After a year in law school, Jason Bradstreet felt unsatisfied. A mission trip led him into a period of introspection that caused him to rediscover his passion for playing Division 1 tennis. Channeling this athletic experience into organizing classes that might help children to discover the glee of good-natured competition, Jason founded Bradstreet Sports.
Even as his staff of certified and licensed coaches mentors kids aged 3 and older in soccer, tennis, and martial arts, Jason aims to expand the world of athletes with a range of arts and humanities classes. Lithe dancers lead students in modern jazz and hip-hop dance, sharing facilities with performing- and visual-arts classes taught by actual private-school teachers and opera courses taught by actual phantoms. As pupils rush by clutching martial-arts trophies, instructors aim to imbue their charges with life skills and an appreciation for skills they might not have otherwise discovered.
Programs take place at a range of sites such as the Citrus Park Christian School, where a multipurpose covered court shelters children and instructors from the sun and keeps birds from discovering volleyball. Enrichment classes commence in the school's science lab, computer labs, and art studios, with performance classes held in the school's expansive sanctuary.
Grand Prix Tampa's sprawling grounds host adrenaline-spiking activities including go-karting, miniature golf, and a ropes course. The big track's tire-bordered speedway invites drivers to rev through tight corners and speed-encouraging straightaways, and the family track welcomes single- or double-seat karts during more tot-friendly races. Racers can catch their breath and calm skittish fuzzy dice on one of two 18-hole mini-golf courses, where dimpled spheres roll through miniature castles and dodge fountain-speckled waterways on their way to the hole. A towering geodesic dome houses a winding ropes course, which challenges climbers to hop across bouncing wooden steps and pegs while supported by a safety harness. The turbo bungee's elastic trampolines launch tethered guests into the ether, where they can catch the wayward baseballs soaring from nine onsite batting cages. Meals at Grand Prix Tampa's Pit Stop Cafe silence hunger pangs with sandwiches, snacks, and kids’ meals, which guests can dine on beneath the Castle Arcade's twinkling panoply of claw machines and air-hockey tables.
For more than 50 years, family-owned Pin Chasers alleys have been adding perks to the bowling basics. Leagues for all skill levels, six-week lesson plans, and the immersive light shows of late-night Cyber bowling entertain families with the fundamentals. It's when the scoring systems—equipped with touchscreen consoles and customizable backgrounds—boot up or the automatic bumpers raise between turns that players might first take notice of their high-tech surroundings. As for service, the inviting staff hand out complimentary bowling shoes and socks, and will assist guests in picking out the right type of ball rather than noisily sandblasting one down to size when it doesn’t fit. The full-service cafes also manage to defy expectations by serving breakfast fare around the clock.
Friendly employees and full bars span each of Pin Chasers' three locations, but other amenities differ. Visitors can aim cues at Veterans' four billiards tables, stretch their thumbs at East Pasco's arcade, or try to count all of Midtown's 50 lanes without first extracting their fingers from their bowling balls.
After becoming a success in the railroad and steamship industries, 1800s businessman Henry B. Plant set his sights on a new venture: building a luxury hotel near Florida's cerulean shores. His vision landed him in an area that was but swampland and sand in 1889 Tampa. But three years and $3,000,000 later—including $500,000 in furniture and art—he successfully opened The Tampa Bay Hotel, a 511-room luxury destination sprawled over six acres.
Today, Henry's architectural and engineering feat serves as the home of the Henry B. Plant Museum, an institution that educates visitors on Plant's life, the Victorian period, and life in early Tampa. Among the building's groundbreaking aspects, the hotel was among the first in Florida to feature electrified rooms and pampered guests with in-house billiards, a babershop, and a telegraph office. His guests even enjoyed in-room telephones and private baths with hot and cold running water, a lofty accomplishment considering man wouldn't invent soap for another 13 years. The museum has now been restored to its former glory, showering current visitors in Victorian opulence, art, and its historic achievements.
Andres Kerllenevich began flying helicopters as a hobby while making a living as a lawyer. As time passed, he earned his license and left to fly tours over Alaska and New York City. He eventually settled in St. Augustine, the historical city where his wife fondly remembered vacationing as a child. Now, seven other FAA-certified pilots join him in leading tours over the coastal castles, historic lighthouses and colleges, and vibrant downtown areas of St. Augustine, Tampa, and the Florida Keys.
At the helm of Robinson R44 helicopters, the pilots soar at heights of up to 1,500 feet past Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Porpoise Point, and the towering red cross at the Mission of Nombre de Dios. They also guide tours above Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and the Florida Aquarium, while granting passengers glimpses of coastline populated by bottlenose dolphins. Pilots have also orchestrated aerial marriage proposals, during which the groom-to-be points out his question written on the beach or on a rooftop sign. The tours grant a bird's-eye view for photography and videography sessions.
It may be the inaugural year of Tysons Fall Harvest, but it already has the docket to rival any well-established fall festival. This family-friendly event will keep kids entertained with plenty of activities, from pony rides and petting zoos to a hay maze and pumpkin carving. Those who need to brush up on their carving skills can sit in on demonstrations from master pumpkin carvers or head to the craft corner to paint or just hug a gourd that escaped.
Even without kids in tow, adults will have plenty to do, including visiting the wine and beer garden for unlimited samples when they purchase a tasting glass, as well as shopping a marketplace with pumpkins and fall decor. They might even consider dropping by Rocknoceros's set at the live-music stage; they might be a kids' band, but their acclaim has landed them gigs at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and the Kennedy Center. A portion of the Harvest's proceeds will benefit the Spirit of Hope Children's Foundation.