In Greater Fort Lauderdale, kids of all ages will find plenty of things to do—rain or shine! The entire family can get on board with activities that range from educational, hands-on museums and cultural attractions to butterfly-filled gardens, tons of parks and playgrounds (some right on the beach), and the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States: Everglades National Park. Throw in a pirate ship and seaside adventure, and Greater Fort Lauderdale transforms into a real-life theme park, one sure to excite and thrill children, whether they’re adventure-seekers, animal-lovers, or tiny tots taking their first trip to the beach.
For children who like to get creative, take part in a kids or teens art class at Young at Art Museum in Broward Mall, out west in Plantation, where activities range from painting and drawing to ceramic sculpture and digital art and photography. While you’re here, hit one of the many specialty shops and department stores or catch the latest movies at the state-of-the-arm theater complex.
Nearby, at destination outlet shopping mall Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, you can watch a film on IMAX 3D, or you can head to the IMAX Theater at the Museum of Discovery & Science in Downtown Fort Lauderdale for both educational movies and new releases. Explore interactive exhibits that cater to kids 6 and under that focus on cooperative play and teamwork, or take a stroll through an indoor nature hike through Florida’s different habitats and wildlife like sharks, bats, alligators, and sea turtles that call the state’s ocean, swamps, and prairies home.
In Pembroke Pines, spend the day at the sprawling C.B. Smith Park, home to Paradise Cove Water Park and its four, five-story-tall water slides that corkscrew into a four-foot-deep plunge pool; Sharky’s Lagoon, a water playground with interactive features; Parrot’s Point, a spot for kids 5 and under with two mini waterslides; and Crazy Creek, a 410-foot-long lazy river tube ride. Tigertail Lake Recreational Center in Dania Beach also features tons of water sports activities, from SCUBA to sailing—plus a new water obstacle course and playground, Aqua Challenge, that’s great for both kids and adults.
Continue the fun at Xtreme Action Park, the largest all-age indoor entertainment complex in the country that’s home to everything from six bowling lanes and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena to a ropes course adventure and gas-powered go-kart race track.
For a different kind of entertainment experience, step on board Fort Lauderdale’s longest-running attraction, Jungle Queen Riverboats, a sightseeing cruise along New River that weaves through Millionaire’s Row and its many mega yachts to a private tropical isle for an all-you-can-eat barbecue, plus a show complete with a Polynesian fire dancing finale.
Keep the vintage vibe going back on shore with homemade ice cream, sodas, and sundaes at old-fashioned, family-owned Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour in Dania Beach, home to one of the largest collections of Americana memorabilia in the country.