Just off the white-sand coastline of northwest Florida, Lanier Sailing Academy teaches students to captain their own aquatic adventures with classes in cruising, chartering, and navigation. Classes include programs for beginners to advanced students, starting with the Practical Sailing for Basic Keelboat Certification course, in which novice navigators learn to steer boats, trim sails, and avoid swashbuckling sea otters. While working toward certification in various programs, students explore the Intracoastal Waterway and its bounty of dolphins, rays, blue pelicans, and myriad fish. Lanier Sailing Academy’s experienced members earn membership into the Buccaneer Sailing Club and are able to rent and sail 22- to 25-foot boats at their leisure.
Sure as the rise of the twin suns above Tatooine, the Pensacola Para Con brings together fans of science fiction, horror, gaming, and anime for an annual weekend of subcultural panels and events. Celebrity guests from beloved franchises stop by to sign autographs and bask in the adoration of their fans, while industry icons talk shop about their latest invention: the two-sided die. A costume contest and parade put meticulous fan outfits in the spotlight, and replicas of such iconic items as the U.S.S. Enterprise's captain's chair and the TARDIS stand ready for photo opportunities. Throughout the weekend, the event stages host live music performances, panel discussions, and movie screenings.
Members of Freedom Boat Club enjoy the luxury of captaining their own aquatic excursions without the maintenance and storage hassles of owning a boat. Outings begin with a boat-orientation course, during which an experienced captain teaches students key nautical skills such as tying knots, docking in the wind, and navigating by the position of a half-eaten sandwich that kind of looks like the Big Dipper. Once skippers feel comfortable commanding a water chariot, they take to the seas for a day of sailing along with up to six additional guests. With the trial membership, boaters can choose any available Hurricane deck boat, inshore fishing boat, or pontoon. Hop aboard Orange Beach's 21-foot Hurricane 2100 to cut through the water on the strength of a 150-hp engine or commandeer Perdido Key's Sweetwater 2486 pontoon boat to benefit from a deck-top canopy in the event that a witch's curse makes it rain salamanders.
Visiting wanderlusters can unwind in the inviting alcoves of seafarer William Hazard Northup's historic, charming home, which houses trinket-filled curios and rich wooden embellishments. Guest rooms come stocked with complimentary beverages and baked goods, and offer Wi-Fi access, cable television, and private baths suitable for naval reenactments. Revel in the house’s sparkling chandeliers, spotless hardwood floors, and rooms where turn-of-the-century leaders would gather. Visitors can also shake off morning doldrums with Pensacola Victorian's full breakfast, a marriage of heartiness and elegance reminiscent of a bygone era.
After decades of winning the admiration of stock-car racing fans with his aggressive driving strategy and off-track charisma, Rusty Wallace now gives others the chance to experience the rush of racing. He joined forces with Sodikart to roll out the Rusty Wallace Kart Experience, pairing kart with driver at some of the country's most celebrated racetracks. Racers can hop in a custom RT8 (or its kid-friendly counterpart, the LR4) and hit the gas, tearing up everything from the versatile road courses and speedy main track of the Atlanta Motor Speedway to the challenging lava pits of the Milwaukee Mile.
But this go-karting business has a big brother?the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. It's a high-speed trip into the pro-racing trade, with breathtaking ride-alongs and racing experiences in stock cars. Guests buckle up and sit shotgun alongside professional drivers as they fly down straightaways and around curves. They can even get behind the wheel themselves, finally feeling what it's like to be a professional driver.
Dreamland Skate Center accommodates wheeled escapades in a recently updated facility that features airbrushed wall art and refinished flooring. After lacing up pairs of roller, speed, or inline skates, duos can orbit the baby-blue rink while listening to DJ jams or whistling a medley of cartoon theme songs. Cosmic laser lights permeate the premises on Friday and Saturday nights, when the center extends its hours until 11 p.m. In the laser-tag area, glowing beams propel competitors into hiding or spur them into action against faux foes. Nearby, an arcade attracts stationary visitors with air hockey, driving games, and a colorful prize wall.
At Skater's Choice, a separate roller rink in Parker, athletes test-drive skates atop colorful carpet in an area with lockers before zooming to the rink or forgoing rolling in lieu of arcade games.