Channeling stress is key to a happy, healthy existence. For the limber, that's done by posing in the plow at yoga class. For foodies, it's preparing intricate meals. But for the trigger-happy, well, happiness is a warm gun. For them, mecca is known as E.W. Revere Gunshop and Range. What sets E.W.'s apart: inexpensive gun rentals. Just come inside and pick out your targets — paper perps range from the traditional silhouette of a generic male to a caught-in-the-act villain holding a hostage — and then select a weapon. Gun rentals are $7, and shooting lane fees are $9. Bring ammo (and save some pennies) or buy it there. The 50-foot indoor air-conditioned range is for pistols and .22 rifles only, but E.W.'s also offers gunsmithing and concealed permit courses. And you can fire before you acquire — if you like the rentals, E.W.'s also sells guns.
Flamingo Gardens
So many South Floridians are scared to venture west. University Boulevard may as well be the Everglades to them, and names like Nob Hill and Hiatus sound like faraway, mythical realms. When out-of-town visitors come calling, by all means take them to the beach. But then take them to a place where some wild things roam. Precariously poised at the very edge of civilization, the 60-acre botanical garden gives guests an eye-popping extravaganza of bromeliads, African violets, calatheas, and orchids — often for sale. If flowers aren't your thing, Flamingo Gardens has critters too. Not just wading birds and their precocious chicks but also bald eagles, bobcats, gators, butterflies, hummingbirds, and otters. This is also your only sure-fire opportunity to spot the elusive Florida panther, where the endangered cats slink around behind a glass enclosure, safe from the speeding vehicles that have decimated their numbers. It's kinda touristy and contrived, but it's completely free of silicone and coconut-flavored rum, which, by our yardstick, is certainly in its favor.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
Cristian Costea
At Hollywood's Hard Rock, the pool bar is not poolside — it's pool-middle, at the center of the swimming hole. But there's more here than just chlorine and tap water. There's sand too. Think of it as Hollywood Beach Inland. And no, you don't need to be a registered guest to dip your feet in. If the nearby slot machines don't tempt you out of the water, there's a rock mountain surrounding the lagoon-like pool that's worth scaling to get on the waterslide. Or take a soak in one of several hot tubs. The Hard Rock promotes its plunge as a good place to spot celebrities, but after Anna Nicole Smith's demise, all we saw on a recent visit were celebrity stalkers, including a dubious guy wearing socks under his Birkenstocks. But never mind gawkers like him — it's the cool water that will come in handy when the weather gets hot.
Holiday Lanes Bowling Center
Just before 10 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday, the lights over Holiday Bowling Center's 16 lanes go dim and projection screens descend from the ceiling. If it's Thursday, expect videos from a barrage of indie-rock bands — or at least erstwhile indie rockers who've since landed big record deals, like Modest Mouse. If it's Friday or Saturday night, the projection screens show hip-hop videos, and the alley's new owners flaunt the souped-up bass of their new sound system. The cacophony of falling pins adds an extra — and surprisingly harmonious — instrument to the music.
Seminole Casino of Hollywood
In the poker world, they're referred to as "the fish," and it basically means they're easy money. We're talking about those hoary folks who sit at poker tables all day, betting on every whim and giving up their retirement funds to the savvy 20-somethings who fold ace/king suited if the flop doesn't mesh. You find these suckas at the Seminole Casino — no, not the Seminole Hard Rock Casino — just the regular Seminole Casino, which happens to be right next door to the Hard Rock on State Road 7. The fish might have been attracted to the Lightning Bingo, one of the casino's original games that brags a winner every 30 seconds, or maybe it was the 850 gleaming slot machines including Vegas' "Little Green Men" and "Texas Tea." There's also the claim that the Seminole Casino of Hollywood paid out the highest Florida jackpot of all time — a cool $1.75 mil, although nobody is allowed to say when. Of course, the Seminole Casino doesn't have the same pizzazz as its famous neighbor, but for serious poker players, that just means no wait for one of the 29 tables. Another bonus: The hungry ghost of Anna Nicole Smith won't grab fried chicken off your plate.
Tree Tops Park
The highest elevation in Broward County is a whopping 29 feet above sea level, and it happens to be an important archeological site. These days, it's called the Pine Island Ridge, a massive live oak hammock that'll have you feeling oh-so-Hobbity. Since Tree Tops Park is located in Davie, you'll see plenty of horses here, but there's a lot to do on foot, especially if you stroll around the boardwalks, which cut through a marsh that's home to fish and odd-looking waterfowl. Mountain-bike riders can get lost in the trails that wind back in the shadowy woods, and canoes can ply the waters. But the big draw is the network of equestrian trails that lead horses to the top of the ridge — where, on a clear day, you can see all the way to... Plantation!
Grassy Waters Nature Preserve
One day while walking the nature trail at Grassy Waters Preserve, Janjay Gehndyu noticed that more bromeliads tended to flourish near wax myrtles. The green-minded, khaki-vest-wearing Palm Beach Atlantic University biology student happened to be doing his senior thesis on air plants, so he decided to study the effects of the wax myrtle using the natural environment of the park. He found it's likely that the wax myrtle is a natural pesticide, and he hopes it'll have a commercial use that might replace some harmful chemicals. "This is why we need wetlands," he explains. "This could save lives." Gehndyu, 22, has been planning the canoeing and bicycle safari trips at the Grassy Waters Preserve for more than a year now. The 12,800-acre wildlife preserve — which also serves as a water catchment area for West Palm Beach — isn't the biggest or the most exciting park in the area, but there's an admirable emphasis on environmentalism and preservation. The park is in the process of extending its nature trail — from which gators, otters, bobcats, and eagles are often spotted — and it also boasts a yearly photography contest that any aspiring shutterbug can enter.
Riverbend Park
Although it may seem like an odd hobby reserved for eccentrics who like to flail their arms but not move their legs, kayaking is actually a popular South Florida watersport. There are sunrise kayak excursions in Hollywood and midnight kayaking along Fort Lauderdale's New River. But you can't call either of those activities "communing with nature." For that, you need to drive north to the Palm Beach County/Martin County line and launch at Riverbend Park, just west of the Florida Turnpike and south of Indiantown Road. This eight-mile trail down the Loxahatchee River is like most things in life: It starts out pleasantly, lulling you into complacency, then it kicks your ass. At first, you'll paddle beneath a canopy thick with bald cypress, orchids, pond apple trees, and ferns. And lurking both in the dense jungle and the cloudy waters are alligators, turtles, osprey, and bobcats. But then you cross under the Florida Turnpike and return to urbanity, where you share the river with powerboat owners/dickheads who love to create wakes to capsize you. Upon arriving back at the park, feel free to key those boat owners' cars. It's not legal, but it sure is deserved.
Fern Forest Nature Center
In South Florida, getting "close to nature" often means fishing off a crowded pier or getting spritzed with juniper-berry body spray in the mall. But it doesn't have to be this way. At the Fern Forest Nature Center, easily found just south of Atlantic Boulevard on Lyons Road, you can stroll one of five very different trails. They range from the long (the one-mile Prairie Overlook trail loops through an open prairie) to the arduous (boots are recommended for the primitive and often soggy Maple Trail) to the wimpy (the Wetlands Wonder trail is a mere eighth of a mile, less than the average Super Wal-Mart). But our favorite trail splits the differences: The Cypress Creek trail is a half-mile jaunt through a tropical hardwood hammock. Willowy branches of red maples and bald cypresses shade a handicapped-accessible wooden pathway, giving a simultaneous sense of protection and immersion. But don't get too comfortable: Gray foxes and bobcats occasionally terrorize the trail, which takes about 20 minutes to complete and lands you at the nature center. Bonus: It's all free.
Markham Park
Ever since Hurricane Wilma did more damage to trees than buildings, mountain-biking trails have been the slowest places to recover. As an example of how a trail can be fixed up like new, look to Sunrise's sandy gem: the Markham Park Mountain Biking Trail, tucked into the 666-acre park just west of the Sawgrass Expressway and north of State Road 84. Broward County has been steadily rebuilding the harrowing climbs and steep drops of the ten-mile trail system with earth mounds dredged from the park's lakes. They've cleared away most of the downed melaleucas, Australian pines, and giant ferns to make the meandering journey over packed sand a little less treacherous. Oh, you were hoping for treacherous? Well, for the fey and the fearless, there are the narrow bridge crossings, perilous drops, abrupt switchbacks, and other miscellaneous obstacles on the highly technical trail called Rattlesnake Ridge. The park usually closes at 6 p.m., but it's 7:30 on those endless weekend summer nights.

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