During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
Since 2007, CARES (Community Animal Rescue & Educational Shelter) has rescued and found homes for more than 1,000 pets. CARES aims to both strengthen the bond between pets and people and enhance the quality of pets' lives through responsible adoptions, sheltering, and community outreach and education. Along with rescuing dogs from local high-kill shelters, the volunteers and staff pair pets with foster families and permanent, loving homes.
With its plush couch and bookcase stocked with esoteric objects, the stage at Side Splitters Comedy Club might make audiences feel as though they’re watching the evening’s comedian in their own living room, right down to the emcee who keeps announcing what’s about to happen. The homey stage’s brick walls and off-kilter neon sign have played host to numerous local comedians, as well as talents such as Tom Arnold and Gilbert Gottfried.
Tampa's Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is a cultural cornucopia celebrating the Mexican holiday with music, dancing, food, activities, children's attractions, and a car and motorcycle show. Follow the incipient online schedule—or flip through the Facebook page—for the still-developing calendar, which includes events such as salsa-dancing lessons, a tongue-tickling chili contest, and the glamorous Miss Tampa Latina pageant. During the daily happy hour 3 p.m.–6 p.m., thirsty guests can enjoy one free beer. Take in a salsa lesson, then meander over to the other salsa camp, where recently steadied shoulders will be tested against fiery tortilla-toppers at the salsa tasting station. While proud car owners buff their road babies for Friday's car and motorcycle show, their flesh-based brood can clamber (supervised) through the children's area and carnival rides.
The roar of falling pins, the sight of fist-bumping teammates, the aroma of bubbling pizzas. These stimuli greet the senses of visitors crossing the threshold into Mariner Bowling Lanes. A haven for family fun, the alley has all the necessary equipment to provide hours of bonding, including soda and snacks, arcade games, and bowling leagues.
Nature Coast SUP Stand-up Paddleboarding arms wave navigators with the paddles, vessels, and skills necessary to have safe and inspiring paddling experiences. Riders learn the basics of paddling in introductory classes before taking their boards out for peaceful traverses about the waters of Crystal River and Pine Island. Seasoned surf-goers can rent paddleboards for solo jaunts along the water's surface. While darting about, paddlers will be able to look down through the clear waters and see the local wildlife, including the possible chance to spot some of the Florida manatees that flock to the area's temperate weather and all-inclusive reef resorts during the winter.
Mixers sates all senses with its menu of classic bar cuisine, lively libations, and 18 HD television screens. Plates of macho nachos stick their esophageal landings via chili, cheese, and jalapeños ($6.75), and smoking wings let garlic and barbecue sauce do all the squawking ($5.75 for 10). Sample variations of burgers ($6.75+) or traditional philly sandwiches loaded with steak, onions, peppers, provolone ($7), and desires to punch slabs of raw meat. Pair pub-centric specialties of shepherd's pie ($7.75) and irish fish 'n' chips ($9.25) with frosty pints of Stella ($4.75 each) or a glass of house wine ($4.25).