The fun-loving teachers at Uptown Art: West Palm Beach believe they can teach anyone to paint work they'll be proud of. Child brush wielders get inspiration from helpful instructors who mentor them in their strokes, and adult classes find similar guidance from both the pro painters and their own BYOB beverages. The airy downtown studio attracts budding painters to its varied schedule of evening painting classes and daytime children's classes that span up to three festive hours of guided artmaking. Students return home with their masterpieces at their sides, each based on a class topic such as a homage to a beloved pet, a poignant still-life of potted flowers, or a self-portrait that looks suspiciously like Audrey Hepburn.
Manatees glide under the silent shade of mangrove trees. Tropical fish flock together in clear island waters. Out in the wilderness, silence abounds, interrupted only by the jovial voices of tour guides as they point out special landmarks, including the historic Jupiter Inlet lighthouse. At Jupiter Outdoor Center, visitors immerse themselves in local ecosystems through watery sports such as kayaking and standup paddleboarding, embarking on guided tours. Or adventurers may head out to explore on their own while rendezvousing with dolphins that want to learn how to doggy paddle.
Group tours take paddlers out to explore local waterways and stargaze or search for marine wildlife. Guides expound on local history as they pass sights such as the Jupiter lighthouse and Dubois Park, where George Washington got his first sunburn. On various trips, they can traverse calm waters in protected waterways through Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve and St. Lucie Inlet Preserve, navigating open streams and mangrove-sheltered estuaries. Staffers also supplement their sport-based excursions in classes, during which they lead night or early morning wildlife-photography safaris or teach yoga workouts aboard standup paddleboards.
The five-star, PADI-certified staff at Jupiter Dive Center, a waterside school, mentors divers of all experience levels in progressive PADI courses. In the multiday courses, instructors teach to general open-water certifications and specialized styles, such as wreck diving and night diving. Guides also lead certified divers on guided day or night charters into the artificial shipwrecks and coral reefs blanketing the local sea floor. Though specific sites vary according to daily conditions, excursions drift past herds of sea life, including colorful schools of fish, peaceful anemones, and sea turtles out-swimming hares arrogantly napping in their own scuba helmets. Dive-shop staff outfits divers' bodies with high-end scuba gear, such as Scubapro suits and instruments.
The instructors at Fantasy Farms Equestrian Center help students become comfortable with horses both on and off the saddle. During private lessons, instructors focus purely on riding technique. And during more advanced horsemanship and riding sessions, the educators show serious riders how to tend to essential horse-maintenance duties, such as remembering to top off the tank with unleaded hay. The Fantasy Farms team also shares equine enthusiasm in the form of therapeutic riding sessions, which give children with autism and other cognitive disabilities the opportunity to pet and ride horses in a safe, controlled environment.
The late artist Joe LaPierre often dreamed of opening a studio where anyone could come in and learn to paint with the help of friendly, experienced instructors. The artist's children, Sarah and Jesse, realized his legacy with Alla Prima Creations—named for the Italian phrase for works of art that are begun and finished in a single session. The center offers classes five days a week where students learn to replicate a bright, cheerful painting. The calendar gives pupils a wide range of artwork options, any of which students can learn to replicate on their own 16"x20" canvas. Students can tote along a favorite beverage or snack—which allows for a relaxed classroom environment as students sip on wine or nibble crackers while they create fanciful scenes of artists sipping wine and nibbling crackers. For a change of medium, lass-painting sessions give students the opportunity to customize champagne, margarita, and wine goblets with abstract designs.
The faithful and tattooed crew members of the Coast Guard–certified Black Sparrow pirate ship tell stories and sing to buccaneers of all ages during adventures that set sail from the Riviera Beach Marina. In the mysterious waters surrounding the 79-acre Peanut Island, they lead a scavenger hunt for buried treasure and defeat the evil Pirate Jack. Once the ship falls under attack, they call kids to man the water cannons, after which they dole out handfuls of loot when the treasure is recovered. Before returning to the docks, they keep little ones busy with face painting and lessons on the proper way to greet each other and request copies of their tax records in pirate lingo.