Vllage Flyers’s fleet of aviators soars across cloud banks in an X-Air Light Sport plane at 90 mph, whipping past lakes and forests thousands of feet below. A nonprofit flying club, Village Flyers aims to make the thrill of flight more accessible to the Orlando community, both by granting its members access to the 3-year-old X-Air and by welcoming beginner flyers into their ranks. Boasting at least 35 years’ teaching experience each, the club’s FAA--certified instructors also prepare pilots for their sport-pilot license, a program that includes air time and ground school. Each instructor takes a casual approach to defying gravity, inviting students to learn at their own pace by deciding how often they fly and whether they want to learn to skywrite in calligraphy or shorthand.
Dedicated to responsible public education and the conservation of endangered and rare animals, the staffers of the Florida International Teaching Zoo tend to a diverse collection of living beings while teaching students to do the same. Amid the rustling feathers of Lady Amherst pheasants and the uncontrollable laughter of spotted hyenas reading the works of Oscar Wilde aloud, the school’s pupils spend days practicing their cage-side manner and stockpiling wildlife know-how through classes and conservation projects around the globe. To round out their tuition, students helm zoo tours for visitors four days a week, practicing their newly minted public-management skills and granting guests a chance to take in the wonders of the natural world in an intimate setting.
For more than four decades, Sunair Aviation has been training safe and technically proficient pilots as a professional flight training school stationed at Leesburg International Airport. An FAA-approved Part 61 program, the school recently acquired Part 141 certification as well, allowing it to train private pilots with its fleet of Cessna, Beechcraft, and Piper airplanes. Thanks to the collective experience of certified flight instructors and IFR-approved Garmin 430 avionic systems aboard each plane, the school boasts a safety record unblemished by so much as a wing paper cut.
In addition to offering students real flying experience, the outfit invites students to log flying hours inside its full motion Redbird FMX Simulator. Stationed safely on the ground, the apparatus surrounds pilots with wrap-around visuals and real avionic equipment. As the simulator rolls, pitches, and yaws, students encounter valuable practice with real piloting situations, but without the common flying hassles of long waits on the runway or floating toll booths.
Sylvan utilizes a personalized tutoring approach to develop a learned legion of students of all ages. During the initial visit, your child will partake in a Sylvan Skills Assessment, which highlights any trouble spots and serves as a baseline for future progress. Your child will then traverse four homework-helps sessions, whether they need extra help in math, reading, writing, or another subject. Sylvan tutors adjust their teaching style to each particular student’s strengths, so sessions (valued at $55 an hour) are as productive as possible. Sylvan is open Monday–Thursday from 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m., Fridays from 9:00 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Generations of animal lovers come together to explore the winding trails of the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, where more than 75 species inhabit displays that stretch across 10 acres of naturally wooded terrain. Run by a full-time staff, as well as Santa Fe College students, the zoo is home to a diverse collection of both native and exotic creatures, headlined by a lineup of family favorites that includes bald eagles, white-throated Capuchin monkeys, and small-clawed otters. While visiting, zoo-goers can lock eyes with endangered beasts or, instead of diving into a mall fountain to inspect the coins, study actual water-dwelling critters wading through the amphibian habitats. Sawdust trails make the zoo easy to navigate for wheelchairs and strollers, and an onsite playground entertains young'uns during breaks from uninhibited discovery.