As a child, Aaron Pollard had access to one of the largest outdoor playgrounds in the world: the beaches of Hawaii. But he didn't spend much time messing around in the sand. His father taught him to surf his first wave at the age of 6 and the ocean has been part of his life ever since. Whether life guarding, surfing, or playing competitive water polo, he found more and more ways to occupy his time in the water—especially once he moved to Florida and teamed up with Karla Gore. She brought a similar love of watersports, which she discovered during her work as a marine biologist. Together, the two founded Surfit USA.
On a typical day, you can find them out with standup paddleboarders in group or private classes. Instructors lead fitness bootcamps on the beach as well as floating yoga classes and SUP classes for older athletes. In the summer, the beaches transform into a classroom for SURFit USA's kids' summer camps, which incorporate lessons in water sports and marine biology.
Since 1955, Mote has been working to explore, understand and unlock the mysteries of the sea to ensure that ocean resources are available for generations to come. Mote Aquarium features touch pools, shark, dolphin, manatee and sea turtle exhibits and more than 100 other species of marine life.
Since he was six, Nate Dunn has explored almost every form of water-bound sport, including surfing, kayaking, sailing, and even commercial fishing. Now his experiences allow Nate to share his knowledge of the water with locals, doling out rental paddleboards and kayaks. During his guided eco-tours, bobbing wanderers get views of mangroves, local wildlife, and disappointed surfers from the placid waters.
Beneath a canopy of towering palms, visitors to Sarasota Children’s Garden trace a winding pathway around a koi pond and animal topiaries. The idyllic environs stem from owner Joan Condon’s vision to provide a playspace immersed in Sarasota’s natural beauty. Garden curators hone in on nature’s whimsical side, dotting the premises with fairy gardens and sculptures of mythical creatures. Beyond providing ample space for frolicking and befriending retired tooth fairies, the garden also strives to introduce stewardship to young minds with classes and events.
LTM Party packs a kaleidoscopic selection of costumes, party favors, tableware, and gifts into more than 50,000 square feet of retail space. This Halloween, disguise an infant as a walking, talking peanut ($14.99) to help him or her infiltrate a nefarious legume-smuggling ring, or turn back the clock with a caveman wig and beard ($15.99 each). Customized, full-color banners ($19.99–$33.99), which buyers can design online, can advertise a bake sale, high-school graduation, or alien-abduction anniversary, and color-coordinated tableware ($1.99−$12.95) helps ensure that knives and forks tastefully match collars at a dog’s wedding ceremony. In-store experts can offer advice or help customers navigate the abundance of additional merchandise such as classroom supplies, balloons, and rental tuxedos.