relax and learn

by erin thursby
Maybe you’ve got a list of things you’d like to learn, but you never had the time. If, so you ought to plan your next staycation (or weekend) around learning something new and fun!

learn to cook something new
If you have a favorite restaurant, be sure and ask if they hold cooking classes. Restaurant chefs generally will hold classes anywhere from once a month to a few times a year. For a full calendar of cooking classes, you’ll want to check out Apron’s Cooking School (10500 San Jose Blvd., 262-4187) inside Publix. It’s a 2,000 square foot facility with two kitchen classrooms. They offer everything from the basics to specialty cooking classes. They also hold couples cooking classes, kids and teen oriented classes and visits from celebrity chefs. You can view their calendar online at

improving your home improvement skills
Those with a DIY bent might want to head to their local Home Depot and ask about what classes they offer. You can learn everything from how to build your own deck to painting techniques and tile laying. They even periodically offer child-oriented classes, so you and your child can learn together. Go to to check out the types of classes offered.

take to the water
Jacksonville is so close to so many natural water attractions that during your staycation you might want to prepare for your next trip to the beach or the water. You can get scuba certification over the weekend at Scuba Lessons Jax (346-4246, Learn to surf at one of our nearby beaches. Most of the local surf shops either provide lessons or have info about who to contact.

time to tango
It’s true, there are a number of dance studios you can look up in the Yellow Pages, but if you don’t want to go to multiple classes, there’s always the free Salsa classes at The Grape in the St. Johns Town Center on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month.

get artistic
One time art classes or series abound here in Jacksonville. You can even take metal working classes with the Itty Bitty Smitty at Bead Here Now (see page 17 for a full schedule). You can also learn specific techniques from local artists at Reddi-Arts or sign up for classes at the MOCA or the Cummer. One of the newest art class offerings comes from the Lakewood after-hours studio called Yes You Canvas (6012 San Jose Blvd., 993-9047) which aims to teach novices who have never painted before in just two hours. It’s only $35 and includes a big 18″ x 24″ canvas plus all the needed materials. Check them out at Couples, groups and individuals are encouraged to sign up and bring beverages and snacks to make a party of it.
Whatever you decide, there are plenty of fun things to learn and do on the First Coast!