AOL Travel
Print

Best Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale

AOL PICK from our Editors
With its beaches braced by tiki-thatched bars and million-dollar yachts bobbing in the basins, Fort Lauderdale doesn’t need roller coasters or faux haunted mansions to keep you entertained. That said, it’s not flush with the kinds of go-there-do-this attractions either. Check out the museums, but the real attraction here is the casual, water-focused lifestyle.

International Swimming Hall of Fame

Neighborhood: Fort Lauderdale
Unique to Fort Lauderdale, this non-profit educational institution works to promote the benefits of swimming—like fitness, for one—but also pays tribute to the famous swimmers, divers and other such luminaries who put the sport on the map, among them Johnny Weissmuller, Esther Williams and even former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who as a lifeguard saved a total of 77 lives. Sports-themed artwork and sculptures, exhibits, a library and even an in-house theater round out the picture. Open 9AM-5PM daily. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors (65 and older), $4 for students; children under 6 get in free.

More Details on

International Swimming Hall of Fame »

IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum

Neighborhood: Fort Lauderdale
If there is a heaven on earth for fishermen, this three-story, 60,000-square-foot, $32 million museum may well be it. Visitors can play among more than 30 interactive kiosks and peruse displays of antique rods and reels along with life-size replicas of nearly 200 species of fish. Outside, meander around the full-sized marina and the 4-acre living wetlands. Should you get inspired, jump next door to the Bass Pro Shops and wander in awe through its massive aisles of outdoor gear, sporting apparel and accessories. Open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 6PM and Sunday from noon to 6PM, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and older, $5 for children ages 3 to 16; kids under 3 get in free.

More Details on

IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum »

Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale (MOAFL)

Neighborhood: Fort Lauderdale
More than just a two-story home to paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture, MOAFL also houses an auditorium where lectures, concerts, plays and films take place, and an impressively vast sculpture terrace on the second floor. In recent years, the museum has hosted some of the most significant and exciting exhibitions in the country, including Diana: A Celebration and Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. While there, check out the works generated by their Artist in Residence program, Studio Arts Program and performing arts program, plus a collection of more than 6,000 works from around the world.

More Details on

Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale (MOAFL)  

Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise

Neighborhood: Fort Lauderdale
A longstanding tradition, the Jungle Queen has been a must-do for travelers to Fort Lauderdale for decades. The triple-tiered, 550-passenger boat departs every night at 6PM from the Bahia Mar docks on an all-you-can-eat dinner cruise complete with music. Or take one of their three-hour sightseeing cruises down the New River during the day—either at 9:30AM or 1:30PM daily—when the subtropical flora and fauna of the region are in broad view. Reservations for all Jungle Queen expeditions can be made online, and you can even print your tickets at home. Even if you think it sounds corny, you’ll enjoy this.

More Details on

Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise  

Museum of Discovery and Science

Neighborhood: Fort Lauderdale
No matter how many times you visit this place, it’s never the same old same old. There are more than 200 interactive exhibits, including the largest living Atlantic coral reef in captivity; nine cockpit simulators where you can test your piloting skills; and the Runways to Rockets space exhibit, which allows you to take a simulated trip to the Moon or Mars. Also on the premises is an IMAX theater with a five-story-high screen and a 15,000-watt surround sound system (tickets for the theater are priced separately). The museum is open 365 days a year from 10AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday and noon to 6PM Sundays. Admission to exhibits is $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, $9 for children ages 2-12; kids 1 and under get in free.

More Details on

Museum of Discovery and Science »

Stranahan House

Neighborhood: Downtown Las Olas
The 1913 Florida vernacular-style house built of Dade County pine originally belonged to Frank Stranahan, one of the first to settle among the Seminole Indians in the city that we now know as Fort Lauderdale, and his wife, Ivy Cromartie, the first teacher in the New River settlement. Over the years, this edifice has served as a trading post, town hall, restaurant, post office and bank. Today it’s been restored to its early-20th century configuration under the auspices of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and is appointed with furniture that exemplifies the Victorian-style furnishings of the times. Tours take place daily at 1, 2 and 3PM. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and $7 for children.

More Details on

Stranahan House »

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

Neighborhood: Fort Lauderdale
History buffs will enjoy exploring this 35-acre estate and the house-turned-museum, which is filled with a collection of art and personal items that once belonged to 19th-century settler Hugh Taylor Birch and, subsequently, his daughter Helen and her husband, artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. Helen died young; Frederic later remarried, and in 1983 his widow gave the house to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition to the permanent exhibits, there are temporary exhibits on an ongoing basis, orchid fairs and even music series; check the website for updates. The surrounding grounds of the estate feature a mangrove swamp and a desert garden, existing as a habitat for fish, monkeys and other assorted wildlife.

More Details on

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens »
See All Fort Lauderdale Things To Do »
ADVERTISEMENT