Since we live and work in the Ft Lauderdale area, we have experienced a lot of fun activities, wonderful restaurants and other great experiences. I want to highlight a few of our favorite things and give you just a little taste of what South Florida has to offer. I say a little taste because there is SO much to offer in our backyard that we would overwhelm you if we tried to tell you everything. This will be Part I in the list of “Things To Do”. So, in true “Late Night – David Letterman” style, I will start the count down with:
#5 – Butterfly World
Located in Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, Florida, this 3 acre park has the largest natural butterfly habitat in the world. It features a butterfly aviary, botanical gardens, a hummingbird exhibit, a working butterfly farm, and a research center. There are usually several thousand butterflies and at least 50 different species on hand and there is no “down season” due to our mild climate. It takes two to three hours to take a leisurely walk through all the displays and habitats and there is some food available for a snack or light lunch. The web site even offers discount coupons for groups. You can see more on their web site: https://butterflyworld.com/
#4 – Florida Everglades
There are several ways to experience the flora and fauna in the Everglades, but the most popular attraction is the airboat ride. You can go straight out Griffin Road to Everglades Holiday Park and get a 1 to 3 hour tour. There is also an alligator exhibit featuring the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team. https://www.evergladesholidaypark.com// At the Billie Swamp Safari, you can not only catch an airboat or swamp buggy ride, but see the otter habitat, snake show, and critter exhibits. http://www.billieswamp.com/ If you travel just a little bit farther out Alligator Alley to the Miccosukee Indian Reservation, you might get a little bit of Indian culture along with your airboat ride. They have an Indian Village Museum, many tribal events and dances, and an alligator exhibit where you might get a chance to get “up close and personal” with a Florida Gator! http://www.miccosukee.com/indian-village/
#3 – Xtreme Action Park
This indoor park located in Fort Lauderdale has the best selection of activities for kids and adults including go kart racing, arcade, rope course adventure, bowling, a trampoline park, and Bazooka (whatever that is!). You just might get tired of the sun or we could have one of our rare rainy days during your visit. This indoor park would be just the thing to spend a few hours or a whole day out of the elements. http://www.xtremeactionpark.com/
#2 – The Jungle Queen
The Jungle Queen is our favorite way to experience the “Venice of America”. It is a paddle boat that roams the Intracoastal Waterway with tours of various length. You can go on a 90 minute tour or spend 4 hours cruising by some of the mansions of the “rich and famous” and enjoying a stop at a private island for – you guessed it – more flora and fauna! They have alligators, exotic birds, lemurs and monkeys. I prefer the evening tour as it includes a barbeque dinner, all-you-can-eat shrimp and all the trimmings. I especially like looking into the mansions at night! You can really see how they live and they might even wave back! http://www.junglequeen.com/
(And now, here is where we get the big drumroll . . .)
#1 – The Beach!
First of all, our beaches are all public. In some areas where the condo buildings are close together you will be not allowed to wander on their grounds. But there is always a nearby public access gate and once you get to the open sand you are free to roam north and south. Just be aware that some of the lounge chairs and cabanas along the beach are strictly for the owners of the condos. Second of all, the beaches are not all the same – each has its own unique features. Fort Lauderdale Beach is very narrow and it seems at times that the waves go right up to the road! The Ft Lauderdale Beach Park at the south end has pavilions, bathrooms, showers, a playground, basketball and volleyball court. It costs money to enter the park, but most of the parking areas are metered and parking at the park means you do not have to cross the road to get to the beach. There are a couple of places along the beach where you can rent a jet ski, a kayak, or sailboat. At the north end of the beach, is Birch State Park with more parking available, picnic areas, hiking trails, and an underground access to the beach. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach, the most family oriented beach in the area, is located to the north of Ft Lauderdale. The whole area is very picturesque and full of places to eat, shop and cool off with ice cream! At the main entrance, they have adirondack chairs for lounging and a fishing pier with fishing equipment to rent and a small fee to go on the pier. There are several “portals” or entrances to the beach both north and south of the main entrance. These portals are equipped with benches, showers and bricked paths to and from the parking areas. The city is currently constructing some public bathrooms near the pier which should be completed soon. Pompano Beach is my favorite, but of course it would be since I live right next to it! It is the widest of the three beaches with lots of area to set up camp or mark out territory for beach football game. The city has just completed an extensive broadwalk renovation and are maintaining the grounds beautifully! There are several public bathrooms, picnic and barbeque areas, pavilions, lush green grass for lounging in the shade, and several volleyball courts. The Pompano Beach Pier is open to walkers and fishermen alike and there is no fee for the privilege. South of the pier, there are lounges and cabanas for rent for half or full days. Also, by the pier, the city maintains an exercise area and playground with newly installed equipment. At the very south end is a café for lunch or cappuccinos and a splash fountain for the kids. The newly completed parking garage provides the most convenient place to stash your vehicle, but there is also parking all along the broadwalk (with meters, of course!) and there are a few restaurants and shops to wander through.
We will post another installment soon, but these 5 are by far the most popular. Be sure to contact us if you are coming to South Florida! We would love to show you around!