The horses at Shades of Green Riding Stables are demonstrably patient. They let youngsters apply finger paint to their coats or tape labels to their different muscle groups without so much as a whinny of annoyance. This placidity is all thanks to Shades of Green's expert stable keepers. The instructors strive to help students become independent riders, all while maintaining a fun and creative environment. The staff and instructors ensure that each animal is lovingly looked after so that the herds of student riders and day campers can properly shower them with adoration. Adults and children alike can bond with the stable's steeds, whether galloping through the woodsy areas surrounding the barn or learning tricks in the sunny riding area.
The experience at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club begins at the 21,000 square foot clubhouse. Here, an opulent lobby greets visitors as they arrive for their round of golf, tennis match, or bout with the fitness center workout machines. Golfers can make their way through the well-stocked pro shop before teeing up on the 27-hole complex designed by Arthur Hills. Mr. Hills strung the trio of nine-hole courses through the site's near-ubiquitous water, creating many opportunities for golfers to donate their golf balls and make a wish with each splash. Six practice areas and five practice greens round out the club's golf options, further cementing it as a prime location in which to improve at the game.
Designed by Charles Ankrom and built in 1970, Sabal Trace Golf and Country Club sends golfers swinging across 18 holes of undulating fairways, intersecting water hazards, and elevated greens. The course caps off the front nine with its longest hole, a 544-yard par-five with a canal that runs along the right side of the fairway and eventually jets across the fairway in front of the green. After finishing their round on the par-four 18th hole, players can recharge at the Tavern by the Green Restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch daily.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-72 course * Total length of 6,755 yards from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
At Myakka River Ranch, a herd of majestic horses lets visitors feel the liberating rush of flying through the grass atop a sturdy saddle. Among the stable's friendly inhabitants, an American Saddlebred performs tricks, an American Paint Horse frolics in the ranch's streams, and an Akhal-Teke mare—descended from the strong, golden horses bred in Persia more than 3,000 years ago—gallops in the outdoor arena. Along with lessons that impart the basics of English-style riding, Myakka's staff leads trail rides amid the scenic landscape, where majestic oak trees and open fields distract the horses from exploring the local sugar-cube quarry.