AFAA-certified fitness instructor Kari Fundingsland did three decades' worth of research before opening Kari Kardio. Beginning with her first Jazzercise center in 1983, she amassed group- and personal-training knowledge at gyms stationed from the United States to Australia. She took note of club fads and their effects, and experimented with different exercise styles to create the Kardio Flex System—a malleable workout template that allows instructors to pair her proven exercises with their own music playing over speakers or inside their heads. Today, more than 30 group classes per week at Kari Kardio attest to the breadth of her industry savvy.
With backgrounds in competitive athletics, personal training, and other high-level fitness activities, Kari Kardio’s teachers pair time-tested training methods with the latest workout trends. Their classes—which run the gamut from spin to kickboxing to strength training—accommodate all experience levels with safe exercise modifications. Treadmills and stationary bikes line the 9,000-square-foot studio, helping students chase their fitness goals and complete stationary paper routes when not attending classes.
The art masters behind Vino's Picasso throw pretentions aside during each of their painting sessions, where artists of all skill levels gather to express their creativity and make new friends. As students arrive with their favorite drinks in tow, they settle in amid lime-green walls dotted with finished paintings. Local artists pass out all necessary supplies?such as acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, and easels?and begin a lesson on a particular painting while offering tips as pupils complete their masterpieces. In addition to their instructed sessions, Vino's also offers open paint sessions, and private parties for brides-to-be and spies who just want to learn about painting. While artists wait for their paint to dry, they can peruse the Starving Artist's gallery and bar, where limited production wine and craft beers bask in the glow of paintings produced by local artists. Students are also welcome to purchase gifts or stock up on supplies.
It only took two weeks on the picturesque shores of Tahiti and Moorea to send Craig Stewart into a tailspin. He and wife Evelyn fell in love with the South Pacific’s crystalline waters and beachy breezes, so much so that the prospect of remaining in their native Oklahoma turned gloomy. Six years after the Stewarts’ Pacific vacation, they stumbled upon Sanibel Island. With a love for the waters still coursing through their veins, they uprooted and moved there, making it home base for Adventures in Paradise. In 1986, they started out with one boat—Miss Paradise—and one tour, the sunset dolphin cruise. Today, the Stewart family maintains a much larger operation. Their tour topics range from fishing and shelling to dolphin watching to historical sightseeing on a trolley.
Mid Island Water Sports set up shop along the aqua shorelines of Ostego Bay to give everyone easy access to the Gulf, while also giving them enough room to ride free. From two locations, the crew hooks up aquatic adventurers with WaveRunners for freestyle rides along sandy beaches in one of the largest riding areas in the Gulf. Longtime locals lead tours via WaveRunner to spot dolphins breaking the sea's surface and manatees playing with sea kittens. To give locals and visitors an exhilarating new way to take in the Gulf's scenic vistas, the shop's US Coast Guard?certified captain sends them soaring behind him during parasail rides tethered to his high-tech, winch-style parasail boat for an adventuresome trip along the south end of Fort Myers Beach.
Before finding her calling as a yoga instructor, Sylvia taught biology, Earth science, and general science for more than 25 years. Throughout her years in the classroom, she practiced yoga as a way to calm her mind and balance her body. In 2005, she switched gears—she trained for more than 1,000 hours and earned her E-RYT 500 certification. She specializes in Kripalu-style mindfulness yoga, which emphasizes self-acceptance and consciousness of the interplay between life and yoga. Although she primarily teaches multi-level classes, some sessions, such as chair or adaptive yoga, are intentionally geared toward those with limited mobility. At the beginning of class, she occasionally reads inspirational passages or practices levitation.
Stingrays, dinosaurs, and faux hurricanes can all be found at the Imaginarium Science Center, which soaks spongy young brains in knowledge via hands-on exhibits and 3-D movies about the natural world. Families can observe moray eels and other marine life in the Window to the Sea aquarium, or reach out to gentle stingrays in an open tank. Several daily shows with live animals compete for attention with a dino dig where patrons learn how archeologists excavate fossilized bones using nothing but the power of their minds. Kids can emulate their favorite sports heroes in the Sporty Science Arena simulator, then imitate their favorite TV weather-reporting heroes as they witness a simulated hurricane.