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Just 6,000 years ago, Florida's familiar landscape took shape - an appendix resembling a hitchhiker's thumb, filled with exotic plant and animal forms. It boasts some 1,300 miles of shoreline, second to none except for Alaska. Her beaches stretch about 800 miles, more than 30,000 lakes are present - including 730 square miles of Lake Okeechobee - the fourth largest lake in the United States. Almost 15% of Florida is water.

Evolution
Florida's earliest inhabitants were paleo-Indians. In around the year 2000 B.C. pottery began to be created in Florida. Approximately 800 years prior to when it appeared in the rest of the United States. The Tequesta Indians settled along the Gold Coast, which is now Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Credit for the European discovery of Florida usually goes to Spain's Don Juan Ponce de Leon. However, it is believed that an Italian named John Cabot may have beat him to it. No matter, the fact still remains that these Indian tribes vanished from the face of the earth less than three centuries after Columbus arrived in 1492. Fort Lauderdale, the middle of the now Gold Coast was a swamp back in 1857. During the Seminole Wars a wooden fort was built and named after Tennessee Volunteer Major William Lauderdale. Then the fort was left to rot in the midst of a mangrove swamp. Runaway slaves and army deserters used it for a hideout.

Tequesta Indians, Pottery, Then Columbus
To transform the swamp into prime real estate, it took a Charles Green Rhodes to plan the dredging of parallel canals, using the fill to create long peninsulas between them. It was the same theory used to create Venice, Italy, which earned Fort Lauderdale the nickname, "Venice of America." Flagler's railroad followed and the city was incorporated in 1911. Prior to the spring (break) migration was the Collegiate Aquatic Forum. A unique winter attraction that started in 1935. The word spread about the sun and beaches and the trickling of students coming down for spring break peaked in the 1960s with the Connie Francis' song "The Strip" and the beach-party movie "Where The Boys Are", a movie that may still be scene in theaters around Ft. Lauderdale. A few weeks of teen chaos each spring put Fort Lauderdale, a then rather small sleepy town, on the map. With the value of land located on water ever escalating and the foresight of the local government discouraging the spring break teen migrations - Fort Lauderdale has evolved into a mecca of sophistication.

Florida Statehood in 1911
During the 1990's Fort Lauderdale took a turn towards the more cosmopolitan. Fort Lauderdale today features beautifully preserved beaches, international dining, cosmopolitan shopping, championship golfing, rich cultural art and entertainment centers and forever sunshine.The diversified cultures have mixed together to form the perfect vacation atmosphere.

  View of the ca. 1928 Broward County Courthouse located at the site of the present courthouse. This view is of the main entrance, at the northwest corner of the intersection of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest 6th Street.
  The second photo on the left is a view of the west end of East Las Olas Boulevard looking west from about Southeast 1st Avenue, ca 1940s. The building in the center, on Andrews.
  The third photo to the left is Fort Lauderdale's first school which was located south of New River on what is today Andrews Avenue at about Southwest 5th Street.
Fort Lauderdale Attractions
To make your stay in Fort Lauderdale as exciting as possible, out Front Desk Staff will be more that happy to help you book tours or give you directions to see some of Fort Lauderdale’s many attractions.

Please browse through the following options to ensure you get to soak in the Best of our Great Location.

African American Research Library and Cultural Center
More than 75,000 books, documents, and artifacts focus on African American experiences in this sparkling showplace unveiled in 2002 as what retired Broward County Library Director Sam Morrison calls “a symbol of hope – a bridge across time and cultures, and an introduction to a world in which knowledge is the true power." Among compilations are the Alex Haley Collection including eight unfinished manuscripts by the author and cast photos from Roots. Also featured are the Charles Mills Phonograph Album Collection covering blues, popular and jazz albums. The 5,000-volume Daniel M. Johnson Collection charts African, African-American, and Caribbean history, the Fisk University Collection includes slave narratives, and the Kitty Oliver Oral Histories Collection on Race and Change contains manuscripts and recordings from Broward and Okeechobee. Well-lighted parking is free. 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard. (954) 625-2800
Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum
With a name meaning “a place to learn, a place to remember,” the museum honors Seminole traditions through display of artifacts and re-enactment of rituals and ceremonies. The living Seminole village has nature trails and a boardwalk into a cypress swamp. 17 miles north of Interstate 75, Exit 14.

Airboat Touring
Airboat tours, alligator wrestling and more await at the 30-acre Everglades Holiday Park, which also has a grill, convenience store, and campground with RV hook-ups. At Sawgrass Recreation Park, all sorts of wildlife from snakes and turtles to alligators are on view near an RV park with hook-ups and a gift shop. Everglades Holiday Park, 21940 Griffin Road. (800) 226-2244 Sawgrass Recreation Park, U.S. 27 north of Interstate 95. (954) 426-2474

Anne Kolb Nature Center
In West Lake Park, the Anne Kolb Nature Center (named for the late environmental activist, a former Broward Commissioner) has a five-level observation tower, fishing pier, two nature trails and an outdoor amphitheater. An exhibit hall features nature displays, a 3,500-gallon aquarium, and a 10-minute ecological-themed video, and the Mangrove Hall can be rented for activities. Boat tours depart from the nature center dock for 40-minute narrated excursions onto West Lake. The rest of the West Lake Park/Anne Kolb Nature Center complex is a 1,500+ acre coastal mangrove wetland sheltering an abundance of plants and animals, including some threatened species. Five boat trails offer wilderness area access for fishing and sightseeing. 751 Sheridan Street, Hollywood. (954) 926-2480

Antique Car Museum
The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, established to ensure preservation of the Packard Motor Co. history and showcase development of American automotive engineering skills, was founded by Arthur O. Stone, former CEO of Buning the Florist, Inc. The museum collection of pre-war models and other memorabilia represents his life-long passion for the Packard. Within are 22 beauties from a 1909 Packard Model 18 Speedster to a 1947 Packard Model 2111 Clipper Eight Deluxe Custom PU Truck, along with a gallery dedicated to the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 1527 Packard (S.W. 1st) Avenue. (954) 779-7300
Beach Options
With 23 miles of sun-drenched shoreline, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s beaches are within easy walking distance of hotels, restaurants and other attractions. Fort Lauderdale’s palm-fringed “Where The Boys Are” beach promenade is only the beginning. On family-oriented Hollywood Beach, bicycling, jogging and strolling are popular on a 2.5 mile broadwalk running parallel to golden sand. Among other possibilities are Deerfield Beach and the stretch of shoreline along village-like Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Between Dania Beach and Hollywood Beach is the pine-shaded John U. Lloyd Beach State Recreation Area, with a jetty, marina, trails, and canoeing on Whiskey Creek. This is also an excellent vantage point for watching cruise ships enter and depart Port Everglades, just to the north. 6503 North Ocean Drive. (954) 923-2833.

Billie Swamp Safari
Airboat and swamp buggy rides, walking safaris, and Indian cultural history unfold at this attraction providing close-ups of the Seminoles’ 2,200-acre Big Cypress Reservation. Daily tours head into reservation wetlands, hardwood hammocks, and areas populated with alligators, bison, deer, ostrich, water buffalo, wild hogs, and rare birds. Swamp buggies (customized motorized vehicles) provide comfortable elevated views of the frontier, while faster-moving airboats ante up more thrills. Big Cypress Reservation. (954) 983-6101

Bonnet House
This 35-acre beachfront estate (named for the bonnet lily once blooming in swamplands) was the winter residence of the late Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett, artists whose whimsical taste permeates the breezy two-story home. (Lore has it that when alligators peek from the water, lilies sometimes cling to their heads like bonnets.) Evelyn loved monkeys and such a motif runs all over, with two monkey statues from New York’s Plaza Hotel flanking the den entrance. Decor melds with the colony of Brazilian monkeys outside, to this day adding swinging high notes to weddings and other outdoor celebrations. The estate first belonged to Hugh Taylor Birch, a Chicago lawyer arriving in 1893, enchanted by Fort Lauderdale’s untamed coastline. In 1919, when his daughter Helen married artist Bartlett (also from Chicago), Birch gave the property to the couple for a winter cottage. Bonnet House was completed in 1920, but Helen soon died unexpectedly. In 1931, Bartlett married Evelyn Fortune Lilly, who wintered at Bonnet House until 1995. She died in Beverly Mass. two years later at age 109, but not before making sure her outpost of romantic eccentricity was accorded protection from developer encroachment. Bonnet House, on the National Register of Historic Places, is a property of the Florida Trust. Peaceful surroundings insulate Bonnet House from city bustle. East of the boathouse is a fruit grove. As the main gate opens, the grand entrance is framed with stately melaleucas. Wetlands to the west have a mangrove jungle preventing erosion and supporting wildlife. Tours pass through the gift shop, stocking a cookbook for entertaining in Bonnet House style. 900 North Birch Road. (954) 563-5393
Buehler Planetarium
Surrounded by palms on the campus of Broward Community College, Buehler Planetarium was built in 1965 through a bequest from aviation pioneer Emil Buehler. Since opening, the planetarium has presented shows and astronomical programs to almost a million visitors. Through the Emil Buehler Trust, the planetarium was renovated in September 1988 with a Zeiss M1015 star projector and computerized automation, and since opening it has presented shows and astronomical programs to almost a million visitors. 3501 Southwest Davie Road. (954) 201-6681

Butterfly World
Winged wonders from South and Central America, the Philippines, Malaysia, and elsewhere are among some 80 species fluttering to heart’s content on this three-acre outdoor kingdom in northwest Broward’s Coconut Creek. The Tropical Rainforest Aviary has observations decks, waterfalls, ponds and tunnels. Also on premises are a breeding lab, museum, insectarium, garden center, cafe and gift shop. 3600 West Sample Road, Coconut Creek. (954) 977-4400

Dania Antique Row
A two-block stretch along Federal Highway in Dania Beach harbors scores of antique dealers buying, selling and talking vintage value. Once known as the “Tomato Capital of the World,” the winter harvest boom faded with saltwater intrusion into the soil, giving way to Dania’s affinity for a new type of commerce in all things old. After Genevieve and Willard Ely set up shop in 1945, it took a decade for others to follow, but shortly thereafter Dania began calling itself the “Antique Capital of the South.” Antique Row’s stores are housed inside buildings steeped in city history including Broward’s first movie theater. Architectural styles include Greek Revival (Dania Bank Building 1923); Mission Revival (Model Land Company Building 1900); Mediterranean Revival (the Martin Frost House 1913); and the Dania Beach Hotel, built by architect Francis Abreu in 1925. Art Deco styles also are evident in the Florida Theatre (1939) and the former Pirates Inn Hotel, originally known as the Hotel Katherine (1940).
Dania Jai-Alai
Played in Dania since 1953, American, Basque, American and Mexican professionals hurl a rock-hard ball at wall with speeds exceeding 170 m.p.h. Jai-Alai at the Dania fronton is an offspring of handball -- a game the ancient Greeks had a word for and that pharaohs may have viewed on the banks of the Nile some 4,000 years ago. What is now the sophisticated Basque sport of jai-alai developed from a simple game played long before an anonymous Mesopotamian built the first wheel. Handball was old when ancient Greeks called it "pilos" and played it for exercise on rough ground outdoors. The Romans played "pilatta," while French and English monarchs tried their royal hands at the game in the 14th and 15th centuries. Yet it was the Basques, those mysterious people with the tongue-twisting language, who polished one-wall handball into what is now the fastest ball game in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Dania Jai-Alai features pari-mutuel betting on live jai-alai games, horse racing and harness racing, with all kinds of bets including Win-Place-Show, Quiniela, Exacta, Trifecta, Pick 3, Tri-Super and more. 301 East Dania Beach Boulevard, Dania Beach. (954) 920-1511

Elbo Room
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-laner. 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 “Where The Boys Are” nostalgia. Not that the Elbo Room hasn’t kept up with the times. When Spring Break revelry got out of hand and the city cracked down on the $40 million per year debauchery, a lot of Break-oriented businesses went belly up. Through it all, the Elbo Room persevered. In 1993, the Elbo was granted the city’s first outdoor cafe license. Since then, its website has launched live, full motion cameras with sound including beach action showcasing weather (along with beach attire) of the day. Also on tap are an online Elbo store, bartender school registration, and a sign-up form for ElboRoom.com e-mail addresses. 241 South Atlantic Boulevard. (954) 463-4615
Evert Tennis Center at Holiday Park
Holiday Park is where tennis legend Chris Evert learned that famed two-handed back hand from her father who retired after nearly 40 years as the center’s tennis pro. The Jimmy Evert Tennis Center at Holiday Park has 21 courts (18 lighted with a clay surface). Holiday Park itself, housing War Memorial Auditorium, has a baseball/softball field, basketball court, a football/soccer field, jogging trails, picnic pavilions, children’s playground, racquetball, shuffleboard, lighted volleyball, horseshoe pits, and a bicycle path. The park, closed midnight to 5 a.m., charges no admission. 701 Northeast 12th Avenue. (954) 828-5378.

Fishing Options
On Hillsboro Boulevard, Cove Marina near the Cove Shopping Center has charters for sailfish, kingfish, tuna and more. In Pompano Beach Pompano Pier extends more than 1,000 feet into the Atlantic and has rod-and-reel rental along with bait. In Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, the 24-hour Anglin’s Fishing Pier supplies tackle, bait and a place to fish along with plenty of restaurant atmosphere. The 920-foot Dania Fishing Pier is also open around the clock. Bahia Mar Yacht Basin also has great charter opportunities. Anglin’s Fishing Pier, (954) 491-9403 Dania Fishing Pier, (954) 927-0640 Fish Lauderdale, (888) 484-FISH Pompano Pier, (954) 943-1488

Flamingo Gardens
This 60-acre botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary has exotic and native plants, a 200-year-old hammock, citrus groves and Florida’s “Champion” trees. Also awaiting are a Bird of Prey Center and free-flight walk-through aviary, plus alligators, flamingos and bobcats. 3750 Flamingo Road, Davie. (954) 473-2955
FlightFantastic Aerobatics
Take Aerobatic rides and instruction with two-time U.S. Aerobatic team member Dave Swartz in a Pitts S2B biplane. Passengers can loop and roll the aircraft themselves, or sit back and let the pilot perform. Either way, passengers control how exciting rides get. Flights of 30 minutes are bookable daily. Hangar 23, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. (954) 295-3136

Fort Lauderdale Historical Museum
Artifacts, photographs and other memorabilia from the Seminole period to the present are on display. 219 Southwest 2nd Street. (954) 463-4431

Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art
This building, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, has works by Picasso, Calder, Dali, Warhol and more, along with an impressive colletion of CoBrA. One Las Olas Boulevard. (954) 763-6464

Grand Prix Race-O-Rama
A SkyCoaster, Nascart Racing, bumper cars, an arcade, batting cages and miniature golf are part of the fun at this entertainment outpost adjacent to Interstate-95. 1801 Northwest 1st Street, Dania Beach. (954) 921-1411.

Gulfstream Park
Home to memorable racing feats, Gulfstream has hosted more than 160 national thoroughbred champions including Cigar, Holy Bull, and Bold Ruler. In 2003 during its 89-day season, Gulfstream marked a Florida pari-mutuel handle record for a single racing meet with $825.3 million. Despite running one day less, the handle was up 4.5 percent from Gulfstream’s previous state record in 2002 of $789.6 million. Gulfstream’s first racing “season” took place in 1939, and the first day of the meet on Feb. 1 exceeded expectations with a crowd of 18,000 and a mutuel handle of $224,287. The next three days had only $217,274 going through windows. After the fourth day, owners ran out of money and shuttered the track leaving Gulfstream dormant for the next four years. At that point, James Donn Sr., owner of Exotic Gardens (and among creditors left unpaid when Gulfstream closed) stepped in, and the rest is Donn family history. Gulfstream racing starts in January, and the park also hosts concerts with talent of national renown. Also featured are the Royal Palm Dining Room, with Florida fare from stone crabs to Everglades frog legs; the Rooftop Bar & Grille with the outdoor Hemingway Bar; the exclusive Turf Club; the Hebrew National Deli, and assorted Snack Shacks. 901 South Federal Highway, Hallandale. (954) 457-6185
Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area
Volleyball, horseshoes, canoe rentals, nature trails and more await amid tropical greenery at this 180-acre park sandwiched between 3.5 miles of shoreline and the Intracoastal Waterway. Wishing to protect his subtropical paradise from development, Hugh Taylor Birch donated his estate for use as a public park. It has several distinct biological communities, a freshwater lagoon system, and assorted endangered and threatened animals and plants. A self-guided nature trail or ranger-led walks are available, and a scenic park road allows exploration by bicycle. Birch’s home is now open as the Terramar Visitor Center with exhibits and a short orientation video. Other amenities include a playground, pavilions, barbecue grills, shaded picnic areas and an underground walkway leading from the parking area to the beach. 3109 East Sunrise Boulevard. (954) 564-4521

IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum
Next to Outdoor World - Bass Pro Shop, the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum immortalizes sportsfishing. Seven galleries include a virtual-reality opportunity to chase marlin, sailfish, tarpon, and more. Among some three dozen Hall of Famers are Dame Juliana Berners (credited with writing the first tract on fishing ever published in English); William C. Boschen (first to catch a broadbill swordfish on hook and line); George “The Fox” Bransford (pioneer of black marlin angling off Australia), Zane Grey (Western novelist and one-time holder of more than a dozen saltwater world records); Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize winner for the Old Man and the Sea); and James W. Jump (King of Light Tacklers). 300 Gulfstream Way, Dania Beach. (954) 920-1511

International Swimming Hall of Fame
When not hosting international competitions and events, two 10-lane pools are open to the public. An exhibition building features photos, medals, and other souvenirs, and a theater shows films of Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller. One Hall of Fame Drive. (954) 468-1580
Jungle Queen Riverboat
For more than 60 years, the Jungle Queen paddlewheeler and sisters in the fleet have plied Fort Lauderdale’s New River, transporting some 14 million guests past eye-popping waterfront homes, historic Stranahan House and other points including the vicinity of the 1836 Cooley family massacre. Cruise options departing from the Bahia Mar Yacht Basin include 3-hour sightseeing cruises daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, and daily dinner cruises featuring an island variety show and all-you-care-to eat barbecue and shrimp. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, an 8-hour cruise heads to Miami’s Bayside Marketplace. A1A at Bahia Mar Yacht Center. (954) 462-5596

Mai-Kai
Reigning with South Seas tranquility along Federal Highway since 1956, the landmark Mai-Kai captivates with a torch-lit, wooden plank bridge entrance leading to a thatched roof Polynesian Village. Giant tiki sculptures stand guard over the gardens, and cuisine includes Cantonese and American dishes from fresh seafood and steaks to house specialties like Peking Duck, Rack of Lamb and Lobster Bora Bora. There’s also a tamari (child’s menu) with items like Capt. Cook’s Rib’s in Secret Sauce. Each room, off the main showroom, reflects a different Polynesian region, overlooking a waterfall or lagoon. The Molokai Bar serves potent concoctions a la Zulu, Zombie, Shrunken Skull, and Yeoman’s Grog. Gift shop stock ranges from apparel and collector tiki mugs to dashboard hula guys and girls. Polynesian dancers perform a fiery 45-minute Islanders Revue twice nightly. 3599 North Federal Highway. (954) 563-3272
Markham Park
This sprawling 666-acre park, perched at the edge of the Everglades Conservation Area, has interlocking lakes yielding opportunity for fishing, boating, and there’s a swimming pool complex with mist pool, snack bar, lockers and showers/restrooms. An outdoor target complex includes 50-yard and 100-meter lighted rifle/pistol ranges, lighted skeet/trap fields, a mile-long automated sporting clays course, computerized 5-stand, and a clubhouse. Also on premises are the Fox Observatory, a model airplane field, and a mountain bike trail. A campground has 86 sites for RV and tent camping. Other facilities include bike and boat rental, tennis/racquetball center, a biking/jogging path, volleyball, nature and equestrian trails. Picnic shelters are available for rental, and picnic tables and grills are scattered throughout the park. A 1,600-square-foot clubhouse next to the target range also can be rented. Admission is $1 per person on weekends and holidays, and free through the week. 16001 West State Road 84, Sunrise. (954) 389-2000

Museum of Discovery and Science / Blockbuster 3D IMAX Theater
More than 200 hands-on exhibits are at this playground of the mind, with eight themed areas: Florida EcoScapes, KidScience, Gizmo City, Space Base, Sound, Choose Health, No Place Like Home and the Traveling Exhibit Hall. The five-story screen of the IMAX Theater showcases a changing schedule of film adventure for family entertainment. 401 Southwest 2nd Street. Museum (954) 467-6637. Theater (954) 463-4629

Office Depot Center
Home to the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, the Office Depot Center also attracts name entertainers for concerts and other performances. 2555 Panther Parkway Drive (N.W. 137th Way), Sunrise. (954) 835-7000.
Old Dillard Museum
Originally Dillard High School, built in 1924 as the first for blacks in Fort Lauderdale, this landmark has been restored as a cultural and educational center. 1001 Northwest 4th Street. (954) 765-6952

Pompano Park Harness Track
Pompano Park Harness Track is Florida’s only pari-mutuel harness racetrack, and South Florida’s only nighttime horse racing facility, ideal for entertainment after a day at the beach, on the golf course, or deep-sea fishing. Guests can also wager on simulcasting events and dine at the Top O the Park with a view of the horses and track. Tours are available for groups seeking an up close look at the trotters and pacers. 1800 Southwest 3rd Street, Pompano Beach. (954) 972-2000

Pro Player Stadium
Open-air Pro Player Stadium, on the Broward/Dade county line and home to Miami Dolphins football and Florida Marlins baseball, in 1987 revolutionized pro sports economics on opening as Joe Robbie Stadium with Club Level executive suites. In March, 1990, entrepreneur H. Wayne Huizenga, picked up 50 percent interest in the facility and became the point man in bringing Major League Baseball to South Florida. In 1994, Huizenga took sole stadium ownership, and in 1996, Pro Player (Fruit of the Loom’s sports apparel division) sponsored renaming of Joe Robbie to Pro Player. Its first football game was a pre-season Aug. 16, 1987 skirmish between the Dolphins and Chicago Bears. Major League Baseball officially began in South Florida with the spring, 1993 Marlin debut. 2269 Northwest 199th Street at the Florida Turnpike Stadium Exit 2X. (888) FINS-TIX
Quiet Waters Park
Despite the “Quiet” name, awaiting action includes Splash Adventure, a high-tech water play system with slides and tunnels. The 430-acre water-oriented park also has a lake for cable waterskiing, and boat rentals. Fishing is permitted on the shores of several lakes (freshwater fishing licenses may be required for ages 16 and up). A campground with 16 Rent-A-Tent sites provides pre-setup tents with equipment. Primitive camping is available for nonprofit groups, and rental picnic shelters include 150+ capacity, six 50+ capacity, and two 30+ capacity sites, all with grills, water, and tables. Quiet Waters also has a large playground, a biking/jogging trail, and a snack bar.
401 South Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach. (954) 360-1315.

Riverwalk Downtown Fort Lauderdale
Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk stretches for more than a mile along historic New River from near the Sailboat Bend neighborhood to near Stranahan House. Along the north bank of New River. (954) 468-1541

Secret Woods Nature Center
This 56-acre Designated Urban Wilderness Area on the south fork of New River opened in 1978 as Broward’s first interpretive nature center. The New River Trail, a 3,200-foot, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, travels through an oak hammock to an overlook on the river, showcasing a brackish-water wetland. The Laurel Oak Trail, a 1,200-foot, wood-chipped trail runs through the drier oak hammock, and an exhibit building has interpretive displays on the nature center's flora and fauna. Parking and admission are free. 2701 West State Road 84, Dania Beach. (954) 791-1030
Shopping and Entertainment
From flea markets to the world’s largest outlet mall, Greater Fort Lauderdale packs plenty of opportunity to streamline wallets and fill closets. Beach Place on Fort Lauderdale Beach has restaurants like Sloppy Joe's and Splash, along with a variety of shops and amusements. The The Galleria, also near the beach, has Neiman-Marcus, Dillards, Burdines and Saks Fifth Avenue along with 150 specialty shops. Fashionable Las Olas Shopping District is lined with shops and trendy restaurants. Just west of Andrews Avenue downtown is the Las Olas Riverfront entertainment center with restaurants, shops and a multi-screen theater. In Plantation, Broward Mall has Burdines, Sears, JC Penney and more, and the Fashion Mall at Plantation has Macy’s. As the South’s largest flea market, the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop has some 2,000 vendors open daily. Similarly, Festival Flea Market Mall also has an arcade, beauty salon, and farmers market among 800 shops, booths and kiosks. In Pompano Beach, Pompano Square Mall has about 60 shops and departments stores. In Sunrise, the alligator shaped Sawgrass Mills, ranks only behind Disney as the second biggest tourist draw in Florida, with more than 400 retail outlets and name-brand discounters, and an Oasis with restaurants including Wolfgang Puck Cafe and a Rainforest Cafe. Beach Place, 17 South Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Broward Mall, Broward Boulevard and University Drive, Plantation. Fashion Mall at Plantation, 321 North University Drive. Festival Flea Market Mall, 2900 West Sample Road, Coral Springs. Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop, 3291 West Sunrise Boulevard. The Galleria, 2414 East Sunrise Boulevard. Las Olas Riverfront, East of Andrews Avenue. Las Olas Shopping District, one block north of New River. Pompano Square Mall, 2001 North Federal Highway, Pompano Beach. Sawgrass Mills, 12801 West Sunrise Boulevard, Sunrise.
Stranahan House
Now a museum restored to a 1913 configuration, this turn-of-the-century structure nestled among downtown skyscrapers was the New River home of Fort Lauderdale’s first school teacher, Ivy Cromartie Stranahan. It was here that her husband Frank had run a trading post, doing business with the Seminoles. Despondent over ravages of the hurricane of ‘26 and the market crash of ’29, Stranahan did himself in by tying a weight to his leg and jumping into the river. Ivy continued living in the house until her death in 1971. The two-story Florida vernacular style building, which also has been a post office, bank and town hall, has Ivy’s blue and white china and pictures of Old Fort Lauderdale. Tours, by guides in turn-of-the-century costume, last about an hour. Las Olas Boulevard at Southeast Sixth Avenue. (954) 524-4736
T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park
The Seminole name for this 150-acre urban park means “meeting or gathering place,” and amenities include a 375-square-foot rental meeting cabin with picnic area accommodating 300, plus a lakeside gazebo, along with other picnic shelters for big groups. Its Whispering Pines Campground includes 60 rental RV and tent sites, 48 with water and electricity, hot showers/restrooms, laundry facilities, and a playground. Elsewhere in the park are Safety Town (a tiny village designed to teach pedestrian and bicycle safety to children) and Swimming Lagoon, including a waterfall, and a freshwater beach. Castaway Island water playground complex has two pools, picnic area, concession, and restrooms. In this complex is Wild Dolphins, a Kevin MacIvor fiberglass sculpture from the Public Art and Design program. T.Y. rents paddleboats and canoes, and has tennis and basketball courts, a biking/jogging path, and volleyball. Admission of $1 per person is levied on weekends and holidays, but not on week days. 3300 North Park Road, Hollywood. (954) 985-1980

Wannado City at Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall
America’s first indoor role-playing theme park where kids can be and do what they wanna awaits with the $40-million Wannado City at Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall. Kids, ages 4 to 11, role-play in up to 250 careers, from TV anchor to lawyer, doctor, firefighter, banker, police officer and beyond. Kids also gain money management savvy by deciding how to spend “earnings” from these jobs, choosing from options such as buying groceries, saving for a rainy day, or hot-footing it to a dance club. 12801 Sunrise Boulevard, Anchor D, Sunrise. (954) 838-7100 or (888) WANNADO

Water Taxi / Water Bus
As the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale’s extensive waterway network provides a scenic alternative for accessing attractions, hotels, restaurants and bars. Water Taxi/Water Bus, serving as a designated driver, has one-way fares, and passes for one-day, one-week and longer. 651 Seabreeze Boulevard (A1A), at the Radisson Bahia Mar Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale Beach. (954) 467-6677


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