So not really a port, but with the way things worked out we will have the most time to spend in Fort Lauderdale and I figured I should probably look into what there is to do there! As I mentioned before, by staying a few extra days we are saving a ton of money. I don’t think I ever gave you guys the breakdown, but had we left on the day the boat returned our tickets home would have been as high as $1,300 each. By holding off a little our tickets were only $250 each! So even if you calculate in the loss of work, food, and hotel we’re *still* ahead of the game! I’m still astounded that more vacation = less money.
I managed to book a hotel through hotwire.com for next to nothing, it is right by the airport, thus also right by the beach. If nothing else, we’ll have a few extra days to relax. As it turns out though there are a TON of things to do in Fort Lauderdale!
As I mentioned before, our family is right into nature, so one of the top things to see in Florida is the everglades. I’m hoping we can visit the Everglades National Park. I haven’t found a specific tour yet, but I think we’ll be doing the ‘seat of your pants’ thing there. Exploring such an eco system has been on my to do list for a long time. We’ll likely see a crocodile or two, hopefully from the safety of a boat, and maybe even a manatee, along with dozen’s of native birds and other creatures that we would never see up here in the great white north.
Along the same natury lines is Butterfly World. With ten acres of butterfly friendly gardens, and a humming bird exhibit I think we’ll make a point to stop by. They have dozens of species of butterfly’s for you to see, and I have never in my life seen a humming bird, so that will be a treat as well. It’s kind of pricey at $25 a head, but also something we can’t see here. I guess we’ll have to see if we have any money left after shopping on three Caribbean islands. If this one is too rich for you, there is also the Secret Woods Nature Center which also boasts a butterfly exhibit combined with hiking trails.
For even more nature you can visit Tree Tops national park. It is a 365 acre preserve, with 23 acres of marsh all accessible by hike, canoe, paddle boat, or my favourite, horseback. Exploring on horseback is highly appealing, and costs only $27/hour! That would be the cheapest trail ride I’ve ever taken so it will definitely be added to our Florida itinerary.
For a super cheap, $6, evening of fun you can visit the Buehler Observatory to check out Florida’s constellations, and see the information presentations they put on periodically. I’ve never been to an observatory, so we might just have to check this out too.
If, by the time we get off the cruise, we haven’t spent enough time on a boat we could check out the Jungle Queen riverboat tour of Fort Lauderdale’s canal system. I can think of no better way to explore the city than by boat, with an all you can eat BBQ buffet at your finger tips. One thing that we miss most having moved to Calgary is the water. It’s not like we were big boaters who spent all of their free time on the lake or anything like that, but just being near it is something you take for granted until you no longer have it. For the first year that we were here all of us whinned and moaned that we missed it. Now it’s not as bad, but the idea of cruising around on a boat for the evening gets me to smiling.
There are several museums, and art galleries that you can visit for an afternoon of culture, and while I would mind spending a few hours this way I’m not sure I could drag Chelsea along with me. I think maybe some snorkelling, or more beach time will be more her thing. We were both afraid that three days would be too much, and that we’d be stuck in the hotel room with nothing to do. I think I can now safely say that that will be far from the case. If nothing else, with a beach near by, who could be bored?