17 Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale With Kids That Even Adults are Sure to Love

Fort Lauderdale is known for its beautiful beaches, amazing water, massive yachts, and impressive mansions.  These days it’s also known for its many family-friendly activities, making it the perfect Florida vacation destination.

Whether you’re looking to get back to nature, explore the city, relax at the beach, or discover one-of-a-kind restaurants and adventures, Ft. Lauderdale has something for everyone in your group.

We’ve got 17 outstanding adventures that you and your kids will love. Pack your sunscreen and get ready for some excitement.  Fort Lauderdale is waiting for you!

Ft. Lauderdale Beaches

There are seven miles of beaches in Ft. Lauderdale, so there is plenty of room for your kids to swim, build sand castles, and play!  For peace of mind, you’ll find lifeguards every couple hundred yards on Ft. Lauderdale Beach from the South Beach Picnic Area to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.  And speaking of the state park, if you’re looking for a more remote beach experience, a pedestrian tunnel under A1A takes you from the park to the beach!

There are also plenty of beaches in the Greater Ft. Lauderdale area as well.  Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Dania Beach, Hollywood, and Hallandale Beach are all nearby and offer everything from water sports, to shops and restaurants.

Butterfly World

I may have had an “I brake for butterflies” bumper sticker on my car in college, so I’m pretty sure I’d be welcome here.  Butterfly World in Coconut Creek is home to 20,000 butterflies from all over the world.

Get up close and personal with the butterflies, visit the exotic birds in the six free-flight aviaries, explore the Bug Museum, feed the lorikeets, and marvel at all the tropical flowers and plants they have on the property.  Kids and adults alike will enjoy a day here.

Mai-Kai Restaurant

Blow your kids’ minds with a dinner at the historic Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show!  This tiki-themed restaurant serves Asian food, but its kid’s menu also offers such delicacies like chicken fingers and mac and cheese. Kids will love getting their drinks served up in a real pineapple!

But the real draw, is the Islander Revue Polynesian show!  You’ll feel like you’re in Hawaii as you watch the dancers and musicians perform their famous show – which is new every year.  And during the summer months, the Mai-Kai features children performing a kid’s show every Sunday evening.

Sawgrass Recreational Park

Are you ready to go on an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades?  Sawgrass Recreation Park is for you!

Take an airboat tour through the heart of the Everglades with one of their experienced guides and learn all about the ecosystem in the area.  And if you’re feeling brave, they also offer a nighttime airboat tour a couple nights a week called Gator Nights.

This family-friendly park also features a reptile exhibit, where you can hold a baby alligator and visit with iguanas and turtles.  An exotic wildlife exhibit and glades exhibit are also available, and guaranteed to make the trip a memorable one.

Young At Art Museum

Get your cameras (and your imagination!) ready, the Young At Art Museum is pretty much the coolest museum ever.  This kid-friendly museum has different galleries, and each one is interactive and amazing.

You can ride a subway and visit a cave in one gallery, build sand sculptures in another, learn about different customs, and explore the world of Alice in Wonderland in another.  Each gallery allows children to create their own masterpieces, while learning about art and music!

This museum also features visiting exhibits throughout the year, so there’s always something new.  The Young At Art Museum offers camps and classes for year-round fun.

Las Olas Gondola Tours

Ft. Lauderdale’s canals have earned it the title of “Venice of America,” so it’s only fitting to take a gondola tour while you’re there!

Las Olas Gondola Tours offers 75-minute tours through the canals of Ft. Lauderdale.  Your kids will feel like they’re in Italy as the music plays during the relaxing trip.  The best part?  You’re allowed to bring snacks and drinks on board, so your kids are sure to have a great time.

Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park

Formerly known as John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park helps families reconnect with nature!  It is the last example in Broward County of an undeveloped coastal ecosystem.

The park is named for two Civil Rights leaders who helped organize “wade-ins” in an effort to desegregate Florida’s beaches in the 50s and 60s.

Located right on the beach, swimming, boating, hiking, picnicking, and fishing are all popular at this 310-acre park.  Kids will love exploring this natural park, and learning about its history.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is sometimes called “Central Park” because it offers a respite from city life.

Here you will find boat access from the waterway, beach access via a pedestrian tunnel under A1A, picnic areas that overlook the water, pavilions, and youth campgrounds for groups.

Bicycling, hiking, fishing, and paddling are also popular activities at this centrally located park.

Museum of Discovery & Science

There are so many interactive exhibits here, your kids will never want to leave!

The Museum of Discovery & Science offers permanent and visiting exhibits, along with IMAX films.  With exhibits for toddlers and big kids, there will be something to interest every member of your crew.

Your dinosaur lover will love stepping into the mouth of a Megalodon and digging for fossils.  Get on board an airboat ride simulator before visiting the large indoor and outdoor aquariums.  Younger kids will love the Discovery Center – an area that was created just for them!

The best part?  You can arrive in style! This museum is a stop on Ft. Lauderdale’s affordable water taxi route.

Flamingo Gardens

Flamingo Gardens is part botanical gardens and part wildlife sanctuary, so everyone in your group will find something to love.

The botanical gardens feature more than 3,000 species of tropical plants and flowers on its 60 acres in south Florida.  The wildlife sanctuary is home to animals and birds that cannot be safely released back into the wild.  Here you will find alligators, bears, bobcats, panthers, flamingos, and more.

Flamingo Gardens also features an interactive children’s garden, a hummingbird garden, and an arboretum.

Jungle Queen Riverboat

For a truly memorable experience, cruise though Millionaire’s Row aboard the Jungle Queen Riverboat!

The Jungle Queen Riverboat has three options to choose from.  A 3-hour afternoon cruise takes you down the New River to a tropical island, where your family will enjoy watching an alligator show, visiting with animals, seeing birds, and holding a baby alligator.  The 3-hour dinner cruise includes a stop at the island for an all-you-can-eat buffet meal with live entertainment.  And if you’re looking for something more low-key, the 90-minute narrated cruise is a popular choice.

Las Olas Boulevard

If you’re looking for awesome restaurants, cafes, and shops, Las Olas Boulevard is the place to be.

Ride bikes, take a trolley, or pedi-cycle down the boulevard, stopping at your favorite spots along the way.  Las Olas Boulevard is also a stop on Ft. Lauderdale’s water taxi route, which sometimes has special “kids ride free” offers in the summer months.

Las Olas Boulevard is also home to special events throughout the year – like art shows and fall festivals.

Billie Swamp Safari

About an hour west of Ft. Lauderdale, you will find the Billie Swamp Safari located on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.  It is worth the trip.

The Billie Swamp Safari is well-known for its Swamp Buggy eco-tours! What is a Swamp Buggy?  Well, it’s a customized, open vehicle with a canopy top and tractor tires, of course!  And it can drive through muddy swamps, and over dry land – so your family can see all sorts of animal and plant life you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

Billie Swamp Safari is more than just tours, though.  Everglades airboat rides, snake shows, a live critter show, and animal exhibits are also here.  Explore the 2,200-acre preserve and learn more about how the Seminole Indians preserved this land that is home to thousands of plant and animal species.

Finish up your trip with a tour through an authentic Seminole village.

Bluefoot Pirate Adventures

Have you heard any good pirate jokes?  Well, neither have ayyyyyye!

The perfect place to use a joke like that is on a 1-hour family pirate cruise offered by Bluefoot Pirate Adventure!

Perfect for kids of all ages, this cruise lets you dress like a pirate, talk like a pirate, and battle a pirate with real water cannons. This completely immersive, family-friendly, pirate experience is sure to create memories that will last forever.

EZride Surf School

Have you always wanted to learn to surf, or are you ready to improve your skills?  The EZride Surf School is perfect for you!

EZride Surf School offers surfing lessons for all skill levels, and for anyone over the age of 5.  Professional, certified surf instructors will help you learn everything you need to know.

There are multiple surfing spots in Fort Lauderdale, so if one spot isn’t breaking, you’ll be able to find another spot close by.  There is almost always surfing to be done, and Ft. Lauderdale offers a great and beautiful location for your family to learn to hang ten!

Everglades Holiday Park

Hour-long airboat tours, animal encounters, and a chance to meet the stars of a popular Animal Planet show?  Yes, please!

Take an airboat tour through the Everglades, before ending with an alligator presentation at the Gator Pit by one of the stars from the Gator Boys. Everglades Holiday Park is home to the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue, which can be seen on Animal Planet.  The Gator Boys team helps safely catch nuisance alligators and are then brought here – where you can see them too!

When their schedule allows, a team member from the Gator Boys will be there for an alligator presentation at the Gator Pit, so you can meet the human stars of the show as well.

And after all of that, you can participate in a 45-minute animal encounter.  You can interact with different animals, and get your picture taken with them too.  Sounds like an exciting adventure!

Sun Trolley

Don’t just drive or walk to your favorite Fort Lauderdale locations – you want the travel itself to be an adventure!  Enter: Sun Trolley.

These red and yellow trolleys are a breeze, and make traveling around Ft. Lauderdale so much more relaxing for you, and fun for your kids.

Just hail a trolley along one of its routes, like you would a taxi, and tell the driver where you’d like to go. The trolley is free, except at the beach or Las Olas, where it will only cost you $1, or $3 for an all-day pass.

This is one adventure that is definitely worth the price!

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Disclosure: 365 Atlanta Traveler is a Visit Florida Digital Marketing Program Partner. Opinions here are all our own. 

Kate Gelsthorpe is a former TV news writer, and a born and raised Georgia girl who grew up camping with her family at state parks around central and south Georgia. After 18 years in Atlanta, her family recently moved to Athens, and in their spare time you can find them exploring their new hometown. She and her husband, Kevin, are the proud parents of an 8-year-old dinosaur expert, and a 6-year-old outdoor-loving fashionista.

Kate Gelsthorpe

Freelance Writer and Adventure Maven at loveandkate
Kate Gelsthorpe is a former TV news writer, and a born and raised Georgia girl who grew up camping with her family at state parks around central and south Georgia.After 18 years in Atlanta, her family recently moved to Athens, and in their spare time you can find them exploring their new hometown.She and her husband, Kevin, are the proud parents of an 8-year-old dinosaur expert, and a 6-year-old outdoor-loving fashionista.

1 Comment on "17 Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale With Kids That Even Adults are Sure to Love"

  1. Billie Swamp Safari seems interesting. Glad you shared

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