Florida's Gulf Coast is one of the last places one expects to see an igloo. Nevertheless, drivers on I-75 will spot a dome worthy of the Arctic rising as they approach Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, a 115,000-square-foot facility that houses two NHL-size ice rinks. Visitors coast across the well-maintained surface during public-skating hours, while classes in figure skating and hockey skating teach ice-slicing fundamentals to students unaccustomed to getting out of their dogsled and moving on their own. In addition to ice rinks, the sprawling space contains a 13,500-square-foot indoor soccer-and-football field, a fitness center, a video game room, and space for birthday parties.:m]]
Mark and Sheryl McEachern, owners of the Woof Gang Bakery location in Lutz, opened their shop in hopes it would become a place where pet owners enjoy visiting with their furry friends. "We plan on knowing all the neighborhood dogs by name," Mark says. Bubblegum-pink walls and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling give the shop the feel of a clothing boutique, though displayed trays of dog biscuits and homemade canine cakes leave no doubt as to the store's intended clientele. Helping pet owners provide holistic food for their animals is a priority at the shop, with plentiful dog- and cat-food choices in natural and grain-free varieties. The McEacherns also stock their shelves with chew toys and accessories, perfect for doggy birthday gifts or house-training recognition ceremonies.
The sun-soaked hidden corners and historic shops of Anna Maria Island reveal themselves to riders during autonomous spins or guided tours from Segs by the Sea. During their two-wheeled adventures, riders may choose to glide along the misty beachfronts, shady inland paths, or the quiet streets of town. They are equipped with helmets and water bottles for each tour, allowing them to safely cruise off the beaten path to sites including Coquina Beach and Bridge Street. During the tours, they can also peer at the beauty of the Gulf waters and the architectural grandeur of the island's vacation homes without having to step on hot sand or commandeer teenagers' roller skates.
Licensed Zumba instructor Beth Golden—who also holds certifications from the AFAA, Red Cross, and PADI—leads easy-to-follow dance routines inspired by Latin salsa, merengue, and tango moves. A soundtrack of high-energy tunes and rolling r’s keep students motivated as she helps them shimmy off pounds with or without the help of muscle-toning sticks. She regularly changes up her dance routines to prevent boredom and keep feet guessing. In addition to group classes in the studio, Beth hosts private Zumba parties, taking her portable speakers and headset to beaches, parks, offices, or clients' homes to liven up special events.
At Hair 1 and Spa 2, Charity (DeSear) Zeigler draws upon two decades of experience in the beauty industry, transforming men's and women's looks with an array of relaxing treatments. In the salon area, skilled hands craft haircuts, highlights, lowlights, and corrective colors. Fingers and toes relax during spa mani-pedis featuring heat therapy and soothing scrubs. Staff banishes body fuzz with traditional waxing services, as well as laser hair-removal and electrolysis treatments that can prepare legs for the beach or enhance an arm wrestler's aerodynamic advantage.
MVP Arena Sports helps young athletes hone the fundamental footwork of soccer with a score of youth [classes] (http://gr.pn/klFDry) scheduled by age. Coaches flutter around the 13,500-square-foot garden of synthetic turf, guiding 50-minute sessions that introduce youngsters to basic game rules, adrenaline-activating drills, and how to use the soccer net to catch butterflies. Balance, coordination, and ball skills compose the Cottontails class for students 2.5 to 3.5 years old, and Micro Advanced classes summon players ages 6 to 9 to dabble in complex toe tactics and 20-minute scrimmages. Athletes should arrive hydrated and wearing shin guards, and are encouraged to explore the facility’s full-service concession stand, arcade-equipped game room, and candy-encrusted cleats collection following their skill sessions. A full list of classes can be viewed at the online schedule.