Zuleta’s Indoor Batting Cages are owned and operated by Julio Zuleta, a veteran ballplayer who boasts a 17-year career in not only the Minor and Major Leagues, but also in Nippon Professional Baseball and the World Baseball Classic. Seventy feet of astroturf separate future sluggers from their robotic pitchers in four cages delineated by black netting that keeps patrons safe from stray balls and the occasional giant monster mosquito. Bring your own bat (wooden, aluminum, or pygmy round-eared) or rent an aluminum bat for $1. Practice like the pros on the same type of machines most MLB players use to warm-up during spring training. Controllable pitching speeds from 25 to 85 mph are available to suit any ability level and can take both baseballs and softballs.
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.
At the helm of Mangrove Masters is Florida native and USCG-certified Captain Jack Boutchyard, who loves to introduce visitors to the waters he calls home—specifically those surrounding Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Captain Jack brings along all gear, including fishing licenses, rods, and bait for flats fishing charters that chase trout near the grass flats and redfish when the tide goes out. For a hands-off outing, the sunset cruise charts course toward a horizon bathed in soft pinks and purples, presenting a colorful backdrop for dolphins and manatees at play. Treasure hunters can also opt to meet Captain Jack on the dock for a short jaunt to the white, sandy shores of North Captiva Island, which is only accessible by boat and teems with riches such as conch shells, sand dollars, and buried chests filled with pirate baseball-card collections.
A fog-filled laser tag arena. A bowling alley with 48 computerized lanes. A nine-hole mini-golf course. Superplay USA collects a wide range of family friendly activities inside a 70,000-square foot fun complex. Bowlers can take turns obliterating pins during sessions played by the game or by the hour. Cosmic bowling on Friday and Saturday nights further intensifies the 10-pin action by bathing the alley in black light that makes the lanes glow and reveals which bowling balls are really alien eggs. Galactic laser tag drops players into a fog-filled arena lit by strobe lights, where the sound of sci-fi music masks the footsteps of other players. The nine-hole mini-golf course punishes poorly aimed shots with bumps, secret alleys, and sharp turns. Kids can also work themselves into a frenzy inside Superplay's giant arcade and cool down over a burger from Duffy's Sports Grill.
Cardboard cutouts clad with cartoon superheroes and banners featuring beloved Hollywood starlets bedeck the walls of the Movies at Wellington lobby, reminding patrons why film viewing has become such a time-tested American pastime. Buttered popcorn kernels glint through front counters like diamonds in a jewelry-store case, luring those who want a snack while watching the newest releases in digital projection or innovative RealD 3D display. Guests can also question ticket takers about birthday-party packages for 25 guests, which offer unlimited popcorn, soda refills, and a tour of the attic, in which the projectionist stores his hand puppets.
Gulf Coast Kayak sits on the edge of Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve, a scenic sprawl of estuaries, back bays, and mangrove tunnels roofed by the interlaced branches of waterside trees. Their single and tandem kayaks give paddlers a way to drink up this scenery, instead of waiting on the shore, thumbs-outstretched, hoping to catch a ride from a passing mermaid. Alternatively, paddlers can opt for a guided tour, such as the Sunset Birding Tour, which can afford birdwatchers glimpses of osprey, herons, and spoonbills. For those who cannot make it to their storefront, Gulf Coast Kayak is able to deliver kayaks anywhere in Matlacha or Pine Island for a fee.
With a stable of two schooners, Appledore IV and Appledore V, which split their time between Fort Myers, Florida, and Bay City and Mackinaw City, Michigan, BaySail's captains ferry passengers about the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico during leisurely and educational tours. The sea vessels depart from Bay City to wind along the Saginaw River and into open water, letting passengers soak up summer sun or, in the autumn, traveling upriver for spectacular views of changing leaves and scarecrows playing hooky on the riverbanks. Come winter, the Appledore V makes its way to Florida, where it seeks out the dolphin populations of San Carlos Bay. All of BaySail's excursions are interactive seafaring affairs in which passengers are encouraged to help to crew the watercraft, learn about fish brought into onboard tanks, and force seagulls to walk the plank.