Best Family-Friendly Museums in Fort Lauderdale

Family-Friendly Fort Lauderdale Museums Combine Fun and Learning

Fort Lauderdale is well-known for its beach-chic lifestyle, world-class hotels, blue-wave beaches, endless boutique shopping and the finest of restaurants. Families book vacations here for just these things and when they arrive they are delighted to find an even more family-friendly vacation destination than they had expected. We at 10best are familiar with the finest that Fort Lauderdale has to offer its many visitors. One of the most popular family-friendly museums is The Museum of Discovery and Science. This interactive attraction combines learning and fun in such a unique way that they will beg to go back. The Young At Art Children’s Museum is the ultimate interactive spot for creativity and meeting new friends. Free workshops for the entire family are offered daily here. One of the city’s most prestigious and intriguing museums is the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art. Here is an ever-changing list of world-known exhibits in a modern and welcoming facility right on Las Olas Boulevard. The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is one of the city’s important museums that is a must-visit and to learn of the rich African-American history in this part of South Florida and its important contribution to what the city has become. Speaking of historical Fort Lauderdale, the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens and Stranahan House are an important stop to fully understand the city’s history, which helps to appreciate its present and future. So welcome to Fort Lauderdale! Don’t just visit the beaches and the shopping centers, take time to visit the city’s many fascinating museums.









When it comes to family activities in Greater Ft. Lauderdale the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood is a cherished cultural center that is a perhaps the most all-inclusive stop, offering a myriad of art exhibits, theater, music and dance performances for every age. Little ones particularly enjoy lively performances by the Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth, while older family members are intrigued by compelling gallery displays. Of course, the entire family can also dance and sing along together during dynamic dance and musical performances. Log onto their website for the latest exhibit information. Located right off Young Circle on the popular Harrison Street.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: This museum is a great contribution to the area's appreciation for the arts.

Dale's expert tip: A great peek into the cultural contribution of Hollywood.

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If you go weak at the knees over a gorgeous set of wheels, don't miss the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, an exceptional local gem. Established as a non-profit foundation for education to showcase the history of the Packard Motor Company as well as to show the progress and development of skills in American engineering. The museum's reproduction 1920s-era showroom showcases 22 stunning Packard automobiles dating from 1900 to the 1940s, all in perfect working order and boasting unique details, such as special golf club compartments. After admiring the four-wheeled beauties, browse thousands of pieces of automobile memorabilia, ranging from hand-wound dashboard clocks to an incredible array of hood ornaments. A fascinating visit for every age.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: This museum is not something everyone expects in the Sunshine State. It is a treat for auto lovers of every age.

Dale's expert tip: Plan to spend a few hours here. Kids will love it, too!

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Stranahan House

Sitting on its original site among the gleaming modern high rises of downtown Fort Lauderdale is Broward County's oldest building and its most popular historical site, The Stranahan House. This house is a classic example of "Florida Frontier" architecture. It speaks of the history of Fort Lauderdale as it was built in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, the area's first permanent white settler, and was first operated as a trading post, set up to service early settlers and Seminole Indians. It contains turn-of-the-century furnishings and historical photos of the area. Daily tours are available at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. and last about 45-60 minutes. No reservations are required.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: This is the very heart of Fort Lauderdale's founding and offers a unique perspective on life here.

Dale's expert tip: Ask about the intriguing ghost tour!

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Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is a striking historic site and is a must-see in Fort Lauderdale. Set amidst a peaceful seaside oasis overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the unique 1920s-era house was once the beloved home of free spirited artists Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett. During a guided tour, visitors marvel at original furnishings and artwork created by the owners themselves before exploring the lush 35-acre grounds, home to one of the Southeast's largest collections of orchids as well as parrots, swans and even wild monkeys. Due to the threat posed by nearby development, the National Trust and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation listed Bonnet House as one of America's 11 most endangered sites in 2008.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: This museum is a great contribution to the community of Fort Lauderdale and an impressive compliment to swimmers everywhere.

Dale's expert tip: Located right on A1A across from the beach, visit both and have a true Fort Lauderdale day.

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International Swimming Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of Dale Mack

This fascinating museum located conveniently off A1A and just steps from the beach, will appeal to the champion swimmer in everyone. The International Swimming Hall of Fame highlights the achievements of notable swimmers and contains aquatic artifacts dating to the 15th century. Computerized exhibits let you pretend you are an Olympic swimmer, diver, or judge. There are two ten-lane, fifty-meter pools and an exhibition building featuring photos, medals, and other souvenirs, as well as a theater that features films of swimming stars such as Johnny Weissmuller and Esther Williams. There is also a gift shop and a cafe on the premises.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: This museum is a great contribution to the community of Fort Lauderdale and an impressive compliment to swimmers everywhere.

Dale's expert tip: Ask about the day pass and swim laps in their 50 meter heated pool.

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Visitors in search of free places to go in Fort Lauderdale should consider the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center and its magnificent 60,000-square-foot library, one of four black research libraries in the U.S. The grand facility houses over 85,000 books and documents along with riveting exhibits, a 5,000-square-foot art gallery and a state-of-the-art auditorium that hosts comedians, jazz performers and entertaining theater productions. Collection highlights include gowns, awards and photos donated by Emmy Award-winner Esther Rolle of the hit TV show "Good Times", who grew up in near-by Pompano Beach. Also on exhibit are eight unfinished Alex Haley manuscripts.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: The information here is an important piece of Fort Lauderdale history.

Dale's expert tip: Interesting place to learn more of Fort Lauderdale's rich history.

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Museum of Art
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Add some color to your Fort Lauderdale itinerary with the Museum of Art on Las Olas Boulevard. Founded in 1958 and set in an amazing Edward Larrabee Barnes-designed architectural masterpiece, this museum boasts alluring temporary exhibits and a permanent collection of over 6,000 works, many reflecting the vibrant South Floridian and Caribbean cultures. Art enthusiast or not, visitors are awed by magnificent Picasso ceramics, significant works by American painter William Glackens and contemporary designs by over 90 exiled Cuban artists. Make it a point to check their website often to mark your calendar to experience this true gem and gift to the city.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: This museum has been nationally recognized for its steady line of world-class exhibits.

Dale's expert tip: A great place to introduce great art to kids!

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Begin your imagination activation here! Visitors seeking creative family activities are charmed by this colorful children's museum in near-by Davie, right of I-595 just a few miles west of Downtown Fort Lauderdale, featuring innovative hands-on exhibits. Amidst a bright, spacious atmosphere, children play the drums in an African village and learn the Japanese art of origami in the Global Village exhibit. Then, it's on to papermaking in Earthworks followed by customizing objects into art in a psychedelic Pop Art wonderland. The possibilities are as simply endless as your imagination. Free workshops for the entire family are offered daily. This is South Florida's creative engine!

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: Combing fun with learning, this museum is a place kids ask to go to.

Dale's expert tip: What a great place to hold a birthday party! Ask for details.

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The Museum of Discovery and Science
Photo courtesy of The Museum of Discovery and Science

The Museum of Discovery and Science is an exciting hub of inspiration and education for adults and children alike. At this playful and exciting stop you can see sharks and the largest living Atlantic coral reef in captivity. Children will be thrilled to hang out with bats and be charmed by a slithering twelve-foot snake. Here guests can pet alligators, turtles and colorful iguanas and learn about this amazing national park in the Living in the Everglades exhibit. Test your pilot skills in nine cockpit simulators, and for those future rocket scientists, discover America's place in aerospace at Runways to Rockets. Hang on and take a simulated trip to the Moon or Mars! Plan to spend a day with the entire family at this interactive wonderland and let it take you to the stars.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Museums because: This museum effortlessly makes learning fun for every age.

Dale's expert tip: Weekends are busy here so, if possible, visit on a weekday.

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Meet Dale Mack

Dale Mack has been involved in Fort Lauderdale tourism and promotions for over twenty years. Working for Travelhost Magazine in Dallas, Texas, he was especially drawn to the edition...  More About Dale