A bald eagle soars above Florida's everglades, its eyes scanning the creatures below—ranging from an alligator to a soft-shell turtle to a large vessel that seems to glide along the water's surface. This is one of Wild Florida's airboats, which journeys deep into Florida's untouched everglades on daytime and evening tours. A Coast Guard–certified captain controls the machine’s massive fan, which propels sightseers across marshes and down rivers, where they search for the 67 threatened species that call the Everglades' 4,200 acres home. As the airboat rounds a bend, its passengers notice a dark-green mass in the water. An alligator peeks it head above the surface, opens its jaws, and reveals rows of powerful teeth that could make any dentist rev a dental drill in excitement.
At the end of the tour, the captain and passengers unload at Wild Florida's 500-foot dock, but their ecological encounters are far from over. At the onsite wildlife park, visitors can hold baby alligators and whisper sweet nothings into their ear openings. It also showcases exotic African creatures, such as zebras, water buffalo, and emu. After a day of exploration, aromas of smoked barbecue lure visitors to the onsite watering hole Pete & Pegs Silver Platter Bar B-Q, which serves everything from pulled pork to gator tails.
Eye Express's squad of certified eye docs brings the world from soft to sharp focus by fitting faces with fashionable frames ($79 and up), lenses ($79 and up), and sunglasses. Amplify comfort and abate adjustments by having frames equipped with spring hinges, or snag a pair goggles molded from durable memory metal to assure they don't forget your birthday. Allergy hurdles are effortlessly surmounted with hypoallergenic frames made from stainless steel, titanium, and plastic, and the stalwart grip of silicone nose pads thwart spectacles' low-sliding escape plans. Depending on prescriptions and preferences, lenses can be imbued with glare-eradicating dexterity, or taught to harness the hue-shifting prowess of a Thanksgiving turkey with sun-activated tints.
Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been buying and selling new and used sports and exercise equipment. They are keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, Easton, Wilson, Nautilus and Schwinn, make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball, golf, soccer to lacrosse and football. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Aio Wireless is the brainchild of Jennifer Van Buskirk. In a former life, she acted as Senior Vice President of Mobility Strategy for AT&T, where her performance earned her enough trust from the higher-ups that they asked her to run their new company: Aio Wireless. Her new joint venture retains all of the reliability of AT&T's 4G/LTE network, but gives folks a chance to break free of contractual shackles with a pay-as-you-go plan. In fact, the whole process has been streamlined. Aio lets clients use their own cell phone rather than buying a new one with unlimited talk, text, and data plans.
Despite the cutting edge gadgetry and the reliable network, however, the stores' approach to technology is more than just practical. Their array of phone cases, for example, brighten iPhones, Galaxies and Lumias in neon hues. Their earbud headphones, meanwhile, let phone owners play their tunes on the go without schlepping their tuba everywhere.
Bright-blue garage doors slide shut over each unit inside the low-slung white buildings of Cowtown Mini Warehouse Self Storage, shutting off valuables such as boats, cars, or diamond-encrusted scepters from the outside world. Items are left inside the 240-square-foot spaces by clients who entrust the facility to safely and securely stow their belongings for a period of time. Owners rest easy knowing their boats are safely and securely tucked away for the cold months and smaller possessions are protected while they travel for extended periods of time. When they're ready to retrieve them, owners can show back up to the facility at any time of day or night to haul the items off.