South Florida Fort Lauderdale Miami Attractions Things to See and
Do Broward County While Traveling
interesting Fort Lauderdale / Miami places from a native Floridian
born here in 1962...
are a million of sites online about south Florida. Most written
by people who don't even
live here. Being a long time native Floridian, I hope this site
will be helpful
if you are traveling or visiting us.
Spanish Monastery - The Monastery of
St. Bernard de Clairvaux was built in Sacramenia, in the Province
of Segovia, Spain, during the period 1133-1141. In 1925 William
Randolph Hearst purchased the Cloisters and the Monastery's outbuildings.
The structures were dismantled stone by stone, bound with protective
hay, packed in some 11,000 wooden crates, numbered for identification
and shipped to the United States.
- Visit Bar-B-Ranch for horseback riding lessons. They teach both
English and Western styles of riding. It's a great place to ride,
whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider. They have appropriate
horses for nearly every level of riding experience.
Planetarium - This state-of-the-art facility features a 40-foot
dome using a Definiti fulldome video system that lets you see
the night sky as it should be seen—without city lights.
Attend day or evening shows designed to educate and entertain.
Swamp Safari - The Seminoles clearly understand the importance
of their land and rich heritage. The idea of presenting a safari
experience here on the Reservation was developed as many people
traveled through our reservation looking for native village chickees
and Indian culture, however, they couldn't find it. Billie Swamp
Safari opened it up to visitors from around the world. Offers
daily tours into reservation wetlands, hardwood hammocks and sloughs
where wildlife abounds, sightings of deer, water buffalo, bison,
wild hogs, hawks, eagles other rare birds and alligators are common
- there are even Florida panthers in the area. (editors
note: If you are going to see one of the true parts of Florida
and learn some of what it was like before northern land developments
ruined most of south Florida, this is what you want to see.)
House Museum & Gardens- Fort Lauderdale. A Visual Tour
through the art galleries and rooms of one of the premier historical
homes in South Florida, a stunning testament to an elegant and
romantic era. Built in 1920, Mr. Bartlett's personal interpretation
of a plantation house was designed to promote a gracious indoor-outdoor
lifestyle filtered by coastal breezes from the Atlantic Ocean
and to express his sense of whimsy with decorative delight. The
life and love shared at Bonnet House radiates from within the
artistry of the home and tranquility of its thirty-five acre setting.
Bonnet House, named after the yellow water lily that once grew
in the property's marshland, exemplifies the lives of the families
who owned the property for nearly a century.
Bar Tavern - is Fort Lauderdale's oldest bar. Brownie
Robertson obtained the first liquor license in Fort Lauderdale
when he opened this bar in 1939. (south in Dade County, where
is Miami is, was a dry county). A faded black and white photo
of beer being delivered by a two horse-powered truck paradoxically
hangs on the wall near the Pearl Jam-filled Touch Tunes jukebox.
Photos of entertainers from the '30s and '40s also hang from the
wall and serve as reminders of times past. You can find nostalgic
portraits in just about any bar, but many of these relics are
inscribed with the words, ''Thank you, Brownie'' -- Brownie Robertson
would hire black musicians when it was extremely unpopular to
do so. Even though this establishment is more than 65 years old,
it doesn't look like it has been around since the before World
War II. But that said, the decor is light-years away from strobe
lit, ultra modern, South Beach nightclubs. Brownie's is simply
one of those timeless saloons with an unchanging look: wood paneling,
neon beer signs, two pool tables and green cushioned bar stools.
Occupying these stools are Average Joe's like myself, high-profile
judges from the nearby courthouse, and everyone in between. Sitting
next to me was a middle-aged woman who remembers being a little
girl at this bar when her mom stopped in from time to time for
a few cold ones. (Editors note: The bar
was on Andrews avenue and just north of south 17 street, almost
across from Broward General Hospital). Sadly, it was destroyed
by greed and lawyers in 2010.
World - Amidst thousands of flowers, tropical plants, waterfalls,
gardens, and classical music, Butterfly World is a unique, breath-taking
site that is one of Florida's leading tourist attractions. The
Tropical Rain Forest Aviary is one of Butterfly World's finest
attractions. This mammoth 8,000 square foot screened enclosure
is a marvelous, open air environment within which to enjoy the
flight of thousands of live butterflies. It is also the largest
single butterfly habitat in the world, soaring to 30 feet in height
and enclosing 240,000 cubic feet of space. Inside, over 5,000
butterflies enjoy a natural rain forest environment, complete
with flowers, trees, a waterfall, a cave and a cooling tropical
Castle- Since it is documented that no one ever witnessed
Ed's labor in building his rock gate park, some say he had supernatural
powers. Ed would only say that he knew the secrets used to build
the ancient pyramids and if he could learn them, you could too!
Now we wonder what exactly was the source of inspiration that
drove this man for 28 years to carve a Coral Castle from the ground
up using nothing but home made tools from junk parts. Unrequited
love? Ancient sciences that defy gravity, or just sheer, raw human
determination? The Coral Castle is an everlasting mystery to those
who explore it.
Gables Venetian Pool- Fed by underground artesian wells, Venetian
Pool was once a quarry pit, its only value being limestone it
produced for the construction of that time. Through the creative
efforts of Merrick's artist-uncle Denman Fink, and architect Phineas
Paist, this eyesore was transformed in 1924 to what was then called
Venetian Casino. During its heyday gondolas plied its waters.
Esther Williams and Johnny Weismuller of Tarzan fame swam its
length. The orchestras of Paul Whitman and Jan Garber serenaded
pool side dancers as they swayed beneath the stars on outdoor
terrazzo dance floors.
Room- Fort Lauderdale. Established in 1938 at Las Olas Boulevard
and A1A, the Elbo Room dates to when the only thing separating
bar and sea was a comparatively quiet two-lane. WWII sailors flocked
here in the ‘40s, followed by decades of Spring Breakers,
and legendary ambiance extends to the present day for anyone still
reveling in the 1955's movie
Where the Boys Are nostalgia. Lauderdale Beach has been ruined
by northern developers, this is the last real native establishment
left. (editors note: Yep, been there
many times in my youth. :- )
Alligator Farm- Everglades Alligator Farm, one of Homestead's
busiest attractions draws tourist and camera crews from all over
the world. The privately owned attraction is a real working alligator
farm, according to owners, Charles and Deborah Thibos. The Everglades
Alligator Farm is currently home to about 2,000 alligators of
all sizes. The smaller alligators are kept in grow out pens and
the larger alligators are in natural settings called breeding
ponds. It takes about 6 years for an alligator to start breeding.
The female alligator will have only one clutch of eggs a year,
depending on the mother's age and fertility the clutch will contain
up to 45 eggs. A trip to the alligator farm includes an exciting
airboat tour into the surrounding Everglades and a walk around
the farm to see the alligators, crocodiles, caimans, and wildlife.
National Park- Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no
mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land.
Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the
source of water, but as the receiver of it. To its natural abundance
we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes
this place from all others in our country." With these words,
President Harry S. Truman formally dedicated Everglades National
Park on 06 December 1947 in a ceremony held at Everglades City.
This event culminated years of effort by a dedicated group of
conservationists to make a national park in the Florida Everglades
a reality. The Visitor Center near the main park entrance is dedicated
to one of the foremost of these far-sighted individuals, Ernest
Tropical Botanic Garden - Assembling and maintaining an outstanding
botanical collection has been a fundamental part of the institution's
existence since 1938. Indeed, even before Fairchild Tropical Botanic
Garden was created, Montgomery and Fairchild dedicated themselves
to collecting, documenting and studying tropical and subtropical
plants from around the world, especially the palms and cycads
which are still the most significant Fairchild collections.
Gardens & Wray Botanical Collection - See a touch of history
on 60 acres of lush gardens, showcasing rare, exotic and native
plants. Tour the citrus groves and the Wray Botanical Collection.
Explore the "Free-Flight" Aviary, Everglades Wildlife
Sanctuary and historic Wray Home. Visit our gift & garden
shops and enjoy an eco-experience of the Florida Everglades.
Lauderdale Antique Car Museum - Founded by Arthur O. Stone,
former CEO of Buning the Florist, Inc., the museum has assembled
a collection of pre-war Packard automobiles and other memorabilia,
which represents Mr. Stone's love for this unique automobile.
Contains 22 Packard automobiles from 1900 to the 1940's, along
with a gallery dedicated to the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt
plus several special collections of automobile memorabilia.
Park - At Gator Park you'll see all sorts of wildlife - such
as alligators, turtles, snakes, fish and exotic birds -as you
take one of our famous Airboat Rides deep into the Everglades
National Park. All our tours are narrated by professional guides
so you'll have the opportunity to learn about the unique wetlands
and its native inhabitants.
Railroad Museum - The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is a non-profit
organization dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and operating
historic railroad equipment. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum has
over 40 pieces of railroad rolling stock and equipment.
Game Fishing Association Museum - The IGFA Fishing Hall of
Fame & Museum is one of South Florida's most unique and exciting
attractions. Stories, records, and accomplishments of recreational
fishing's finest. Overhead, life-sized mounts of world-record
sport fish float in formation, surrounded by flags from various
IGFA member nations. Exhibits of World Record catches from All-Time
Greats to new Pending Records. As you go through the World Records
Gallery see the decorative awards case. Be sure not to miss a
visit through the virtual bait & tackle shop. The Wetlands
Walk exhibit mimics the natural environment of swamps, marshlands,
and mangroves. No detail of these complex ecosystems is overlooked
to help communicate a realistic perception of these fragile habitats
teeming with life. (right next door to this place is a Bass Pro
Shop as well).
Swimming Hall of Fame - The International Swimming Hall of
Fame (ISHOF) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the mecca and international
showplace for swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.
The Museum, Library and Archive contain the world's largest collection
of aquatic memorabilia and the single largest source of aquatic
books, manuscripts and literature. As Olympic swimmer and Tarzan,
Johnny Weissmuller said at the Hall of Fame's inaugural in
1965, "I am happy and honored to be recognized among swimming's
elite athletes. It is here where I will keep my swimming memorabilia,
tell stories of my days in swimming and the movies and offer my
services towards the pursuit of helping each youngster pursue
their dreams." Johnny did this until his death in 1984, but
at the Hall of Fame, his spirit continues to live to inspire the
youth of today and to serve as a model for which young athletes
Gleason Mausoleum - The Great One lies in Miami.
Ice Cream Parlor - South Florida's Favorite Old-Fashioned
Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant! While the Ice Cream eatery enjoys
over half a century of continued operations, the history which
is Jaxson's, predates the year 1946 when the Udell family moved
to South Florida from the East bringing with them decades of old
recipes for ice cream and food preparations.
Jaxson's takes special pride in all of its products. Jaxson's
Ice Cream and topping are prepared daily on the premises using
the freshest dairy cream, berries, and nuts.
Queen - For over 60 years, Fort Lauderdale, Florida's legendary
Jungle Queen Bar-B-Que and Shrimp Dinner Cruise is known throughout
the world, and it's more than 14 million guests over the years
have enjoyed the fun-filled, relaxing evening aboard the Jungle
Queen. The cruise up the New River , the "ALL YOU WISH TO
EAT" dinner, the variety show and the sing-a-long have made
it a "Must" in Fort Lauderdale. There is nothing else
like it, and when your friends find out you were in Fort Lauderdale,
they'll ask, "Were you on the Jungle Queen?".
(editors note: If you are a couple of adults enjoying a night
out, you will probably want to ride the large Riverboat. However,
if you want to hear great stories and learn something of Fort
Lauderdale and the New River, the smaller boat is the way to go.
It doesn't provide drinks, food and such, but you can hear the
guide, it's quieter, and has more "fun" factor to it
for the kids. More personal. Also, even though the large boat
starts out first for Dinner followed by the smaller boat, when
you get to where you eat, it pulls over and let's the smaller
boat to the dock first !).
Inlet Lighthouse - The Jupiter Lighthouse (somewhat actually
north of Fort Lauderdale a bit) not only serves to warn approaching
ships of the treacherous reefs so closely located to the shipping
lanes in the Gulf Stream, but it is said that the light's beam
also served the early mariners northbound from the tropics as
a landfall from which they could catch the northern flowing current
to aid them in making good time to northern ports. The lighthouse
lens is a Fresnel lens, in this case the First Order Fresnel lens.
There are only thirteen of these early First Order lens still
in use in the United States. The light flashed for 1.2 seconds,
eclipses for 6.6 seconds, flashes again, eclipses 21 seconds and
then repeats the cycle. It can be seen for a distance of eighteen
miles. It has one million candlepower.
Restaurant & Show - The award winning cuisine includes
Cantonese and American dishes from fresh seafood and steaks grilled
to perfection, to house specialties like Peking Duck, Rack of
Lamb and Lobster Bora Bora. Each Room reflects a different region
of Polynesia and overlooks a waterfall or lagoon. Stroll by giant
tiki sculptures standing guard over the gardens. The exciting
45 minute Islanders Revue is performed twice nightly by native
Polynesian dancers in colorful costumes. The beautiful maidens
and agile warriors recreate, through dance, details of many facets
of life in the Islands.
Metro Zoo - This zoo is so amazing. First, it's huge. It has
wide open spaces for all the animals. It has all kinds of special
programs and ways to enjoy not just the animals, but the whole
area, such as bicycles or canoe tours. Don't miss their White
Tigers. (editors note: if you visit during
the summer, be ready for some heat. The walkways are really wide
and out in the open sun. Be sure and drink up and have a hat,
sun tan lotion, to beat the rays. During the heat, the animals,
like humans, like to be lazy, and would be more active during
Museum of Science and Planetarium - Late 1966 was the construction
of a Space Transit Planetarium which soon became the leading facility
of its kind in the world. Its activities now include international
television programming. The next decade, which brought the association
of 15 affiliate clubs representing various scientific disciplines,
broadened the scope of activities offered and provided an important
forum for exchange. During the last decade, the Museum has expanded
to provide space for 4,000 member families, over 250,000 annual
visitors, one of the largest summer science camps in the nation
(ages 3 to 14) and countless additional exhibits, collections
Seaquarium - In the early 1940's, Fred D. Coppock and Capt.
W.B. Gray recognized the need for an appreciation of our oceans
and set forth in designing the first major marine park attraction
in South Florida: Miami Seaquarium. Coppock and Grey envisioned
a place where people of all ages could experience the fabulous
wonders of the ocean. As pioneers of their time, they spent the
next ten years developing a bold new facility to care for animals.
Finally with its grand opening in 1955, the dream was underway.
Over the years, generations have heard the bark of a sea lion,
seen the grace and beauty of a dolphin and felt the splash of
a mighty Killer Whale. (editors note:
The lagoon where the Dolphins do their show is part of where the
TV Show was filmed.)
Jungle - MONKEY JUNGLE was an innovator of many of the concepts
currently seen in the design of zoological parks. It is home to
nearly 400 primates, most running free on a 30 acre reserve. It
is one of the few protected habitats for endangered primates in
the United States and the only one that the general public can
explore. A total of 30 species of primates are represented at
MONKEY JUNGLE including gibbons, guenons, spider monkeys and colobus.
The Golden Lion Tamarin is native to the Brazilian jungle. Threatened
with extinction, MONKEY JUNGLE proudly participates in an international
effort to save the tiny creature. (editors
note: if I remember right, the original spider monkeys were released
to the Florida wild when the old 1930's Tarzan movies were being
Museum & Japanese Gardens - Since its opening in 1977,
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has been a center for
Japanese arts and culture in South Florida, with rotating exhibitions
in its galleries, tea ceremonies performed monthly in its Seishin-an
tea house, an educational outreach program with local schools
and organizations, and Japanese traditional festivals celebrated
for the public several times a year. The Morikami Museum Collection
houses 5,000 Japanese art objects and artifacts, including a 500-piece
collection of tea ceremony items, more than 200 textile pieces
and recent fine art acquisitions. The 200 acres that surround
The Morikami’s two museum buildings include expansive Japanese
gardens with strolling paths, resting areas, tropical bonsai collection,
small lakes teeming with koi and other wildlife, nature trails,
pine forests and park and picnic areas.
of Art - Located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale's
Arts and Entertainment District, the Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale
is Broward County's most exciting venue for cultural activities.
The Museum features an ever-changing menu of exhibitions, along
with an ambitious education program offering art classes in a
variety of media and subjects for all ages and skill levels, and
weekly special events ranging from jazz concerts to lectures to
of Discovery & Science & IMAX Theatre - There is always
something new happening at the Museum of Discovery and Science.
Spend a day of discovery at MODS exploring hundreds of interactive
exhibits. You can hang out with bats, turtles, sharks and explore
Florida’s amazing Everglades. Meet alligators, get charmed
by a 12-foot snake, pet a big green iguana, fly like an astronaut,
and immerse yourself in a five-story, giant-screen adventure at
the Blockbuster IMAX Theater. (editors
notes: If you take young children, they will have such a good
time in the museum they will not want to leave! )
World - Ocean World Fort Lauderdale is gone, it was closed
down in 1994. But it had all the aquatic attractions, such as
alligators, sharks, and of course dolphins. Ocean World was located
on SE 17th Street just west of the inter coastal bridge on the
north side. No, this is not where Flipper was filmed, that was
the Miami Sequarium. (editors note:
At Ocean World, at least during the day, some Dolphins where in
a small tank low enough to where you could reach in and touch
them. Which I thought was just awesome the first time I went as
a kid ).
Fort Lauderdale Village & Museum- Old Fort Lauderdale
Village offers many programs and activities. These include: teaching
children about pioneer life through hands-on reenactments, a museum
of pioneer lifestyle, schoolhouse class programs, guided tours
of exhibits in the museum of history, guided walking tours of
the historic district and special events and lectures throughout
Beach Maritime Museum- Following a lengthy restoration
and construction program, they now have four facilities: 1. The
former U.S. Coast Guard Station, Boathouse and President John
F. Kennedy command post and bomb shelter on Peanut Island; 2.
The marine science field office and dock on the Intracoastal Waterway;
3. An educational center, preview building and ferry dock at Currie
Park in West Palm Beach and 4. the new location for our Palm Beach
Maritime Academy K-8 Charter School.
Jungle - Austrian born Franz Scherr came to America in 1911,
and 25 years later, he started a most unusual tourist attraction,
Miami's Parrot Jungle. From this rapport with nature, Franz Scherr
created a most unusual attraction. Parrot Jungle is now the home
for 1,100 tropical birds, 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers,
and the best trained bird show in the world. It is a place where
exotic birds "fly free" everyday.
Tribe of Florida - The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum is one of the
finest American Indian museums in the United States. It features
the nation’s largest display of the life and culture of
the unconquered Florida Seminoles through exhibits, rare artifacts
and cultural displays. Located on the Seminole Tribe’s Big
Cypress Reservation in the Florida Everglades, the 5,000 square
foot museum is just three miles from Billie Swamp Safari Eco-Heritage
Florida Science Museum and Planetarium, Miami- During the
last decade, the Museum has expanded to provide space for 4,000
member families, over 250,000 annual visitors, one of the largest
summer science camps in the nation (ages 3 to 14) and countless
additional exhibits, collections and activities. The yearly operating
budget has grown to 2.5 million dollars.
Florida Science Museum WPB - Recently renovated our facility
and updates included a complete re-construction of our 5,000 square
foot Hall of Discovery, containing 30 new or rehabilitated hands-on
exhibits, upgraded planetarium, new 1,000 square foot early childhood
education room; upgraded theater, a new science laboratory and
upgraded amenities. The third phase of our renovation is underway
and we have big plans for a Science Center
House - A guided tour of Fort Lauderdale's historic Stranahan
House is like a magical journey through time. Experience
a link to the time when the Seminole Indians made friends with
a young Ohioan who came to the frontier settlement now known as
Fort Lauderdale. Imagine the young Frank Stranahan winning
the hand of Ivy Cromartie and building her a home so charming
and enduring it serves today as a unique museum. The Florida
vernacular style Stranahan House has served as a trading post,
post office, bank and town hall. Restored to its 1913 configuration,
it's a "must see" in South Florida.
Museum & Gardens - Vizcaya is a National Historic Landmark.
Vizcaya was built by American industrialist James Deering, who
wintered on the property from 1916–1925. Today, the extraordinary
European-inspired estate includes a house filled with art and
furnishings, ten acres of gardens on Biscayne Bay, a hardwood
hammock (native forest), and an historic village that is being
restored for public enjoyment.
At Art Children's Museum - Young At Art, is South Florida's
unique, hands-on children's museum. Enter a new dimension of learning
and creativity by touching, exploring, creating, imagining and
enjoying the limitless possibilities of art.
Fort Lauderdale Miami Attractions Things to See and Do Broward County