17 Amazing Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale with Kids

There’s so much to love about South Florida – the sandy beaches, the swaying palms, the water sports that can be done near year-round. Fort Lauderdale, in particular, is a fantastic destination for families thanks to hands-on museums, science centers and planetariums.

Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale with Kids

For outdoor-loving families, there are loads of things to do in Fort Lauderdale with kids that can teach a new water skill. Get ready to go surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.

There are plenty of fun things to do inside too, like the Museum of Discovery and Science-Fort Lauderdale, the most-visited museum in the entire state. Here are 17 of the best activities in Fort Lauderdale for kids. Have fun.

#1: Get Hands-On at a Children’s Art Museum 

At the Young at Art Museum in nearby Davie, there’s so much for children to see and do to spark creativity. Explore permanent exhibits, like GreenScapes, which encourages a connection with nature, and CultureScapes, for a look at worldwide diversity. This is easily one of the most popular Fort Lauderdale attractions for kids and families.

#2: Take an Airboat Ride

You can’t travel to South Florida without paying a visit to the Everglades. Sign up for a thrilling 60-minute airboat ride with Everglades Holiday Park. On this ride you’ll learn all about the Everglades and even see a native gator or two (probably more).

Related: 8 Ways to Explore the Everglades (More than Just Airboat Rides)

An airboat ride ticket also includes a seat at the family-friendly gator show. During this show you’ll learn all about Florida’s most famous reptile, then have the opportunity to safely pose with a baby alligator at the end of the show.

#3: Get Up Close with Local Flora and Fauna

Flamingo Gardens

There’s a lot to see at Flamingo Gardens, including yes, flamingos and gardens. As part of the Wray Botanical Collection, there are multiple gardens worthy of a stroll, including a whimsical children’s garden and a colorful garden that showcases wildflowers native to South Florida.

A 23-minute narrated tram tour takes guests across the property where guests can see tropical rainforests and fruit groves, as well as mitigated wetlands. In the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary, look for alligators, flamingos, black bears, otters, parrots and a variety of turtles.

#4: Build Sand Castles and Splash in the Waves 

A family vacation in Fort Lauderdale isn’t complete without a trip to the beach. It’s easy to find a Fort Lauderdale beach for kids too. In fact, there are 23 miles of wide, sun-soaked sandy beaches in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Related article: Checking In: Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

Every beach in Greater Fort Lauderdale has its own sunny personality. Fort Lauderdale Beach is known for the best people-watching in South Florida. Meanwhile, Dania Beach is considered a hidden gem, better known for its beautiful and crowd-free beaches.

#5: Get an Ice Cream Cone in Las Olas

When considering what to do in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll definitely want to stroll along the palm tree-lined Las Olas Boulevard to window shop or pop into art galleries. Luigi’s Coal Oven Pizza is known for kid-friendly fare, and of course, you can’t pass by Kilwin’s without stopping in for a scoop of delicious hand-crafted ice cream.

#6: Visit the World’s Largest Butterfly Park

Butterfly World

Kids will love a trip to Butterfly World in nearby Coconut Creek to see thousands of vibrantly-colored butterflies. There’s also an on-site bug museum that kids will excite young children. Print out a discount coupon to save $3 per person on general admission.

Related article: Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Miami

#7: Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Rent a stand-up paddleboard or sign up for a lesson with Sunrise Paddleboards in Fort Lauderdale. Try the Island City Eco Tour and Lesson. It’s their most popular paddleboard option. Sunrise Paddleboards also rents jet skis and kayaks (single and double).

#8: Bargain Hunt at a Flea Market

Go to Festival Marketplace (formerly Festival Flea Market Mall) in nearby Pompano Beach to explore vendor booths and see what’s for sale at this quarter-mile long shopping plaza. Open daily you’ll find loads of sale-price deals on collectibles, flowers, produce and jewelry. 

#9: Get Hands-On at the Museum of Discovery and Science

Gravity Clock-MODS Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science attracts more visitors than any other museum in the State of Florida. Here you’ll find loads of hands-on exhibits that let littles learn all about fossils, minerals, healthy bodies, aviation, dinosaurs and local ecosystems.

Related: Florida Road Trip: 10 Stops to Make with Kids Across the Florida Keys

Outside, the new Science Park expansion allows children to learn about building and problem solving through fun exhibits, like the Tennis Ball Launcher, Sound Station, Sun Spotter and Cool Fan. There’s even an IMAX 3D Theatre with multiple showtimes each day.

#10: See the Night Sky

Head to Buehler Planetarium & Observatory on Wednesday evenings from 7 pm to 10 pm when the planetarium is open to the public to see what can be seen in the night sky. After the planetarium show, step out onto the patio to look for planets through powerful telescopes.

#11: Get Inspired at an Art Museum 

Wander the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale on Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. This delightful museum showcases a variety of creative works and exhibits, like Happy! (on view through July 5, 2020), an exhibition all about happiness. Outdoor murals on the museum’s exterior walls wow visitors before you even walk in the front entrance.

#12: Ride on a Riverboat

Jungle Queen Riverboat

Come aboard the Jungle Queen for a 90-minute narrated sightseeing cruise. As you sail along Fort Lauderdale’s New River, you’ll be treated to the homes of the rich and famous along Millionaire’s Row, as well as superyachts aplenty. You can also book four-hour dinner cruises.

#13:  Rent a Boat and Go Fishing 

At Sawgrass Recreation Park, rent a jon boat and go fishing in Broward County. The park also offers private guided fishing tours with an advanced booking. Sawgrass Recreation Park even offers airboat rides and hosts Gator Nights (nighttime airboat rides) on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

#14: Learn to Surf

Hangloose Surf School offers private one and two-hour surf lessons, including how to ride the waves and water safety. Sign up as a family and hang ten. The surf school even educates on ocean awareness to help us all become better environmental stewards.

Related article: 20 Free Things to Do in Orlando with Kids

#15: Get Outdoors at Hugh Taylor Birch State Parkhugh taylor birch state park

There’s a lot to do at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park for outdoor-loving families. Hike along the Coastal Hammock Trail through a tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem. Interpretive signs educate visitors on native flora and fauna. Or, rent bikes from Park & Ocean for a loop along the park drive. You can rent kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and stand-up paddleboards too.

#16: Burn Off Energy at an Indoor Children’s Activity Center

Most days in Fort Lauderdale are sunny, but on the occasional cloudy or rainy day, you’ll want to make a beeline for Flippo’s (formerly Funderdome Fort Lauderdale). Here you’ll find lots of fun toddler activities, as well as things to do for big kids, like a jungle gym, sports court, arcades and a laser maze.

Related article: 10 Things to Do as a Family in Sarasota

#17: Go on a Pirate Adventure

With Bluefoot Pirate Adventures, your kids will have a swashbuckling good time. Dress up like a pirate, learn pirate-speak, hunt for treasure, even fire the water cannons. Arrive 30 minutes early if you want to dress up like a pirate and get pirate tattoos. 

It’s amazing all the things to do with kids in South Florida, and more specifically, in Fort Lauderdale. Ready to book your Fort Lauderdale family vacation? Check out the latest deals on hotels in Fort Lauderdale and book your stay before you arrive. Have fun!

Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale with Kids