Lion Country Safari is a zoo with no cages. Instead, more than 900 animals, including the largest zebra herd outside of Africa, roam its 320 acres freely. During drive-through safaris, cars tour seven sections of the preserve—which represent different areas such as western Zimbabwe and the Serengeti—to see llamas, asiatic water buffalo, chimpanzees, and white rhinoceros. Lions have a section all to themselves so that they don't prey on other animals or disturb them with giggles from the pride's late-night slumber parties.
In addition to the four-mile drive, Lion Country Safari's Safari World allows guests to explore rides and attractions as they visit with animals on foot. They can feed giraffes, practice animal-massage techniques at the petting zoo, or hop on the carousel next to Lake Shanalee's paddleboat rides. After kids splash through the interactive Safari Splash waterpark, they can hop onto the ferris wheel or ask exotic birds for advice on how to fly.
Nestled above a wildlife refuge, Lazy Acres Farms spreads its dirt-and-grass paddocks out over 5 scenic Floridian acres. At the heart of the boarding and training facility, a 12-stall, center-aisle barn flanks a large, lighted arena filled with all-weather footing. There, head instructor Shannon Reilly, who has ridden since age 4 and has taught for more than 15 years, coaches pupils in English and Western riding styles, whether they’re learning for pleasure or to prepare for Lady Godiva costume competitions. Certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, Reilly treats special-needs children and adults to therapeutic lessons, and Lazy Acres is also home to Reilly Hyland Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit haven for abused and neglected creatures. Outside the ranch, trail rides wind through paths of western Palm Beach County, where equestrians bask in the fresh air while looking out for A-list gators hiding from the paparazzi.
Since 1983, My Gym Children's Fitness Center has blossomed into more than 200 locations spanning 25 countries, striving to foster children’s cognitive, emotional, and physical development in a structured, safe environment. Guided by founder Randy Bertisch’s vision, teams of motivating and energetic instructors weaves music, dance, and gymnastics into classes that boost little one’s self-esteem and creativity at each location. During martial-arts and gym classes, which are divided by age, kids pump up their muscles and coordination skills, preparing them for a future of battling dragons. The open-play sessions welcome kids to caper about the vibrant facility’s play equipment, interact with toys and games, and plunge into bottomless ball pits. Both the classes and open-play sessions cater to kids 6 weeks–13 years old.
Roughly 15 minutes from West Palm Beach lies 20 acres devoted entirely to animals. More than 140 animals make their home at The Good Earth Farm and Foundation. The staff—which includes an animal reiki practitioner and psychic—helps these animals heal and lead happier, healthier lives. The animals and staff educate the public at the children's zoo and through programs such as animal assisted therapy for children. The Good Earth Farm and Foundation can also serve as a venue for weddings and birthday parties.
Matthew Altbuch started learning the art of circus performance at the tender age of eight, quickly mastering the unicycle, juggling, and the trapeze. Throughout school, he performed in talent shows, ultimately going on to spend time with the Florida State Flying High Circus after college. Eventually, he realized his passion lay in sharing the circus arts with others, so he founded Aerial Trapeze Academy to carry out his mission of training performers around the world. He now lives his dream, joined by three other teachers as he holds trapeze classes for the next generation of gravity-defiers.