Initially daunted by the demands of his first Bikram class, Om on Fire! Yoga director Doug Shorts accepted the challenge to his physical ability, returning to class again and again to build his form, technique, and stamina. Once he felt he had truly mastered and become at home with the style, Doug committed himself by training to become an instructor, accruing 1,500 hours of in-class teaching experience to forge a patient, empowering instruction style. Now, during studio classes, he leads students of all skill levels through challenging sequences of yoga poses to methodically strengthen muscles, realign vertebrae, and cheer up dejected mood rings amid a heated practice space.
Palm trees and ocean views show up in unexpected places at Tenacious Tan + Spa—on clients' nails. Impressive nail art is just one of the services the salon offers, along with airbrush tanning, makeup application, waxing, and haircare. Massage therapist Leesa pampers clients with massages, such as the hot-stone massage with a choice of soothing aromatherapy scents.
At Philly Station cooks build their eponymous sandwich by piling an Amoroso's roll with rib-eye steak and housemade cheese sauce. They create variations of this specialty sandwich by swapping the steak for chicken or a vegan meat substitute or topping it with bacon, teriyaki, or feta. Their sandwiches pair nicely with housemade soups, such as from-scratch dumplings and chicken off the bone ensconced in a sourdough-bread bowl. Tastykakes and Utz potato chips round out the East Coast experience, as does the graffiti-style mural on one wall that pays homage to Philadelphia better than a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Rocky.
At Ace of Hearts Ranch, more than 23 acres of sandy trails, grassy paddocks, and pine woods shelter riders as they explore the surrounding area during trail rides and eco tours. The property features bucolic landscapes as well as gems such as a log cabin, five ponds, and an island gazebo. The friendly staff offers guided tours of the local flora and ecosystems as well as boarding for horses.
At Oktoberfest, located amid the historic buildings and tree-lined corridor of Brevard Avenue, revelers clink steins full of imported German beer while noshing on authentic eats, listening to live music, and participating in a Hans & Franz look-alike contest. The Hoffbrauhaus beer garden's German vendors furnish vacant bellies with delicacies such as bratwurst with sauerkraut, candied apples, and potato bread dumplings, all prepared with locally grown ingredients when possible. Freshly lubricated gullets can then warble "Baby Got Back" during the yodeling contest or sing along to the live sounds of Vintage as fireworks explode in the background. A Miss Oktoberfest bikini pageant ensues at 11 p.m. to entrance ocular cavities like the pontifications of Nietzsche entrances a curious toddler.
The size of the universe is nearly beyond comprehension, yet somehow it all seems to fit within the Eastern Florida State College Planetarium & Observatory. Nestled along the shores of Clear Lake, the planetarium and observatory take visitors throughout the solar system, across the spirals of distant galaxies, and right into a black hole's solid candy heart. Two star projectors work together within Star Theater, where a 70-foot screen recreates the night sky with special effects and lasers. This allows the planetarium's team to take audiences on a tour of different constellations, or combine music and laser effects for a bit of fun. The Discovery Movie Theater screens science documentaries, while a space-themed art gallery takes a more creative look at the heavens.
Interactive science exhibits sprawl across the rest of the facility, which boasts free entry for all. One of these—The Foucault pendulum—proves Newton's First Law of Motion in a clear, visual way. A giant 235-pound pendulum swings from the ceiling, striking a golf ball from a tee every 26 minutes on the dot, in perfect harmony with the Earth's rotation. In another area, a rooftop telescope looks into the heavens and displays its findings on a computer monitor for all to see.