Family Attractions in Ft. Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale is known as “America’s Venice” because of the number of canals it has. There are water taxis that make it fun for the whole family to go on aquatic tours. It also has the deepest port, Port Everglades, in Florida making it a major boating industry hub.

Museum of Discovery and Science is not only a kid’s paradise, but the best educational system in Florida with hands on exhibits. The Discovery Center includes the Florida Ecoscapes, living coral, bats, bees, frogs, turtles and alligators. The IMAX theater shows science and other films daily. In the front atrium the family will enjoy 52-foot tall Great Gravity Clock, a kinetic energy sculpture. With over 200 interactive exhibits, the whole day will be filled with wonder and educational fun.

Hollywood North Beach Park offers a nice and easy walk for nature lovers (perfect for the family). It’s filled with lush trees and plants. Walk along the boardwalks built over sand dunes and enjoy the occasional sea turtle that likes to pop up at the delight of children and adults alike. The beach comes complete with lifeguard and picnic tables, so bring along a deli lunch. Public bathrooms are available also.

Wannado City is children’s roll playing theme park. This child-size representation of a city allows children to pick and choose which careers they want to participate in. They might choose to be a fireman in the morning, stop at lunch time to be a pizza baker and spend the afternoon as an actor or fashion photographer. It will make you want to be a kid just so you can try out some different jobs. The parents lounge is complete with computers, TVs, coffee house and “Wannafinder” which locates your child in the park.

Ann Kolb Nature Center was named after a dedicated naturalist. The 1,400 park is one of the largest wildlife parks in Florida. The family can explore the mangrove wetlands by canoe, foot or bicycle. On Saturdays they offer 40-minute guided canoe trips, January through March. Admission is free making it, as an added bonus, a budget friendly attraction.

Red and black - Piano keyCreative Commons License photo credit: Nick Hobgood

Red and black Piano key butterfly at Butterfly World

Butterfly World is a teaching attraction filled with everything butterfly. The family will learn how butterflies grow and what they eat. You’ll learn just what to plant in order to lure them into your garden. Explore the butterfly laboratory to learn how they breed and the butterfly museum where there are exhibits of different types of butterflies from all around the world.

Jungle Queen Riverboat has been giving water tours for the past fifty years. The family will enjoy the three hour day tour while mom and dad may enjoy the four hour dinner voyage, although kids are welcome too, where they will dine among the tropical atmosphere of a nearby island.

Water Taxi is not just a unique and fun way to travel along the canals, intracoastal waterways and rivers of Ft. Lauderdale, it’s also convenient. End at your destination of restaurants, shops and offices and then pick up the next water taxi to make your way back. The crew will even help you plan your day to see all the waterway sites on the water taxi. Or take the South Beach Express for a day cruise. If you are a large group, you can even charter one of the taxis.

Bonnet House is a 35-acre plantation and house which offers a guided tour that takes you through historic Florida. The two-story water front home was built in 1921 and is surrounded by a tropical garden. It’s a fun tour that takes an hour and a quarter to complete in which you will meet interesting people, see period artwork, lush estate grounds and architecture of the historic times.

Sawgrass Recreation Park, as part of the Everglade ecosystem, can be enjoyed by all. The kids will flip over the small zoo which includes a white alligator, tortoises and crocodile. There’s an RV park if you’ve traveled in the family home-away-from-home vehicle. The whole family will enjoy walking through the replica Native village. Don’t leave until you’ve had an airboat ride, the 30-minute ride is free with admission.

Old Ft. Lauderdale Village and Museum consists of a preserved schoolhouse, a research center and three 19th century buildings. Hands-on reenactments are setup for the children including a schoolhouse class programs. Guided tours of the exhibits and grounds are also offered. Lectures are given throughout the year.

Museum of Art is more than just an art museum with alternating exhibits, there are classes in music, art and exercise are available to visitors. The permanent exhibits such as “Diana a Celebration” and Ansel Adam’s black and white photography are among the most popular. Bold Latino artwork from artist in residence, Carolos Luna, is among their newest exhibits.

Seldom Seen Gallery offers one-of-a-kind American made furnishings and crafts. Also for sale are handmade jewelry, blown glass, ceramics and wooden crafts all of great diversity. A fun place to visit and shop while you are visiting Ft. Lauderdale. The kids will love the airplanes hanging from the 20-foot ceilings and the swinging music. Dancing is encouraged.

International Swimming Hall of Fame offers walking and group tours. The hall of fame is located at the back of the aquatic center. It includes exhibits in swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming. You’ll see the world’s largest and the world’s smallest trophies. There is a photo gallery and video archives available.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mark Sadowski

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