The Greater Fort Lauderdale area boasts one of Florida’s best beaches, nightlife, and a dazzling array of attractions for vacation-seekers and South Florida locals. In addition, Broward County and the surrounding cities are excellent destinations for snowbirds to visit as they head south to beat the cold weather.
Miami is known for its art scene and Latin American influences. Orlando is known for its theme parks. The Florida Panhandle is famed for its white-sand beaches. But the Greater Fort Lauderdale area is a great place for families to visit at any time (if you can handle the heat!).
The charming city has miles of beaches and waterways that wind their way through the city. Here are some of the most kid-friendly attractions in Fort Lauderdale for your family to check out on your next vacation.
10 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale
Museum of Discovery and Science
The first thing you see before entering the MODS museum is a huge water clock in the courtyard. The clock is at least two stories tall and fills with rushing water that moves the clock’s gears and hands. The inside of the museum does not disappoint either.
Dinosaur exhibits, plane exhibits (including two rides and different planes you can climb inside and play), an archaeological dig, a weather simulator, and a play area for young kids are just some of the exhibits. MODS also has various traveling exhibits and activities available that change often. In just over three months, at least three different exhibits changed.
Even though there are so many different things to do, the museum is not particularly large so walking around with small children is not difficult. It’s also stroller-friendly, which is great for a children’s museum.
Finally, don’t forget to catch an IMAX (included with a membership). We saw the absolutely stunning “Birds Over The Water 3D” IMAX film.
Don’t be fooled by the name! There is much more than just flamingos at this wildlife sanctuary. Birds, including peacocks, wander around the grounds freely. In addition, there is an aviary, a wildlife show, a small indoor museum, and other animals.
It’s worth spending a few extra dollars to buy bird feed for the birds. Flamingo Gardens rescues the animals from other zoos and centers and only keeps animals that are unfit for the wild. Most animals are unafraid of humans, so they come right up to you to get the food.
The tram ride (included with admission) is also a must-do! It’s a great way to relax in the Florida heat as they take you around the back acres of the garden. You will learn about the gardens’ history, the steps they are taking to encourage native plant growth, and their other conservation efforts.
This gorgeous butterfly and bird aviary is an absolute must-do. Located just 30 minutes outside the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood area in Coconut Creek, Butterfly World hosts 20,000 live butterflies. Millions of stunning butterflies and birds are in six separate aviaries.
Wandering around the exhibits is very hot, so take a rest inside the small indoor museum where you can learn more about butterfly migration.
Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
This undeveloped beach is a hidden oasis in a state with miles of beaches, crowded hotels, restaurants, and tourists. Additionally, this strip of coastal beach is historically significant. It was designated a “Colored Beach” during the dark time of segregation.
Eula Mae Gandy Johnson was a Civil Rights activist who led “wade-ins” to protest the segregation of beaches. Dr. Von D. Mizell was a Black doctor who fought for many rights, including the de-segregation of Broward County Beaches.
Their namesake is a beautiful beach that is perfect for swimming (there are limited lifeguards), walking, bike-riding, and relaxing.
Dania Pointe Mall
Dania Pointe mall has numerous stores and paid attractions (bowling, arcades, etc.), and they have free kid’s entertainment! We skip all the shopping and head straight toward the square for their free entertainment events.
The mall holds Bubble Time and various shows for children and adults in an adorable area set up for kids with chairs and giant games (foot-tall chess pieces, huge foam blocks for building, etc.). During Bubble Time, giant bubbles emerge from special machines affixed to light poles while music plays.
Sometimes, there is an adorable magic show that is perfect for young children after Bubble Time. Enjoy the show while eating ice cream from the nearby ice cream store!
T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park
This large park’s name is a Seminole word meaning “meeting or gathering place.” It is the perfect place for a family picnic or a game of ball.
The large park includes a playground, basketball hoop, campgrounds, fishing, tennis, volleyball, and a biking or walking path around a lake withfrogs, ducks, and other wildlife in it. You can also check out Castaway Park for a fee, which is a lovely water park open in the summer.
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is a 1.5 million-acre wetland located on the tip of Southern Florida. There is plenty to do and see in the Everglades, but the most popular activity is to take an airboat ride through the coastal mangroves and sawgrass marshes. There you can see protected animals and plants that make up the Everglades.
Be warned that the airboat is very loud and can be hot, so younger children may want to sit this trip out. Aspiring photographers and birdwatchers will enjoy this stretch of wild land.
Fort Lauderdale Waterways
Head to Fort Lauderdale Waterways, which is home to “Millionaires Row,” a stretch of the waterways lined with yachts and mansions. Walk around after grabbing some ice cream or food from one of the many restaurants lining the waterways.
You can also catch a ride on a water taxi to get another view of the beautiful water.
Airport Greenbelt Park
If you find airplanes fascinating, then you will love Airport Greenbelt Park! The park is a grassy area with a great path for kids to ride bikes or scooters, but the view right behind the fence is the real attraction.
The park is next to one of the runways at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, and you can watch the planes take off and land just feet away. This park is a great short trip for kids who love planes!
Models Trains Exhibit at Plantation Historical Museum
The Plantation Historical Museum is free and on a mission to preserve the history of the City of Plantation, located right outside Fort Lauderdale.
They currently display model trains that run four days a week. This adorable exhibit is perfect for young kids and a great free indoor activity. While it won’t take long to look at all the trains, you can round off the trip by stopping at one of the many splash pads in the area for a quick hop in the sprinklers!
Looking for a Hotel To Make a Trip of It?
We recently stayed at Marriott’s Beachplace Towers right on Fort Lauderdale Beach and it truly is an amazing hotel pick for traveling families. Read all about our stay and why I couldn’t find anything negative to say…. and I’m a tough cookie!
This post originally appeared on Savoteur.