Keys Cable and Adventure Park, a 50-acre property at mile marker 59 oceanside on Grassy Key, is instituting a monthly Family Funday and all are invited. The one held Sunday, Dec. 21, featured live music, art vendors, organic garden tours, bounce houses for the kids and free paddleboarding. Keys Cable offered a special $40 flat rate for wakeboarding all day with the equipment rental included. Local fish tacos (two for $5) and drinks rounded out the casual family atmosphere.
The goal is activity for all ages, said one of the owners, and the next Family Funday is set for Sunday, Jan. 25, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A beginner- and intermediate-level cable system allows adventurers to strap on a wakeboard and slide off a platform onto a seven-acre calm saltwater lake. As the wakeboarders get more comfortable, they can try tricks such as launching off ramps and trying flips. And if wakeboarders wish to get inspired, the Fundays offer an extreme wakeboarding demonstration.
Formerly the site of a cobia fish farm, the enclosed lake enables paddleboarders to see large mangrove snappers and other marine life swimming around while they play. The lake is 60 feet deep in the middle, and used to be a limestone quarry. In fact, the business owners find railroad ties and nails when they walk in the surrounding woods.
Keys Cable and Adventure Park by oTHErside Action Sports is operated by Matthew Sexton, 29, and the crew at oTHErside Boardsports, whose owners are Mike and Shana Walsh. The couple, now in their 30s, met in New Jersey and opened a board sports shop in 2007. Based in Islamorada, oTHErside also offers a kiteboarding school at Hawks Cay on Duck Key and The Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle in Islamorada.
Open for more than a year, the busiest times at Keys Cable and Adventure Park have been in March and July, Sexton said. He attributed this to the spring break crowd and lobster mini-season. “Especially when visitors don’t want to be on the ocean in big waves and heavy winds that come with rough weather, they can come here and still enjoy water sports.”
In the organic garden, where plants are for sale, visitors can find all sorts of tropical fruit: breadfruit, starfruit, bananas, and a variety of mangoes to prolong the harvest of them. In the spice and herb area, there is moringa, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and citronella. Sweet potato, yucca, chaya, sugarcane, hot pepper, tomatoes, pigeon peas and a variety of native flowers round out the greenspace. Composting and worm farming enhance the garden.
And then there are bees. Fifty bee boxes produce pure raw honey for Keez Beez, and are for sale in a few sizes, 10-ounce, 16-ounce or two pounds. Depending on what flowering plants are blooming, the honey may be enhanced by Brazilian pepper, seagrape or black mangroves flavors.
An open-air watersports shop near the garden has items for sale. It’s also where watersports participants sign waivers and pay for services. An hour-long wakeboarding pass is $32 plus rental gear for $17, which totals $52.67 including tax, according to the website. For more information or to book some time, call 305-414-8245 or visit www.keyscable.com.