In 1980, Harry and Darlene Kelton moved their houseboat to the Pelican Harbor Marina and discovered an injured brown pelican. Without the aid of animal-care experience, they removed a fishhook from his mouth and rehabilitated him. This led them to form the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station in their shed. With the help of volunteers and trained staff, the seabird station rescues, treats, and rehabilitates sick and injured wildlife, and promotes their preservation with educational programs and research efforts. The center specializes in brown pelicans, most of which are entangled in fishing tackle, but will treat any animal brought in for care. In 2007, they treated 87 bird species and 39 mammals, nonmigratory birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.
Voted "Best Bar" in 2011 by the New Times, Whiskey Tango All American Bar & Grill whets appetites with an eclectic menu of dishes inspired by America's culinary topography. Chef Elliott’s spaghetti sandwich gives dizzy forks a whirling respite with its buttery loaf of toasted garlic bread stuffed with juicy chicken, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and cascading ringlets of spaghetti ($8.95). Pursed lips can slurp spoonfuls of Georgia sweet vidalia onion soup, crowded with caramelized slivers of vidalia petals and capped with melted cheddar cheese ($5.95) before bare teeth shred tender morsels off a main course of St. Louis–style ribs ($13.95 for a half rack; $16.95 for a full rack). Like eating steak with chopsticks, the San Diego tuna nachos synthesize distinct food identities by topping fried wanton chips with slices of sushi-grade tuna cooked rare, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger ($13.95).
The organizers of Out-Fit Challenge, the first national LGBT mud run obstacle course, aim to spark new friendships between its runners by creating challenges that require not only personal perseverance, but the occasional helping hand. Obstacles such as barbed wire crawls or mud pits force racers to get dirty, and tandem climbing walls make runners rely on each other to progress.
After making it to the finish line, participants mingle with newfound friends or long-lost parents at the after-party. After showering, racers can change into their event t-shirt and don their finisher’s award with pride. Each participant can pick up their complementary beer from one of the bars, before mingling, dancing to live music, or chowing down on the food vendors’ grub.
The French Quarter, the signature restaurant of the Mardi Gras Casino, features an upscale menu brimming with sandwiches, steaks, and seafood. Sandwiches such as the portobello burger, marinated and grilled with roasted red peppers, silence stomachs begging for breaded bliss ($7.95), and fans of beef and silent t's sink their incisors into 8-ounce filet mignon ($23). Pan-seared mahi mahi covered in fresh mango salsa ($13.95) swims into the bellies of seafoodies not already noshing on an 8-ounce sirloins accompanied by jumbo shrimp ($20.94). Live dog races and panoramic views of Fort Lauderdale also entertain diners from the comfort of their tables or the discomfort of their mohair unitards.
The Marlins take the field at Marlins Park: an eco-friendly, 37,000-seat facility equipped with a retractable roof, plexiglass fish tanks behind home plate, and a vibrant sculpture in left-center field that kicks into motion for Marlins home runs. Born in 1993, the Florida Marlins quickly established themselves as contenders in the National League, taking home World Series titles in 1997 and 2003. And today, after some light rebranding to go along with the new stadium, the rechristened Miami Marlins aim to continue traditions new and old, expand their list of Hall of Famers, and train the stadium’s fish to stealthily intercept batting signals.