Comprising serene 60 acres (24.28 hectares), the Flamingo Gardens have an impressive collection of rare tropical plants, massive oaks, native birds and other tropical critters. The gardens are one of the region's few remaining citrus groves and are home to a large collection of wading birds. You can chug around the grounds on a narrated tram tour or explore the Wray Botanical Collection and historic Wray Home.
Sawgrass Recreation Park offers all kinds of nature-oriented and historic activities. Take an airboat tour of the Everglades, see a replica of an Indian village or visit the wild animal exhibit. RV camping facilities are available on the grounds. The half an hour airboat ride will take you on an insightful tour of the flora and fauna in the Everglades.
One of the most intriguing attractions in the region, this diversion focuses on things that fly. Butterflies take center stage. Learn how they grow, what they eat and how to lure them into your garden. Part of Tradewinds Park, Butterfly World includes a breeding laboratory, butterfly museum, and insectarium with displays of unusual insects and butterflies from around the world.
Dating back to 1921, this historic two-story, 35.4 acres (14.16 hectare) waterfront house was once the winter home of artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife Evelyn. The Bonnet House is serenely elegant and preserved amidst the urban expansion of Fort Lauderdale Beach, which is what makes the land so special. Mrs. Bartlett, who died in 1997, gave the estate to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983 to keep the property unchanged. Several concerts and events are held here throughout the year, and the house is available for private events such as weddings. Named for a waterlily that once inhabited the property, the Bonnet House is open year-round for guided tours.
This massive park was Hugh Taylor Birch’s donation to the state of Florida. Birch came to Florida in the latter part of the 19th Century and promptly fell in love with the area. He eventually purchased more than three miles of oceanfront property in the little town of Fort Lauderdale. More than a century later, Fort Lauderdale is now a busy metropolis, and Birch's land thrives as a wildlife preserve and botanical wonderland. A number of animal and plant species have found a safe home here. Visitors are free to hike or bike the designated trails, canoe around the lagoon, take a dip in the ocean and visit Birch's home. Excellent camping facilities can also be availed here.
The Fort Lauderdale History Center is run by the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and is a historic museum complex that comprises of three well preserved 19th-century buildings. The 1905 New River Inn is the main history museum with period artifacts, dioramas and photos. The 1907 King-Cromartie House gives visitors a glimpse of an early 20th-century home. The center offers programs for children which include hands-on re-enactments, schoolhouse classes, guided tours of exhibits in the museum of history, guided walking tours of the grounds and lectures throughout the year.
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) in Fort Lauderdale is dedicated to the history of the African-American community of the United States. The beautiful library is adorned with sculptures and is stocked with resources to study the African-American and Caribbean legacy and culture. The AARLCC is also a cultural center with an ultra-modern auditorium, meeting room, and a special art gallery, exhibiting artworks of renowned artists. The place often hosts cultural and recreational programs, and offers computer classes.
Secret Woods Nature Center is designated as an "urban wilderness area". Take a guided or self-guided nature walk through the woods. The New River Trail offers visitors a walk through the marsh where they can view fiddler crabs. To enjoy a hike down the broadwalk, take the Laurel Oak Trail. Get cocooned by pretty butterflies at the Butterfly Island. An interpretive nature exhibit is also available as well as educational classes. The park office is happy to assist with any park-related questions. Call for additional information.
Located next to Port Everglades John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, is a 251-acre animal lover's paradise. Nesting sea turtles come here annually to hatch their eggs, and part of the park is a protected zone for manatees. Visitors can bird-watch and explore the seaside forest to find more common varieties of animals and plants. Excellent fishing, swimming, canoeing and picnicking spots line the length of the park. A concession stand provides snacks and beverages to visitors.