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.
Based out of sunny Jupiter on the shores of the warm Gulf Stream, Scuba Works—named Best Dive Center in 2010 by CityVoter—guides aquatic adventurers on scenic diving tours. Helmed by a PADI-trained and certified diving instructor, the intrepid staff continually add to expertise with routine continuing-education courses. In addition to tours, Scuba Works offers basic and advanced open-water scuba-certification classes and stages annual productions of Jacques Cousteau's autobiographical opera, Dive In!.
The pro instructors at Jupiter Equestrian Center welcome every opportunity to blend their two passions: horseback riding and the gorgeous scenery of the gated Ranch Colony community. Along the facility’s 20-acre expanse, equestrians demonstrate horseback-riding and handling skills through lessons, trail rides, camps, and competitive shows. During lessons, riders master basics such as grooming and trotting or more complicated skills such as leaps and elective hoof surgery. At day camp, kids ride horses for part of the day and spend the remaining hours with an array crafts, games, hikes, and time aboard boats or in pools. Guides from the center's sister program, Sandi Trails, captain adventures into nearby wilderness on trail rides, some venturing into the sun-drenched depths of state park forests. Birthday parties stay on site, unleashing revelers and school-aged horses in a petting zoo or picnic area.