Fort Lauderdale Travel with Kids
Under 13 The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District , a 22-block area in downtown, proves a good year-round choice for youngsters and their parents. It not only provides access to water taxis (and great views) along the promenade but also connects with a number of indoor attractions. These are especially welcome diversions when it’s too hot or rainy outside—a possibility in Fort Lauderdale, which boasts a humid tropical climate.
Luckily, most attractions on any Fort Lauderdale to-do list are kid-friendly. The Museum of Discovery and Science (401 S.W. Second St.) showcases an array of interactive and educational exhibits. Visitors can experience topics ranging from flight to the human body complete with a heart-pounding simulator.
Then there’s AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater , which is also at 401 S.W. Second St. Kids can hunker down in stadium seating to experience nature’s complexity up close or plan to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster with a handful of popcorn.
Reservations for the family programs at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale (1 E. Las Olas Blvd.) are a good idea for those in the mood for hands-on activities. Kids can learn about famous artists, create their own masterpieces and other fun activities. (And, psst, those under age 12 can get in free to the museum to learn about art, even if they don’t add the museum’s family program to their to-do list.)
Hungry? Consider going to Mai-Kai Restaurant (3599 N. Federal Hwy.), a South Florida favorite that features South Pacific influences. You can expect foliage, art, tiki torches, fire dancers and an outdoor garden that re-creates a Polynesian atmosphere. Fresh fish, Chinese oven and other creative entrées are examples of the Cantonese and American cuisine you can find on the menu.
Those experiencing Florida for the first time, however, often want to discover the state's swampy environment firsthand, so a trip to Sawgrass Recreation Park (1006 US 27N, in nearby Weston) or Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours (21940 Griffin Rd.) ought to deliver a family-friendly walk on the wild side—especially those looking for an entertaining introduction to the Florida Everglades.
Another kind of adventure can be found at among the dive sites just off the coast, where one can dive in warm water year-round. Broward County is renowned for natural and artificial reefs, which provide spots ranging from shallow to advanced deep wreck diving.
What to Do for All AgesAAA/iStockphoto.com
“Captivating” describes the experience at Butterfly World in Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Rd., in nearby Coconut Creek. Thousands of free-flying butterflies as well as hummingbirds and other winged creatures delight visitors as they stroll through a lush tropical rain forest, a botanical garden abloom with nectar producing plants, a macaw exhibit and an aviary. Visitors can even witness metamorphosis through glass enclosures in the butterfly emerging area.
Another Florida-friendly pastime is the beach, and thankfully for families, Fort Lauderdale’s location makes a beach day a convenient choice for all ages. In fact, some 23 miles of Greater Fort Lauderdale's beaches have been continuously certified as Blue Wave beaches for more than a decade. Visitors can then choose to explore more secluded areas or prepare to stay close to the city’s key amenities along SR A1A and Las Olas Boulevard.
The latter may provide the most incentive (and bragging rights). After all, Las Olas Boulevard, a landscaped thoroughfare running two and a half miles from the heart of downtown directly to the ocean, is one of the Sunshine State’s most well-known districts. Palm trees, planters filled with tropical foliage and Mediterranean-style buildings with arched windows, barrel-tile awnings and terracotta stucco walls characterize this charming area. With more than 70 shopping options and 30 al fresco eateries in addition to renowned art galleries and day spas, there’s a little something for everyone, whether they’re a budding art critic, fashionista or foodie.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.
Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
3030 Holiday Dr. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
The sales tax in Broward County is 6 percent. A tourist development tax of 5 percent is levied on rental accommodations.
(954) 828-5700; Sheriff (954) 764-4357
Time and Temperature
Broward Health Imperial Point, (954) 776-8500; Broward Health Medical Center, (954) 355-4400; Holy Cross Hospital, (954) 771-8000.
512 N.E. 3rd Ave. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Phone:(954)462-6000
Airline tickets, information on flight reservations and flights are available at
Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (954) 764-1199 or (800) 654-3080.
The Amtrak station is at 200 S.W. 21st Terr. For trip information and reservations phone (800) 872-7245.
The bus terminal serving the destination is Greyhound Lines Inc., 515 N.E. 3rd St.; phone (954) 764-6551.
Cabs are plentiful. Fares are metered and are $4.50 for the first mile and $2.40 for each additional mile (plus 40c per minute during stops). The largest company is Yellow Cab, (954) 565-5400 or (954) 777-7777.
Broward County Transit, (954) 357-8400, provides transportation to all sections of Fort Lauderdale and its outlying areas. Buses also are available between the downtown area and the beach. Sun Trolley offers many routes that service the downtown and beach areas; for information phone (954) 761-3543.