Great Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale with Kids

If you haven’t been to Fort Lauderdale in awhile you may have visions of bikini clad spring breakers blanketing the beaches. That scene has come and gone …

With average winter temperatures in the high 70’s, Fort Lauderdale still sees some college students during spring break but in the last 20 years, the entire beach has undergone a renovation and rebirth. Upscale hotels, restaurants and shops have moved in and many hotels cater to families with kid-friendly activities and amenities.

Funky Fish Ocean Camp Fort Lauderdale Florida

Funky Fish Ocean Camp

Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale with Kids

While the beaches and warm waters are the top draw for families there are many kid-friendly activities within a 15-minute drive or walk from the main beach area. It’s an easy vacation with kids here. You can choose to relax at the pool or beach or get out and explore and still be back for nap time or afternoon water fun. We recently had a family reunion here and these kid-tested activities are at the top of my list for things to do in Fort Lauderdale with kids.

Water Taxi

Fort Lauderdale is sometimes called the “Venice of America” because it has a system of residential canals called the Intracoastal, lined with gorgeous homes and yachts. Venice has gondolas; Fort Lauderdale has water taxis.

The iconic Fort Lauderdale water taxi is a relaxing and inexpensive way to cruise the Intracoastal. Buy a pass for the day for $20 and hop-off for lunch and hop back on for more sightseeing. Captains provide some commentary of the sights as you cruise.

Tip: Kids will be fascinated by the iguanas that hang out, literally, underneath the Sunrise Bridge, North of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Funky Fish Ocean Camp

This ocean camp is a hidden gem for kids and their parents. Funky Fish has been in business for over 18 years and they know how to safely entertain kids in a water environment.

The 5-hour camp for kids ages 4-17 has locations at several area hotels and at $59 for the day it’s a great deal. The camp includes tie-dye t-shirt making, snorkeling in a pool, lunch and either boogie boarding or skim boarding in the ocean. Instructors are well trained and patient.

My kids had never done any of the water activities and my 8-year-old left thinking he was a professional skim boarder and my 6-yearold old, who couldn’t get the hang of skim boarding, was equally as happy with the interesting sand castle creatures she learned to build. Both kids begged for another day of camp when I picked them up.

We would repeat this camp in a heartbeat – kids love it and parents get some downtime.

Museum of Discovery & Science

Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale the Museum of Discovery & Science is the premier museum for kids in the area. With the recent opening of the EcoDiscovery center, the museum has twice as many exhibits to entertain the kids.

For the 7 and under crowd, the museum has an exceptional activities area. Our kids spent almost their entire visit here building a house with foam tiles, making bubbles and working in the “orange grove” – one of the best interactive exhibits we’ve ever experienced. Other favorites include the airboat adventure ride which feels and looks like the real thing, the storm center where kids experience hurricane force winds in a simulator and the sea otters – they are just too cute.  The museum also has an IMAX theater.

Bike Riding in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

If you’re looking for active things to do in Fort Lauderdale , this park, located on the Intracoastal, is a perfect place to go bike riding with kids. It’s small and flat.  The 1.9 mile loop passes picnic areas and playgrounds. Best of all, the in-park rental company, MCruz Rentals has every imaginable type of bike rental for families: tricycles, trailers, kids’ bikes with training wheels and tandems.

They also rent canoes and kayaks and have Segway tours available for kids weighing 50 pounds or more.

IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum

Located 15 minutes south of Fort Lauderdale, and very close to the Fort Lauderdale airport, you can see the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum from the I-95 highway. This is a great little museum for a short visit. The highlight for kids is the simulated fishing experience where kids can reel in the “big one” and the wetlands walk with native turtles, birds and alligators.

Tip: The famous Rustic Inn crabhouse is less than ten minutes from the museum. This is a fun but very loud restaurant where kids and adults whack away at their crab with wooden mallets. Wait time can be long so go early and ask for outside seating.

Need help planning a trip to Florida or any other top family travel destination? Our Family Vacation Planning Team can help! Request assistance on My Trip Planner.

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Disney World with tweens

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The Fort Lauderdale Visitor’s Bureau and Funky Fish Ocean Camp provided Kristi and her family with complimentary admissions to attractions in Fort Lauderdale.  They did not ask her to express any particular opinion.

2 Comments

  1. Kristi, we visit south Florida several times a year to visit my parents, and our two favorite places are a short drive from Fort Lauderdale. We love, love, love Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, about 30 minutes north of FLL. It’s the biggest garden and park devoted to the care and nurturing of a zillion species of butterflies. My girls especially love to feed the lorikeets! We also adore the Palm Beach Zoo, about an hour north of Fort Lauderdale. It only takes about two hours to see start to finish, but you can get closer to the animals than you can at most zoos, it’s very shady (perfect for a hot day), and the fountain at the center of the park is ideal for cooling off. Both Butterfly World and the Palm Beach Zoo cater to kids of all ages, though I think they might be best for the littlest nature adventurers.

  2. Agreed! Fort Lauderdale has so much to offer for families travelling with kids! Here’s another alternative for travellers to the area: Funderdome Indoor playground. This new Family Fun Center is conveniently located just 1.5 miles from Port Everglades, and 3 miles from Fort Lauderdale airport. It’s an air-conditioned, indoor playground that promotes fun, fitness and togetherness for kids of all ages. Families can challenge each other in the Ballistics Ball Blasting Arena, then head over to the Funder-City Climbing wall for a race to the top; test courage and balance on the Sky Trail Ropes Challenge Course, South Florida’s only indoor ropes course. Once back on the ground, the Space Quadrant Laser Maze makes you feel like a jewel thief in a hollywood movie. Then climb up again through the obstacle course to the top of the playground and pick up a game of soccer or basketball before sliding down one of the 5 giant slides towards the interactive game floor. Or, for those that just want to relax while the rest of your group burns off extra steam, there’s a Wi-Fi enabled café offering delicious bites!

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