Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource

Fort Lauderdale Family Vacations Include Lots of Fun Beyond the Beach. The beaches, waterways and parks frame a rich menu of activities and make it easy to  unwind and escape from the stresses of everyday life. Imagine more than 300 miles of navigable waterways and 40,000 resident yachts. The area provides sophisticated fun-in-the-sun, and offers oodles of family vacation activities beyond-the-beach. 

Chase butterflies. If you’re looking for beauty and tranquility then Butterfly World is a must see. Thousands of live, rainbow-hued butterflies dwell in ten acres of waterfalls, orchids, roses and tropical gardens that are also home to fish, hummingbirds, lorikeet, insectarium, butterfly farm and outdoor cafe. Butterfly World is located in beautiful Tradewinds Park. Bonus Points: Two coloring books for are posted in a download space at the website- “Flying Colors” for toddlers and “A Children's Book of Colors.” Need to know: Admission discount coupons are available on their website.  (Butterfly World 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek, FL, 33073. (954) 977-4400 or

Let their dreams take center stage. At Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre all productions are performed by young people - the actors, the technicians, and the backstage crew members are all between the ages of 6 and 18. Their productions are ideal for any family, and are sure to inspire young thespians to get involved in theatre. (At Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre 640 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33312.  (954) 763-6882 or

Get back to nature. At the Flamingo Gardens & Wray Botanical Collection visitors are invited to connect with nature and savor the beauty of the wild. The 60-acre botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary features exotic and native plants, citrus groves, Florida’s “Champion” trees, and a 200-year-old hammock. A free-flight aviary, a bird of prey center, as well as alligators, flamingos and bobcats round out this experience of the wilder side of Florida. Need to know: Tickets for children 4-11 are only $8.50 and children under 3 are admitted free of charge; senior citizens, armed service personal, and students also receive discounted tickets. (Flamingo Gardens & Wray Botanical Collection 3750 S. Flamingo Road, Davie, Florida, 33330.  (954) 473-2955 or

Dive in to discovery. With over 200 fascinating interactive exhibits the Museum of Discovery & Science is a great place for families. For nature enthusiast the museum has the largest living Atlantic coral reef in captivity, complete with sharks and thousands of fish and other marine life; bats, snakes, alligators, iguanas and turtles complete the diverse menagerie. Future space explorers will want to check out the museum’s new space exhibit and take the simulated trips to the Moon or Mars. For families with children under seven there is a specially designed Discovery Center offering hands on exploration. Bonus Points: Of course, the Blockbuster 3D Imax Theatre is also a must-see for the entire family with feature programs like Mysteries of Egypt, Wired to Win, and Imax Deep Sea 3D. (Museum of Discovery & Science 401 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33312. (954) 467-6637 or Ride into the sunset. For the family with burgeoning bronco-riders and wannabe cow pokes, Broward Country’s oldest and largest public riding stable is the ideal location. At the Bar-B-Ranch riders of all ages and levels can go on scenic trail rides, take both English and Western riding lessons, or participate in a riding day camp. (Bar-B-Ranch 3500 Peaceful Ridge Road (SW 121 Ave.) Davie, Florida, 33330. (954) 424-1060 or

Learn something new. In Seminole Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki means “a place to learn” and that’s just want the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Reservation is; the Seminole Tribe of Florida assembled the museum’s exhibits which demonstrate the history, culture, and way of life of their Seminole ancestors. Outside the museum is a 60-acre cypress dome laced with nature trails and bordering a living history village. Need to know: Children under the age of 4 are admitted free, seniors/students/children are only $6. (Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Big Cypress Reservation (HC-61), Clewiston, Florida, 33440.  (863) 902-1113 or    

Step back in time. The Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum is located in the city’s historic first hotel on the banks of the New River. Inside the museum hosts permanent collections (including preserved and recorded oral histories) and changing exhibits which depict the 1870 to 1939 development of the city of Fort Lauderdale. Also on site is the King-Cromartie House which depicts pioneer lifestyle circa 1907. Nearby is a replica of Broward County’s first school house from 1899. Need to know: Children under the age of 6 are admitted free while tickets for students (up to the age of 22) are only $5 with valid ID. (The Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum 231 SW 2nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33301. (954) 463-4431 or  

Discover the joy. A unique spin on the traditional children’s museum, the My Jewish Discovery Place is a hands-on, interactive museum with a focus on Jewish culture, history and values. The museum is dedicated to providing a stimulating environment in which creativity, learning and play function as a bridge to understanding a multi-cultural world. (My Jewish Discovery Place 6501 West Sunrise Blvd., Plantation, 33313. (954) 792-6700 or

Ride a trolley. Downtown Fort Lauderdale is a great place to enjoy a day (or night) out, and with the complimentary trolley service through the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District there’s every reason to put it high on your to-do list. Restaurants, shopping and the arts are all centered in the downtown district including the Old Fort Lauderdale Village, Las Olas Boulevard, the Museum of Art, and the Stranahan House as well as many other points of interest. (The Trolley Las Olas Boulevard, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (954) 761-3543 or  


Do what you “Wannado.” Unlike any other metropolis in America, Wannado City™ is a complete city created from the point of view of its kidizens™. It's an entertainment park with pint-sized fire and police stations, a hospital, bank, flight training center, circus, theater, television studio, radio station, fashion house, dance club and newspaper — all designed to inspire kids, ages 4 to 11, to play grown-up and live out their dreams Wannado City™ even has its own monetary system. Once a child runs out of Wongas™, he or she selects a new career to earn some more. Great news for young families, Wannado City, America's first indoor role-playing theme park for kids, has partnered with the exhibition and created several Tut and Egypt related experiences for children. Receive a coupon for admission to Wannado City at the museum. Then make time to uncover never before seen artifacts and translate Egyptian Hieroglyphics; see a new show, King Tut, the Boy King. (Wannado City™ 12801 Sunrise Boulevard, Anchor D Sunrise, FL 33323. 1-888-WANNADO (954-838-7100 or

Trip Reads - Books to enjoy with the kids.

Boys Who Rocked the World: From King Tut to Tiger Woods. Written and illustrated by Lar Desouza and Mattie J. T. Stepanek. Featuring boy heroes from around the world and across the centuries, Boys Who Rocked the World profiles already famous heroes along with those who have been overlooked by history or not yet credited for their contributions. Included in the lineup of the famous are King Tut, pharaoh of Egypt at age 9; Elvis Presley, winner of a singing contest at 10; Pablo Picasso, accepted into the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona at 14; and Tiger Woods, the youngest golfer to win the U.S. Junior Amateur at 15. (Ages 9-12) 

Legends of the Seminoles. Written by Betty Mae Jumper, Peter Gallagher. For the first time, the Seminole stories and legends told to children late at night around the campfires, and handed down through generations have been set down for all to enjoy. These rich tales impart lessons about living in the natural world,  introduce adventurers good and bad, human and animal and attempt to explain why the world is the way it is. (All Ages) 

Waiting for Wings. Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. This inventively designed picture book follows the life cycle of the butterfly from a caterpillar to a beautiful vibrant butterfly. With rhyming text and wonderfully colorful collages this is a delightful way to introduce young children to the world of the butterflies. Near the end are several pages of detailed information of butterflies including a visual glossary for butterfly identification and ideas for growing a butterfly garden. (Ages 3-7)

Content researched and poste dby Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Photos by VisitFlorida. Copyright 2013.