Who doesn’t love Fort Lauderdale? Its such a beautiful town, close to many major metropolitan areas and just 3 hour flight from NYC. We visit it all the time especially in the dark of winter. The lifestyle here is easy and sunny. Because we visit it so often I am constantly looking for new and different things to do in Fort Lauderdale. I also love to explore the nearby area. Here are my off the beaten path 8 favorites:
8. Visit the Butterfly World
Butterfly world is a unique attraction and a great place to take even very young kids. Situated almost entirely outside, the attraction will take you over 13 distinct areas. Here you will have an opportunity to interact with butterflies, birds and insects. Make sure you have lots of space on your phone or camera to take many pictures. Wear very bright clothes in yellows, reds and blues and the butterflies will be more likely to land on you. The attraction can be easily visited in a couple of hours. Butterfly world is located about 20 minutes drive outside of Fort Lauderdale.
7. Meet some dinosaur relatives in the Alligator Farm
Everglades alligator farm is located on south Florida’s on Red Land Tropical Trail. This is definitely a must visit in the area. The farm features several exhibitions with hundreds of alligators at different stages of life. You can also get a ride of on the motor boat through the swamp lands. Encounter wild alligators, soft shell turtles and birds on your ride. Wear clothes that will dry easily because you will get wet – especially if you seat at the front where the best views are. Get to the farm by 12 so you can catch all three shows (snake show, alligator show and feeding of alligators) Alligator farm is located about one hour and ten minutes drive from Fort Lauderdale. Although a bit of a drive, this unique experience is definitely worth the commute.
6. Try to solve the mystery of the Coral Castle
Coral Castle is a limestone structure created completely by hand by an eccentric freemason, Edward Leedskalnin, over 60 years ago. Known by some as America’s Stonehenge this structure is basically a giant rock dollhouse. Edward constructed the house to accommodate his family (he didn’t have one). His genius for construction can be seen through. Edward was assisted by nothing more than the most primitive rock carving and engineering tools. But his structure features bedrooms, a throne room, a bathtub and even a “punishment room” supposedly created for his future wife. Edward build mostly during the night adorning his rock castle with freemason symbols, and legend has long said he was assisted by aliens in the project. Many TV shows and conspiracy theorists visited here, and this eccentric symbol to one man’s genius is definitely worth a stop.
5. Play at the Science Museum of Fort Lauderdale
Museum of Discovery and Science located in Fort Lauderdale is the quintessential children’s science museum packed to the brim with a plethora of kid friendly activities and fascinating exhibits. Even my two, who have been somewhat spoiled with extraordinary things to see and do, found the place fascinating running from exhibit to exhibit for hours. Of particular interest is their 7 dimension theater, the IMAX, 3d printer workshop, and of course this awesome snapping alligator turtle. Stop by here on your visit with kids to southern Florida for a great educational activity while traveling. This place is even more awesome if you have hit a rare stormy or rainy day while on your vacation in Florida.
4. Eat at Food Truck night in Young Circle in Hollywood
Every Monday night the Hollywood based Young Circle park hosts a food truck night. More than 40 trucks come here serving every type of truck food imaginable – from Cuban to seafood to American and acai smoothies. The event starts at 6 and goes until 11 pm every Monday. A unique kids playground in the park is an awesome way to release after dinner energy, and a permanent glass blowing workshop and store located in the park gives you a chance to create your own work of art.
3. Stroll around the beautiful Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Vizcaya, originally build as the Florida winter estate of a wealthy businessman is a huge museum and garden, and is definitely worth a visit. The inspiration for this property came from the great estates of Europe, and that influence is visible through. In the main house, beautifully appointed grand halls surround themed bedrooms, such as the Marie Antoinette bedroom, the Venice themed room, and others. The gorgeous gardens are a photographer’s paradise. The gardens are situated on the water. You can easily spend day here, wandering around or just enjoying a book in a quiet spot. Visit here with a family or a spouse. My kids particularly enjoyed their maze and “pirate ship” relics on the water.
2. Feed the flamingos and see an amazing wildlife sanctuary at the Flamingo Gardens
This is probably one of my favorite children’s attractions of all times. Flamingo Gardens in South Florida is sprawling aviary rescue complex, botanical garden and a breed and release program for rare birds. This wonderful attraction occupies several well maintained acres a bit south of Miami and is absolutely worth a visit. In addition to the birds, the garden is also host to some of the largest trees in the world including 21 certified champion trees (the largest of their kind). Be sure to visit the feeding presentation conducted 3 times a day, both adorable and educational for all family members. Donations support this not for profit program in its entirety. In addition to a great experience you can feel good about having your money go to support a great place
1. Enjoy an amazing milkshake and fresh fruit at Robert is here Fruit and Farm stand
Family owned and operated since the 1950’s “Robert is here fruit and farm stand” is a must stop for foodie or vegan visiting south Florida. Although this is about an hour drive outside of Fort Lauderdale, its totally worth it. Packed to the brim with fresh fruits and vegetables it’s a food lovers paradise. Must try – fruit loaded milk shakes which taste like super fresh ice cream, juicy mangoes that the owner cuts up fresh in front of you. Also have some incredible guacamole made fresh on premises (try the local corn chips). There is an adorable free petting zoo in the back and maybe the only place in Florida where you can find tortoises playing with goats. Combine this attraction with the nearby Alligator Farm attraction located only a couple of minutes away.