If you part the fragrant, fruit-heavy branches of Mixon Fruit Farms’ citrus trees, you might spy an unusual sight: Burmese pythons and African land tortoises basking in the sunlight, surrounded by cages of roosting falcons.
The farm that began in 1939 as a 20-acre roadside fruit stand has stayed true to citrus farmer Willy Mixon’s vision of showcasing the region’s natural splendor. But in addition to an extra 250 acres of fruit trees, the farm has expanded its focus to include a wildlife refuge, where rescue volunteers nurse injured animals back to health and educate visitors on native and exotic species. The farm also hosts an on-site tropical garden along with dazzling koi ponds, and has a magical maze open to kids of all ages.
Along with daily tours of the grove and sanctuary, Mixon Fruit Farms also spotlights Florida’s bounty with citrus-infused ice cream, salads, and festive hats made of fruit at Groveside Café. Homemade fudge and orange juice also populate the 14,000-square-foot gift shop
Just minutes from downtown's bustling shops and overlooking the glassy waters of Tampa Bay, The Mahaffey's picturesque building hosts some of Florida's most entertaining art and performance offerings. Originally built in 1965, the renovated building's floor-to-ceiling glass façade pierces the night with softly glowing light, cordially inviting patrons inside and awakening desires in moths that can never be fulfilled. The box-style seating of the theater ensures clear sightlines for all patrons, and its excellent acoustics make the venue suitable for both thunderous rock bands and delicate chamber ensembles.
Three Florida-based acts will entertain crowds with a mix of R & B, Southern rock, and funk during "Beach Chair Blues Night," held in Jannus Live's well-appointed outdoor courtyard. Sitting in their own beach chairs, attendees can groove to the soulful sounds of the headliners, the Mike Kach Group, whose eponymous singer and keyboardist tickles ivories on piano, organ, and stray elephant. Local guitarist and vocalist Jimmy Griswold serves as a special guest for the evening, and Southern rock opening act The Standback Band will perform with a recruited roster of fellow Bay Area blues musicians.
The industrial-rock force of Filter pipes more than 17 years of raw, cathartic hits into the ears of fans, hammering crowds with its signature blend of mechanical mayhem and guitar-driven calamity. From the band's debut album Short Bus, which bore the mid-'90s smash “Hey Man Nice Shot,” through its latest collection of screamable valentines, The Trouble With Angels, lead singer and guitarist Richard Patrick’s urgent voice conveys a football coach’s heartbreak and a guidance counselor’s angst. Helping to fill State Theatre's lush interiors with impenetrable tunes, local rockers From This Fire and Nation Of Wealth entwine bodies in sinewy guitar lines and lobe-stroking sing-alongs.
Although Intersport Fitness Center houses a rock-climbing wall, and a sprawling weight room, there's still space for exercisers who don't want to work out alone. The facility's staff schedules one-on-one personal-training sessions and weekly group-fitness classes, including cycling and aerobics. Topping things off are amenities such as saunas.
XFC is a prominent mixed-martial-arts organization dedicated to finding the next generation of MMA superheroes through open tryouts so that these undiscovered fighters may one day climb into the bloodied center of a professional cage match. XFC XI: The Next Generation features four XFC Open Fighter Tryout winners as well as Micah Miller, Kim Couture, and many more. Watch as these skilled fighters vie for domination using techniques drawn from Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, tae kwon do, and more.