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Things to do in Fort Lauderdale Florida with Kids

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Fort Lauderdale is not just a coastal city in Florida with a few things to do. It is a beautiful location that is perfect for families. This beautiful location is located in the southern United States near the Ocean water and the Florida Everglades. Fort Lauderdale is one of the best places where I have taken the kids.

There is so much to do and see that it is the perfect vacation spot when you are taking the entire family. While you are planning your trip use this list of Things to do in Fort Lauderdale Florida with Kids that are all things my family enjoyed on our trip.

Fort Lauderdale Sign

Things to do in Fort Lauderdale with Kids

If you are looking for an awesome trip for the family when you are visiting south Florida, Fort Lauderdale is a great family vacation place that the whole family will love. The kids and I took a trip and there were so many things to do on our to-do list of Things to do in Fort Lauderdale Florida with Kids. While we did not hit them all we had a great time and are excited to share the fun that we had so you can plan your trip.

Fort Lauderdale is a great place for young children and older kids. If you normally head to Florida for the theme parks Ft. Lauderdale is a great place to visit to change things up from your normal while enjoying the beautiful weather that you get when you are visiting southern Florida.

If you are new here and researching fun things to do with kids in Fort Lauderdale, know that any information we share here is based on our personal experience. Yes, there are many more things to do and see when you are in fort Lauderdale, but for us, if we haven’t done them and haven’t visited them we are not going to list them. I highly believe in sharing places that we loved and found to be good for kids that really are the best things to do in a location versus sharing just a list of things that there are in that area.

airboat tour in Fort Lauderdale Florida

See Some Gators and an Air Boat Tour

The kids had a list of things that they wanted to do, so I had a goal of hitting as many of them as I could. On the top of their list of Things to do in Fort Lauderdale Florida was Holding a gator, see a gator show, and going on an airboat ride were a few things that were on their list for our trip to Fort Lauderdale. There are a few different places that you can visit and see gators but we found Everglades holiday park. This location was the perfect place for us as it covered all of the kid’s Gator wishlist items and we got photos of us holding a baby alligator.

The airboat tour with Everglade Holiday Park took us on a 1 hour everglades airboat adventure of the everglades near Fort Lauderdale Florida. Seeing wildlife is not a guarantee, since you are outside of course going thru a natural habitat while we didn’t get to see a gator on the tour ride we saw lots of animals. There is also an awesome gator show that is fun and educational that all of us enjoyed.

Museum of Discovery and Science

Museum of Discovery and Science

Get some learning in while the kids are having fun and take a visit to the Museum of Discovery and Science. There is a large range of activities and hands on learning that is also fun here. I suggest making this a full-day spot as there is so much to do and to see.

They have hands-on activities and simulators and an IMax theater with educational but fun movies that are all things you do not want to miss. There are different sections that are great for different age groups making this a great stop for families that have kids of all ages. 

Check out our full post on everything to do when visiting the Museum of Science and Discovery in Fort Lauderdale.

kids in wetsuits ready to go snorkeling in fort lauderdale florida


One of the kid’s must-dos was going snorkeling for the first time. Originally I was just going to get some gear and have us find some clear water to swim in. After doing some searching I found that there are private lessons available and thought that would be the best option for it being our first time. We did a private snorkeling lesson and tour with Laura Parke who took us to Phil Foster Park.

While it is a bit of a drive from Fort Lauderdale it was well worth it. Laura met us there, gave us a full instructional how-to on using the equipment (which she provides all of it), and then the older 3 kids went on the snorkeling trail with her. Hannah being only 5 stayed with me and practiced using her snorkel and just being in the water getting used to having a wetsuit and gear on. You have many options for going snorkeling from private lessons, private tours, and boat rides that take you snorkeling.

When looking for snorkeling options I found lots of deals and snorkeling boat tours on Groupon. When you go snorkeling there are many places that are in the Fort Lauderdale area and a bit further away. 

Flamingo Gardens in Fort Lauderdale Florida

Flamingo Gardens

A nice place to stroll around, relax a little and see some sunshine state wild life is a must and Flamingo gardens was perfect. Flamingo Gardens is a wild life sanctuary where permanently and non-releasable animals and birds reside. You will get to see Flamingos along with a bear, bobcats, eagles, otters, peacocks, alligators, and more.

Be sure to watch the animal show they have, you will get to learn about different animals that they have living there that they rescued. The animal encounters show is held daily at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30 weather permitting. This place is on the smaller side so it made for a perfect stop when we wanted to explore but also relax a little.

Check out our full post on visiting the Flamingo Gardens.

Jungle Queen Riverboat in fort lauderdale florida

Jungle Queen Riverboat Sight Seeing Tour and Dinner Cruise

A riverboat cruise on the water was our favorite night time activity that we did. Not only was it an amazing meal and we had amazing views while riding out to the private island for our dinner the live entertainment after dinner is something the kids talked about nonstop.

There are two different options that you can pick from with the Jungle Queen. There is a daytime sightseeing cruise and then a nighttime Jungle Queen siteseeing dinner cruise. The night dinner cruise starts with the sightseeing tour as you take a boat ride on the Jungle Queen boat on your way to the private Island where you will enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner and then a fun show. 

Manatee Lagoon

Manatee Lagoon

If you have nature lovers in the family who love to see local wildlife when visiting a location, then you want to add in Manatee Lagoon as a must see spot. While it is a little bit of a drive from Fort Lauderdale as it is close to Phil Foster Park, Manatee Lagoon is a must-see with the kids when you are in Fort Lauderdale.

Manatee Lagoon is a free educational and fun attraction to take the kids to. They have a museum that is filled with fun and informational interactive exhibits that are great for the kids. Outside there is an observation deck to explore where you will see the manatees swimming in the water. It is a great way to see the manatees up close and personal and learn about them. Don’t forget to take a photo with the awesome manatee statue that is outside.

kid at the beach in fort lauderdale florida

Go to the Beach

There are many beautiful beaches in Fort Lauderdale and the greater Fort Lauderdale to visit. There are miles of beaches everywhere in Fort Lauderdale and you can enjoy the beach area and play in the sand, swim in the ocean, or enjoy water sports. I do suggest if you are planning a lot of beach days that you get a hotel that is within walking distance of a beach as it is much easier to take a short walk then it is to load up the car.

We did visit a few different beaches and we loved all of them, but the best beach time we had was when we could walk without having to load up the car. We stayed at the GalleryOne in Fort Lauderdale and it was only a 10-minute walk to the beach entrance. The walk was super easy as there are sidewalks and basically a straight shot from the parking lot to the beach we walked to.

When you are at the beach you can build sand castles – we stopped at the dollar store to grab cheap sand toys. You can also swim, or just splash in the waves or lay out on the sand and enjoy the warm weather.

Fort Lauderdale Beaches

  • Fort Lauderdale beach
  • Hollywood Beach
  • Las Olas beach
  • Deerfield beach
  • Hillsboro beach
  • Pompano Beach
  • Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Beach
  • Dania Beach
  • Hallandale beach
hollywood beach boardwalk

Hollywood Beach Boardwalk

A short drive from Fort Lauderdale beach is the Hollywood Beach boardwalk. Yes, there are other boardwalks that you can go to but I liked this one because exploring and enjoying it is made so easy. The boardwalk stretches 2.5 miles along the Atlantic ocean coast making it great for a slow-paced relaxing activity to do with the kids. 

There are many food options here that you can pick from. There are a few play areas for the kids to play on that are great for younger kids. You can take a walk on the beach or go in the water as well. We only had a few hours to check it out before we were. heading to the airport for our flight home but you could easily make this spot a full day of fun.

Enjoy Ice Cream

There are lots of ice cream places in the area but the one we visited and enjoyed the most was Yo’Mamas Ice Cream shop right down the street from our hotel.

lulu's shack in fort lauderdale florida

Fun dinner Locations

Finding great food is easy to do in Fort Lauderdale but our favorite place was LuLu’s Baitshake, not only did they have great food but they also had live music that was great to listen to and the kids had fun dancing up by the stage as well.

Go For a Walk

Walking is a great way to enjoy the area when you are in Fort Lauderdale. You can walk around downtown Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard, or just along one of the many beaches there are in the area.

Things to do in Florida with Kids

Looking for more fun things to do with kids in Florida? Check these out.

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