.