What do deck shoes, a sand wedge, camera, wetsuit and a butcher's block have in common? All can be part of an engaging, enriching and educational vacation experience in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Educational excursions here combine learning with leisure in the sunshine.

Travelers around the world are exploring self-enrichment as part of their vacation experiences. Greater Fort Lauderdale offers visitors a variety of participatory learning opportunities.

Come for the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Art aficionados enjoy the Las Olas Art Festival. History buffs and those keen to Native cultures can explore the area's pioneer, Native American and ecological past. Photographers can join hand-on jaunts to capture sunrise over the Atlantic, sunset across the Everglades or the architecture of the area. From the beach to the 'glades to the cities in between, pursuing a passion or personal hobby takes on new educational relevance.

learn to sail

Known as America's Venice, Greater Fort Lauderdale has 24 miles of coast and 300 miles of inland canals and Intracoastal Waterway. Rent a yacht and a captain (Tropical Sailing, 954-579-8181), or take a class with Blue Water Sailing School, where courses run from basic skills to celestial navigation (954-763-8464).

discover kite surfing

Discover a new spine-tingling way to enjoy our Blue Wave Beaches with kite surfing. Combining kite flying, wakeboarding and windsurfing, this popular sport works perfectly with the destination's docile waves and tropical breezes. The Fort Lauderdale Kite Surfing School welcomes those who wish to try this sport with year-round classes for those of all skill levels; instructions begin at $95.

dive in with scuba diving & snorkeling

Earn your Scuba certification anytime at several dive shops and schools. One of the country's top scuba diving destinations, Greater Fort Lauderdale features more than 100 wreck dives of various depths and skill levels to complement its three-tiered natural coral reef system. The result is an eclectic undersea world of living coral and resting ships, one whose gulfstream currents bring a treasure trove of brilliantly colored exotic aquatic wildlife. Dozens of dive operators in Greater Fort Lauderdale cater to all ages and skill levels

dance under the stars

With its vibrant Latin community, Greater Fort Lauderdale offers Salsa lessons from some of the best teachers in the business. At venues such as Goldcoast Ballroom, dancers can take a variety of classes featuring both traditional and New York styles. After classes, dancers can enjoy a Latin themed party where they can also show off their new moves. For more information about Goldcoast Ballroom please visit. Group classes cost $10. Spice Resto-Lounge in downtown Hollywood offers free Salsa classes every Monday night at 7pm.

have a flair for gastronomy?

Cooking classes with hot local chefs provide instruction on not only classic methods but also insight into local Floribbean cuisine. One of Greater Fort Lauderdale's most well-respected chefs, Chef Jean-Pierre, offers classes at his acclaimed Jean-Pierre's Cooking School, where students can learn both beginner and advanced techniques in addition to classes about specialty topics such as wine pairings, sauces and romantic dinners. A five-class series costs $285. Check out TRP Taste, an intimate, 24-seat venue, for their interactive pop-up dinners with renowned guest chefs.