At Vayu Sailing, a U.S. Coast Guard–certified captain opens his 32-foot catboat to groups seeking gorgeous views and fresh breezes across the calm waterways of Pensacola Bay. As the captain harnesses the wind in his sails to fuel the boat for a three-hour excursion, groups of as many as six settle into the comfortable seats of their private vessel. As the sailboat navigates the scenic impressions of oceanic ripples, passengers can pop a complimentary bottle of bubbly, snap photos of picturesque sunsets, and enjoy leisurely plank walkings with friends or family. Vayu Sailing’s flexible schedule lets Groupon holders schedule their perfect sailing date through next spring, accommodating those seeking popular weekend evenings or aquatic cures for the Monday blues.
Pensacola's oldest surviving house located on its original site, the Quina House was built in 1810. The shingled-frame cottage was made of local pine, cypress, and oak with a double-fire chimney, butterfly roof, and a portico with columnettes. Its namesake, Desiderio Quina, bought the house in 1821, had seven children with his wife, Margarita Bauve, and ran an apothecary business. In the same year, the Spanish Floridas were incorporated into the United States of America⎯the official event was presided over by Andrew Jackson just a few blocks from the Quinas’ front porch. Desiderio and Margarita’s presence remains in the house today in their historical furnishings, which include a horse-hair sofa and a sleigh bed from 1830. Today, the Quina House Museum sponsors date-night house tours, monthly luncheons, and walking tours of the Seville Square Historic District so that visitors can experience life before fruit roll-ups.
For Captain Chris Williams and the Fish Happens Charters staff, spending a day at the office means bobbing across Pensacola Bay's emerald-green waters, past the area's sugar-white sand beaches. It's a gig that has its perks, and one that Chris and his crew are passionate about sharing. They do so by specializing in light tackle fishing with artificial bait, leading anglers out in search of everything from king mackerel and red snapper to much larger targets, including sharks. For the less adventurous, Fish Happens also offers family sightseeing tours, which showcase the area's million-dollar private homes which sound like the ocean when you hold your ear to their mailboxes.
Children at a birthday party with Nonie's Ark Animal Encounters might get to meet Jimmy, Jack, or Jill—but despite their deceptively human names, these guests are actually exotic animals. A naturalist and wildlife educator with a background in zoo-animal technology, Nonie encourages kids touch and sometimes hold live animals such as snakes, toads, chinchillas, and sugar gliders during hands-on interactive and educational presentations. Nonie has adopted and cared for each of these creatures, many of which were formerly unwanted pets. At some parties, Nonie also leads children in animal role-playing games like eating dirt cake and worms and doles out goodies such as safari helmets and outdoor toys.
To the parents observing classes from the mezzanine of Mojo Elite Gymnastics Training Center, it might look like their kids are simply playing. But classes aren't only about having fun—they're also designed to build strength, stamina, and self-confidence. Lessons are capped at six children, ensuring that kids get the individual attention they need to execute rolls, handstands, and even the parkour moves necessary to leap over obstacles such as two-story buildings.
Certified coaches lead the center's programs, tailoring their classes to meet the needs of specific age groups. They also host activities such as Super Saturday Nights, wherein parents drop off kids for supervised open play. No matter which activity they're hosting, the center's coaches are held to high standards, including required weekly safety-training sessions.