Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Across its 30 acres, Battlefield Orlando transforms from a jungle environment dense with verdant trees to an urbanized expanse of bunkers, forts, and three-story towers. Designed for paintball players of all skill levels, games focus on good sportsmanship and are supervised by referees who discourage any belittling. Clad in V-Force masks, players wield Tippmann 98 paintball guns as they plot their next offensive strike while crouched behind a helicopter or dressed in a Trojan costume. Along with games on its sprawling grounds every weekend, Battlefield Orlando hosts speedball games on its smaller field littered with inflatables.
At Combat City combatants are outfitted for controlled engagement using real weapons in a 40,000-square-foot, air-conditioned indoor arena housed in a converted Publix. After briefing players on using the gear and the rules of play, the staff releases players into the arena, where they test their skills among rooms, corridors, and plywood houses. In addition to the indoor arena, Combat City has 180 acres of open and wooded terrain available to combatants.
With 30 years of high-quality home cooking beneath her belt, owner and chef Deb Swartz crams studious brains with recipes for seasonal delights in succinct demonstration classes that pepper tongues with sample tastings of a complete meal’s worth of recipes. Hosting 30 students each, the Cooking Essentials series fills Sunday afternoons with simple home recipes based around versatile techniques such as broth making, meat braising, or meat praising, which boosts protein self-esteem with compliments written in butter. Attendees can register for the January 15 session on winter soups to discover the secrets behind simplified gumbo or to craft a slurpable, sugary treat in the form of blueberry dessert soup. Alternatively, January 29’s session on winter fish dishes explores the methodology of seameats such as crab bisque or fish baked three ways.
Nestled in the shadows of ancient oaks and towering cypress trees, Kissimmee Bay Country Club's 18-hole course takes golfers through 6,486 yards of fairways and greens lined with serene water hazards. In total, the course features a dozen ponds that come into play on nearly every hole, challenging players to try forced carries and other crafty shots. The verdant course also peppers a dash of wildlife into rounds, as sand hill cranes are often spotted along the fairways and waterways. Before taking to the course, golfers can warm up their swings at the driving range or motivate golf balls by showing them how easily they can be replaced at the pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
There’s nothing like skimming across Lake Tohopekaliga’s surface, propelled by a 500hp fan. That’s the thrilling experience offered by the Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours, which drift in the gentle marsh to catch sights of great blue herons, 12-foot alligators, snails, and other native creatures. All the while, your guide will provide expert information on the lake and the surrounding terrain, plus help you spot the wildlife.
While other tour guides pack groups into 12-passenger boats, Wild Willy’s keeps it passenger numbers low to reduce weight and increase speed. Up to six guests can board one of the airboat, which sail past reeds and Spanish moss before. Afterwards, you can take pictures with resident baby gators Thunder and Half-Stripe in the visitors’ center. And safety is a major focus at Wild Willy’s—guests should arrive 15 minutes before their tour time to receive a Coast Guard-required talk about safety.
With 45 academies across 16 states, Championship Martial Arts instills confidence, self-discipline, and healthy lifestyles in men, women, and kids of all ages through its fun karate classes. Certified instructors help adult students burn fat and build muscle with motivating, no-pressure karate courses, while kids and teens learn respect and teamwork with youth classes for ages three and up. Under the watchful eye of skilled martial arts experts, martial artists safely punch, leap, kick, and block their way to personal achievement and good health.