The kids might be looking forward to Spring Break, but their parents are racking their brains to figure out how they’ll keep them entertained all week. Whether your little ones love animals, the great outdoors, trying something new, or have a need for speed, Greater Fort Lauderdale is here to the rescue with plenty to do.
Explore the Waterways
Teach your kids why Fort Lauderdale is called the “Venice of America.” Get a taste of some of the 165 navigable miles of waterways in town by hopping aboard the Jungle Queen, a local favorite since 1953. Families can take part in the 90-minute sightseeing tour to gaze in awe at the many mansions on the New River or book a dinner cruise for a meal and entertainment. If little pirates are in your midst, join in on the fun at Bluefoot Pirate Adventures for the opportunity to fire off a cannon and travel the seven seas (well, in Fort Lauderdale at least). There’s also the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi that will allow everyone to hop on and off as they please if they come across a spot they’d like to explore. If your kids love the water, however, get them on a paddleboard or in a kayak to traverse the river themselves.
Museums aren’t an adults-only activity—there are plenty of experiences within them catering to children. They’ll be wowed even before stepping inside the Museum of Discovery and Science when they come across the 52-foot-tall Great Gravity Clock. Inside, there are interactive exhibits as well as jaunty otters and a giant mouth of a Megalodon (now extinct but was the world’s largest shark). Just across the street is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which plays host to some of the biggest comedic and musical acts of our time, but also programming catered to children, including camps and classes. At the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, artistically inclined children will enjoy the exhibits and can take part in the free hands-on activities available online.
If your child is the next Bindi Irwin, take them on some of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s best encounters. Hang on tight while onboard an airboat at Everglades Holiday Park and be on the lookout for glassy eyes bobbing on the surface—alligators! They can get up close and personal with the gators by attending a gator show and learning about rescuing them with the Gator Boys. If these fearsome reptiles are a bit much for your group, schedule a pony ride at Trailwinds Park in Coconut Creek, which is also home to Butterfly World and its more than 20,000 butterflies! Flamingo Gardens is perfect for little ones who love avian species, as the place is home not only to rosy flamingos, who eat from your hands, but many turquoise peacocks who strut their stuff and display their beautiful fan of feathers.
Don’t forget one of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s greatest assets: our library system. In downtown Fort Lauderdale, the Main Library not only has an endless supply of books to check out during Spring Break to enjoy during some downtime, but also a moon rock display.
Swing by the NSU Alvin Sherman Library, where they have free Take ‘N’ Make Kits with a different theme each month for little ones 3 and older. Libraries across the county also have storytimes planned for kids of all ages, including Preschool Story Time at the Deerfield Beach Percy White Branch and Twilight Tales at the South Regional/Broward College Library in Pembroke Pines.
Sure, packing up the kids for a day at the beach seems obvious, but locals know we don’t go as often as we could. Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is a quaint beach town with restaurants, ice cream parlors and shops lining up along the sand, with plenty of outdoor dining options. Just to the north, Pompano Beach has reinvented its beachfront with the Fisher Family Pier, fit with a covered playground nestled between restaurants. Little fishers can also try their hand at catching dinner—try fishing through the “eye” of the pompano-shaped pier!
High Octane Fun
Some kids are only traveling less than 60 miles per hour when they’re asleep, and that’s OK. Put them behind the wheel of a junior go-kart at K1 Speed in Florida’s Hollywood and watch them take off around the track. Nearby in Davie is, iFly, a chance for the little ones to skydive without ever setting foot inside a plane. Instead, they’ll go into a wind tunnel with a seasoned pro to try their hand at staying level and working out tricks. Sky Zone in Fort Lauderdale has a bit of everything, including a trampoline park, ropes course, Parkour box, ultimate volleyball and dodgeball and a foam zone. For rollerskating, laser tag, bowling, go-karts, arcades, escape rooms, virtual reality games and more, take the whole family to Xtreme Action Park. With these activities, they’re sure to go right to sleep when they get in the car on the way home!