Making memories nearly every day of the year, the steady-handed tour guides and pilots of Miami Flight Seeing conduct aerial surveys over more than 80 miles of Key Biscayne, Biscayne Bay, and downtown Miami. While skimming over pristine beaches and emerald-colored waters, sky tourists spot manatees, dolphins, manta rays, and other volleyball enthusiasts below. The high-winged observation craft boasts panoramic windows with virtually no obstruction, affording a clear view of all of the highlights narrated by the pilot on educational ventures. And yet, captains also know when to show restraint in their narrations; namely during the company's romantic sunset tour, which has prompted many an enviable marriage proposal.
For 17 years, Flamingo Gardens has gathered plant experts, landscapers, and other gardening connoisseurs to its annual festival. This year, the Broward Bonsai Society joins in the fun with an exhibition of the varied shapes and levels of perfection its miniature trees can hold. Displays from Alexander Farms, Greenhouse Orchids, and other vendors entice the eyes while guests wander about, taking in colorful performances from butterfly stilt-walkers and West African drummers. At the Butterfly Encounter, guests learn lepidopterist lore from expert Mike Rich while feeding live butterflies and teaching them about the updated food pyramid.
Wee ones, meanwhile, can head to the Kids Gardening Zone to decorate their own pots and plant a seed or romp through the gardens on a scavenger hunt. Plant experts also hold classes and demonstrations, including "Mounting Orchids & Basic Orchid Culture," and take guests on guided tours through the botanical gardens.
ATA Flight School’s trusty fleet of Cessna aircrafts provides students with a way to get hands-on experience to earn their private-pilot certification or instrument ratings. Based out of North Perry General Aviation Airport, the FAA-approved professional flight school employs a staff of certified flight instructors who coach aspiring aviators along the way and give pep talks to airplanes prior to liftoff. ATA Flight School also operates Miami Flightseeing, which whisks passengers aloft for tours including The Grand Miami Tour, which flies high over 80 miles of beaches and Downtown Miami, and The Miami Sunset Tour, which reveals beautiful views of the sun as it sets over the Everglades.
Upon entering The Native Village, before you even spot a loitering tortoise or run your finger across the scales of a baby alligator, you'll catch a whiff of wood fire. That scent acts as a drifting reminder of the village's purpose, which is to give visitors a glimpse into how the Seminoles lived in the Everglades during the early 1900s.
For more than 30 years, The Native Village has educated guests with guided tours and live demonstrations of gator wrestling and snake handling. Today, you can stop by the property's Big Oak habitat, where alligators, caimans, and crocodiles live side by side and, consequently, have to share the same tube of toothpaste. At the Gator Hole, Lunge?a 13-foot, 1,000-pound bull alligator?stuns onlookers but doesn't faze the wrestlers wrangling him into submission with their bare hands. But the village is home to cute creatures, too. You can get your daily dose of awws by visiting Chain Saw the prairie dog, Ghost the fox, and a whole roster of other mammals, reptiles, fish, and fowl that lived alongside the early 20th-century Seminoles.
The chefs at Se Llama Peru take a simple approach to making fresh ingredients shine. A section of the menu dedicated to the "most traditional" Peruvian cuisine includes a fragrant cilantro-beef stew, grilled octopus seasoned with authentic spices, and shredded chicken in a creamy sauce. Diners can also sample six different varieties of ceviche and an assortment of beverages, including Inca Kola, smoothies, imported beer, sangria, and pisco sours.
Even with the football game glowing on the 20-plus HD flat screens, you can't help but glance over when a dish emerges from the kitchen at Nicky's Restaurant Sports Bar. The sizzling seafood and juicy steaks give off an enticing aroma that can be a challenge to ignore. Chef Julio Renderos masterminds the full menu, folding fresh ingredients into the seafood specialties and favorites such as fiery wings, ribs, burgers, and tender lobster tails. Meanwhile, friendly bartenders take charge of the lengthy wooden bar, doling out frosty pints of draft beer and premium mixed drinks. Nicky's also offers free WiFi as well as buzztime trivia and Texas hold 'em nights.