Fewer than 400 dentists around the world can currently claim accredited membership in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, but Dr. Dennis Lichorwic is determined to add one to their ranks. In the process, he's submitted to a multiyear system of peer review that includes written and oral exams and in-depth clinical case studies that are scrutinized by the members of the Academy.
This passion for continual education has helped make his practice the nine-time winner of Emerald Coast Magazine's Best Dental Practice award. Along with his partner Dr. Julia Sprang and their friendly staff of hygienists and dental assistants, Lichowic keeps up with new technologies to treat patients with popular new procedures such as Invisalign teeth-straightening treatments and ultra-quick Zoom! whitening.
Meanwhile, patients say aah in a pair of offices whose waiting areas, despite their stately exteriors, evoke nothing so much as a posh family room. Carafes of coffee sit atop a coffee bar in the waiting room, a flat-screen TV hangs over a fireplace that sucks pre-appointment anxieties from the air, and wooden floors lessen the institutional feel of treatment rooms.
Although true time travel is still a thing of science fiction, Teddy and Jenny Meeks have captured a similar sensation at Pier Park. In 2009, the couple purchased the 1964 Allan Herschell Carousel that had been an iconic attraction at the now-closed Miracle Strip Amusement Park. The 30 horses and two chariots were immediately swarmed with giddy riders—some children, and some adults who fondly remembered feeding the horses wooden apples at the carousel's former home. The spinning steeds so charmed the locals that Teddy and Jenny began a more comprehensive revival. They bought Miracle Strip's 1985 Balloon Race and 1952 Red Baron rides, and when they couldn't find the park's original 1975 Ferris wheel, they hunted for one of the same make and model.
The Big Eli wheel now awards its guests views over the Gulf of Mexico and several other classic rides, including a Tilt-a-Whirl and train cars that kids crank by hand. Flowers cloak hanging baskets, and topiaries mimicking animal figures accent sandy paths, adding to the venue's picturesque nostalgia. Teddy and Jenny have also installed a butterfly pavilion, about which Bay Life magazine reports that visitors can glimpse 700 flying specimens, hatching cocoons, and caterpillars drawing up blueprints for wings.
The seasoned aqua men who own St. Mary's haven for Scuba aficionados also own the 6,000-square-foot building that houses the business. The diving specialists oversaw the construction of what would become their own self-contained underwater-experience facility. Adding to varied careers that encompassed naval service and cave diving, Bruce MacDougall and Chris Whitlock opened Diver’s Den in 2000, scheduling charters for open-water dives or practice dives in the company's heated, indoor pool. Over the last decade, Diver's Den has become a well-regarded source for both recreational diving instruction and professional training of rescue personnel.
The team of PADI-certified diving teachers at Diver’s Den regularly explores the region's offshore diving sites aboard its 36-foot Gulfstream boat, the Georgia Wreckreation. The team members once memorably aided the underwater investigations of famed wreck historian Richie Kohler (whose conquests have included the Titanic) as he dove off the Georgia coast to visit mysterious sunken wrecks and his snooty in-laws who live in Atlantis' biggest mermansion.
Panama City visitors and natives are never more than a hop, a skip, and a parasail away from aquatic amusement, thanks to Adventures at Sea’s more than 60 locations, most stationed behind Panama City Beach's hotels and condos. The staff rents out pontoon boats for trips to Shell Island and pulls up to six riders on inflatable banana boats with a speedy jet ski. Experienced crews captain charter fishing trips and give fishers everything they need to catch trophies such as king mackerel, red groupers, and Stanley Cups that got away. After action-packed days filled with sunny memories, visitors can rent a lounge chair and soak up the sunset.
Most great things have humble beginnings, and Express Oil Change & Tune-Up Clinic is no exception. In its 31-year history it grew to more than 170 locations across 10 states. Within these auto havens, ASE-certified vehicle-maintenance professionals slake engine thirsts with their signature 10-minute express full-service oil change and a menu of other automotive procedures. Techs swap out old oil for shiny, new oil and a new filter, followed by a thorough inspection of the engine and inner workings that ensures cars can run for miles and won’t fail during drag races through mall parking lots. Their service centers also perform general maintenance such as brake and AC service, and more advanced services such as radiator maintenance and computer diagnostics.
Dr. Nitin Bawa is a man of many talents. Not only has he completed rigorous research on Alzheimer’s disease and experimental neurology, he has also gained experience in holistic medicine. It's no surprise, then, that the services at his practice range as widely as his background. General medical treatments tend to patients' overall health, with a particular focus placed on addressing conditions such as loss of libido or fatigue through bioidentical hormones. More aesthetically focused procedures ensure outsides remain as glowing as insides. Zerona weight-loss treatments reduce inches via topical lasers, and Botox, Restylane, and other dermal fillers smooth away wrinkles caused by frequent naps on wicker pillowcases.