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.
If you've ever tried to pitch a tent on the ocean, you know that it's a hassle. Thankfully, Seaduced Watercraft Adventures makes camping at sea far easier?they have a rental boat where up to three people can bunk down for the night, after a day of fishing, swimming, and roasting foods on the grill.
When and how you do these things is typically up to you, as the company prides itself on customizable experiences. The staff will develop a boating plan for clients based on what they'd like to see in the waters around Anna Maria Island. For those interested in wildlife, they might recommend a nature tour. For a romantic outing, they take couples on sunset sails, rather than to exhausting negotiations with oysters for their pearls. And for history buffs, a snorkeling excursion at Egmont Key reveals the remains of forts, some of which still stand at the north end of the island.
If you don't know how to pilot a boat, Seaduced can teach you?they have classes for beginners on both sailing and operating pontoons and powerboats. They can also provide excursions with a guide or captain, whose knowledge of the area makes for memorable stops at coastal restaurants, or even a sandbar where you can tan in your birthday suit.
Imagine for a moment diving into the ocean, resurfacing with not only memories of the sub-aquatic environment, but a full reel of photographs, too. Underwater photography is just one of the many courses offered at Scuba Quest, a family-owned company that has shown students how to safely explore the seas for more than 25 years.
Scuba Quest began as a single shop, but has since spread to six locations across the state of Florida. At each, the company’s NAUI-certified instructors lead refresher courses, beginner classes, and comprehensive certification programs. Rather than climbing into fish tanks while pet-store clerks are on break, Scuba Quest's students can put their new skills to the test in unfamiliar waters during the company’s exotic diving excursions around the globe.
Although aesthetician Julie MacMillan graduated among the top five students in her aesthetics program, she keeps her homey beauty outfit, Skin Care By Jewls, free of pretensions. Jewls is MacMillan's nickname and preferred moniker, and the tag reflects her friendly, easygoing attitude. During spa services she plays dreamy, tranquil music to compliment the low, cozy lighting.
Jewls became a board-certified permanent-makeup artist in 2008, building on the training she received in Arizona, where she exceeded 800 hours of education?well beyond Florida's requirements of 260 hours and a papier-m?ch? mockup of a pore. She reaches for products from Rhonda Allison and lavender wax imported from Italy to create radiant, smooth skin.
Each Eye Doctor?s Optical Outlets location is doctor-owned, uniting the staff with a common vision to sharpen sight and boost eye health. Eye examinations reveal prescriptions and uncover any other ocular problems. After patients choose a new set of lenses, the in-house technicians get to work crafting them in the shop?s own lab rather than sending them off to be made during a summer camp?s arts and crafts day. Sundry designer frames border eyes in looks from Giorgio Armani and Marc Jacobs to Nike and Harley Davidson, and there is usually a trio of technicians in the shop, enabling multiple clients to summon help with a single pigeon call.
The staff at Natural Healing Arts Medical Center takes a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to health and fitness. Inside two Florida facilities, a roster of doctors teams up with chiropractors, massage therapists, and wellness counselors. They each work to structure personalized programs for patients with services ranging from chiropractic care and acupuncture to more modern treatments such as laser therapy. In an effort to foster continued care at home, the staff offers tips to optimize the healing process for current injuries or preventive measures against future aches and pains.