#FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
Fort Lauderdale is a city made for beach bums and nature lovers. Case in point: Fort Lauderdale Beach and Sawgrass Recreation Park, home to alligators and other Floridian wildlife. History buffs will find things to do here as well (we recommend a stop at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens or the Stranahan House). And though the Venice of America may lack the rollicking nightlife its Floridian neighbors are known for, downtown Fort Lauderdale has its charms. The Riverwalk, the arts and entertainment district along the New River, and Las Olas Boulevard host art exhibitions and concerts that might surprise you with their quality. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
1. Las Olas
Diverse restaurants, three museums, 10 international art galleries and 65 retail options line Las Olas Boulevard, with recent visitors saying it’s the perfect place for a stroll, if not a shopping spree. But while casual walkers and window shoppers enjoy soaking in the Floridian atmosphere and overall aesthetic of the boulevard, the more intent consumer may not find this commercial street as appealing due to the high price tags. However, travelers recommended grabbing a bite above all else, as many were impressed with the quality of food and the amount alfresco dining options available. Our advice would be to make a stop here if you’re planning to visit the nearby Stranahan House, River walk or Museum of Art.
In terms of parking, there are both on-street and private lots available to customers. On-street parking is metered starting at 11 a.m. in most locations, and city and private lots can be found on the side streets that run parallel to the boulevard. The Riverside Hotel also offers a seven-story parking lot. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
2. Fort Lauderdale Beach
Want a beautiful Florida beach without a crazy party scene? Fort Lauderdale Beach may be just what you’re looking for. Here you’ll find a calmer and less chaotic version of Miami Beach — but with the same sugary sands and crystal clear water. There are still parties, but you’re more likely to find families relaxing or leisurely walking the waterline than raucous groups of college kids. Backing the shoreline, the palm tree-lined promenade bustles with visitors looking to shop and dine in the many establishments along it. There are also water sport and beach chair rentals near the shore.
If you’re looking for a more secluded stretch of sand, consider venturing to nearby Dania Beach or Hillsboro Beach — both of which are lauded for their quiet atmospheres and spectacular views.
Recent visitors loved Fort Lauderdale Beach for its wide, expansive shoreline, with some noting that even when there were a lot of people, it didn’t feel crowded. Many were impressed with how clean the beach is, with some others saying that, in combination with the calm waters, it’s a great place to bring kids. There is no charge to enter the beach, but parking will cost you (about $1 to $1.25 per hour, depending on the meter). Recent visitors said parking is limited, so plan to arrive in the morning to score a spot. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
3. Sawgrass Recreation Park
Take an airboat tour of the Florida Everglades at the Sawgrass Recreation Park, home to a huge range of flora and fauna, including a variety of birds, fish and alligators. And prepare to be amazed (or scared) by the close-up vistas of gators and other creatures. You can even reserve an airboat tour for nighttime runs to see nocturnal animals in their natural state. Visitors can also arrange for private tours, which are longer than the normal 30-minute runs.
Recent visitors loved their airboat experience at the Sawgrass Recreation Park. Many were surprised at how close they were able to get to the gators and found their tour guides to be knowledgeable and entertaining. The only thing that made some visitors uncomfortable (aside from being an arms length away from wild gators) were the small sizes of the cages in which the attraction’s animals resided.
Tours start after 9 a.m. each day, with the final boat tour at 5 p.m. Along with the ride, admission to the park also gives you the opportunity to explore various wildlife exhibits, including those inhabited by reptiles and other exotic creatures. Admission costs $22.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children younger than 4. On-site parking is free. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
4. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Located less than 2 miles north of the Bonnet House, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is situated between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean and boasts fun activities for all types of travelers. Those looking to get a little wet can canoe or kayak in the largest of the park’s coastal dune lakes. Adventurers who want to get their adrenaline pumping can bike along the nearly 2-mile paved park drive. Meanwhile, visitors who prefer to explore by foot can hike the Coastal Hammock Trail, which snakes through a native maritime tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem, one of the last of its kind in the county. Fisherman can make a catch at the seawall while bird-watchers can have fun trying to spot any one of the 250 species that live in and regularly grace the park. There are also free ranger-guided walks that take travelers through sensitive habitats, along the beach and even to Hugh Taylor Birch’s old residence, for which the park is named.
Many recent visitors were quick to call this attraction a hidden treasure that shouldn’t be missed, no matter how long your trip to Fort Lauderdale is. Travelers found the park to be an oasis: the flora and fauna abundant, the activities plentiful and a well-kept respite from the developing commercialism of Fort Lauderdale, which has ruffled the feathers of some guests of the city. Others appreciated the easy access to the beach, as there is a tunnel that brings visitors under the highway and directly to the shoreline.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown daily. There is a $6 entrance fee for vehicles of up to eight people; single-occupant vehicles pay $4. Travelers walking in pay $2. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
5. Stranahan House Museum
The oldest residence in Fort Lauderdale is now a living monument to Floridian life in the 1900s. Frank Stranahan originally constructed the house located off Las Olas Boulevard, as a trading post before making it a home for him and his wife Ivy, the city’s first schoolteacher. From this spot, he met and did business with Seminole Indians who were in the area. After Ivy Stranahan’s death in 1971, the building was purchased by the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and is now a museum that provides guided tours three times a day.
Not only were recent visitors fascinated by the rich history preserved within the home, but travelers also appreciated the knowledgeable docents and friendly staff. Visitors and locals also appreciated that this piece of Fort Lauderdale’s history still remains untouched, even in the midst of so many new developments being built around the city.
The Stranahan House is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission costs $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and $7 for students. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
6. Bonnet House
This house sitting in the middle of the city has a long romantic history. In 1919, a wealthy settler gave the 35-acre property (named after the bonnet lily flower that grew on the grounds) as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband Frederic. In 1920, the newlyeds began construction of Bonnet House, hoping to build a winter getaway where Frederic could pursue his art and Helen could work on her music and poetry. But construction soon stopped when Helen unexpectedly died in 1925. Frederic didn’t resume property renovations until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. The new couple continued decorating the house until Frederic’s death. Several decades later in 1983, Evelyn donated the house to the state’s Trust for Historic Preservation, opening it to visitors for guided tours.
Recent travelers said the Bonnet House has something to keep every type of traveler satisfied: art lovers, horticulture enthusiasts, animal lovers and history buffs will enjoy this attraction. The plantation home is ornately decorated and filled with artwork (all three residents of the house were artists of some kind), but the estate’s grounds are also well worth the visit. The campus is lush and beautiful for a nice walk through nature and even sometimes accompanied by monkeys. The conditions of the grounds and the informative docents were two aspects that recent visitors said make this such a must-see attraction. Some noted that not every room in the house has air conditioning, so bring a fan if you’re visiting during the summer months.
The Bonnet House is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only guided tours are available, and are held seven different times daily. Admission costs $20 for adults, $16 for students between the ages of 6 and 12, and is free for children younger than 6. If you’re only interested in seeing the gardens, admission costs $10. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
7. Museum of Discovery and Science
If it’s a rainy day and you need an indoor activity that appeal to the kids, take them to the Museum of Discovery and Science. The museum’s Eco discovery Center is filled with so many activities, animals and exhibits your kids may never want to leave. Get introduced to river otters, take a simulated airboat ride along the Everglades or learn more about Florida weather patterns at the Storm Center. There’s also an aviation station, where kids can climb into the cockpit of a DC-9 commercial airliner, and dinosaur bones at the Fishy Fossils exhibit. If that’s not enough, guests can venture into the 7-D capsule theater that takes visitors on a flight through the sky to learn more about the mechanics of aviation. There’s also a 300-seat Imax theater showcasing documentaries and major motion pictures.
Recent visitors with and without families highly recommended a stop at the museum, with some adults saying they felt like a kid again from all that they were able to learn at the exhibits. Other visitors, however, felt slighted that some parts of the museum cost extra considering they already found the admission price steep. Some travelers also noted that the simulators were outdated and in need of an upgrade, as some parts didn’t function as promised.
The Museum of Discovery and Science is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The AutoNation Imax Theater is open every day with the exception of holidays. Admission costs $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and $13 for children between the ages of 2 and 12, as well as members of the military. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett
8. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
Las Olas Boulevard’s NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is a great spot to escape the hot or rainy weather, according to recent visitors. The modern art museum features more than 6,000 works from a variety of artists in its permanent collection, including the largest holding in the country of post-war and avant-garde works from CoBrA (stands for Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam) artists in the country. There is also a significant amount of work from various Latin and Latin-American artists, as well as art from African, Native American and Oceanic Tribal Arts. The museum has rotating exhibits, previous of which have included the likes of Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso. Along with an extensive art collection, the more than 50-year-old museum also works in conjunction with Nova Southeastern University to provide art classes for visitors.
Recent visitors lauded the museum for its quality exhibits and diverse range of artwork. Others appreciated the museum’s small size, saying it was a breath of fresh air compared to overwhelmingly large museums they have visited before. Some complained about the absence of maps given by the museum, but the majority agreed that this is an attraction not to skip when visiting Fort Lauderdale.
The museum has different hours throughout the week. From Tuesday through Saturday, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursday closing time is extended three hours. On Sunday, the museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. and is closed on Mondays. Admission costs $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and military members, $5 for students and free for children younger than 12. #FortLauderdale #Ftlauderdale #AndrewBarnett