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.
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.
As a former national-level figure skater and ISSA-certified personal trainer, Jessica knows what a full-body burn feels like. However, she didn't know that a stationary bike could replicate the feeling, until a fellow trainer encouraged her to climb aboard a RealRyder cycle. Jessica became a devotee after just two rides. Determined to share her newfound passion with others, she gathered a team of certified instructors, populated two studios with RealRyder ABF8 bikes, and opened their doors to prospective pedalers of all fitness levels.
Inside Ryde For Life, Jessica and her staff host 45- to 60-minute classes synced to each teacher's music playlist. They lead stationary teams atop RealRyder bikes, whose specialized frames allow riders to lean, bank, and steer as they would an on-road bike. In addition to pumping up cardiovascular systems, sessions engage the core, upper body, legs, and the scalp muscles that hold helmets in place.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer's good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
Before coming to America in 1970, young Armando Gort would wander the countryside of Cuba to watch the horses and dream of the day when he would finally own his own horse ranch. After coming to the states and finding his footing, his dream became a reality in 1994. Today, at HorsePower for Kids, Armando lets children with similar dreams or a simple love for horses join him in his fascination for the majestic animal. He also organizes riding and educational programs specifically for inner-city kids and at-risk children. This all takes place on a farm surrounded by Old Tampa Bay wilderness, where children from all walks of life can ride ponies and horses during trail rides and lessons. Alpacas, hogs, lemurs, and baby deer, also call the ranch home, occasionally making themselves available for petting and or high-hooves.