Exploring from Fort Lauderdale

Near this major cruise ship hub, there are many resorts and activities which make it a destination in itself. However, cruising is what drew us here - covered in another journal. For a list of activities from the Ft. Lauderdale area, see: http://www.activityline.net/attractions_ftl.htm

Exploring from Fort Lauderdale

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Malahini on December 5, 2002

Here at the edge of the ocean, the Everglades, the inland waterway, and Key West, excursion opportunities abound. I'll soon add entries to include Key West, Everglades NP, Big Cypress Swamp, Key Largo, the Inland Waterway, and two timeshares.

The photos: 1. the "African Queen" at a Key Largo Marina (remember the movie?) 2. a dolphin jumps at the Dolphin Research Center on the drive to Key West 3. an alligator sun bathes on the tram path at Everglades NP 4. A wide beach at Ft. Lauderdale by the Sea${QuickSuggestions} If you're driving, bring a detailed map. the area is large and the major highways have limited access. It's easy to get lost. For a more detailed list of Ft. Lauderdale attractions see http://www.activityline.net/attractions_ftl.htm${BestWay} The area of interest is huge. Public transportation is available, especially for specific tours. But we found that having our own car was a valuable advantage.

Driftwood Beach Club

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Malahini on December 9, 2002

Best Things Nearby:
Within easy driving distance are a wide variety of activities. See:

Best Things About the Resort:
Superb maintenance, cleanliness, maid service, friendliness, and convenience to the beach. They're a family here.

Resort Experience:
This 41 unit resort was described as "across the street from the beach", but the street was a lightly used access road, and the gated resort property continued to the beach on the beach side, with cabana and beach chairs right at the beach. Beautifully landscaped, large rooms, family atmosphere. Beautiful beach. The suites are in a U shape around the deck and pool, so it's private and quiet.

Most of the people here are longtime owners. We were welcomed as "family" when we arrived early. While we waited for the unit to be made ready, we were served refreshments and helped with our luggage. No wonder many are long time (and multiple unit) owners.

Driftwood Beach Club
4417 El Mar Drive
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33308
(954) 776-4441

Billy's Swamp Safari

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Malahini on December 5, 2002

Here, deep within the Everglades about 20 miles north of Interstate 75, combination rides give a good introduction to this sea of grass. The swamp buggy runs for over an hour through a marshy part of the reservation stocked with a variety of exotic animals. African cattle, ostrich, and antelope seem a bit out of place there, but make an interesting tour. The reptile show was well done - check out the photo of the speaker holding a small alligator.
Billie Swamp Safari
Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, 30000 Gator Tail Trail
Clewiston, Florida
(863) 983-6101

Seminole Indian Museum

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Malahini on December 5, 2002

Very well done portrayal of Seminole history and culture. Bingo money paid for this new and modern buildng. It's located very near Uncle Billy's Swamp Safari which offers air boat and swamp buggy rides. You could make a day of it, doing everything.

For more information on the museum (Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum) phone: 954-792-0745

Seminole Indian Museum
60 miles west of Ft. Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Key West , by tour bus

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Malahini on December 6, 2002

This 16 plus hour tour had some unexpected advantages: movies while on the road, no parking in Key West but door to door delivery, included tours of the Dolphin Research Center at Marathon and a glass bottom boat at Key Largo, and high seating which allowed viewing the scenic road over the top of the roadside tree line, all with no need for this driver to keep eyes on the road.

It was provided through the activities desk at the timeshare Vacation Village at Bonaventure and Neon Dolphin Tours. I'm unable to find Neon Dolphin by a web search, but the Bonaventure is (954)389-6750 and the activities director is "Willie". I'll give more detail on the stops in separate journal entries - later.

Some photos: 1. Looking at the reef through the boat's glass bottom - Marathon Key 2. The anchor of the Atocha in the Mel Fischer Museum in Key West 3. Sunset in Key West, with a Royal Caribbean cruise ship moored at the pier.

Key West - Tour bus
by Vacation Village
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Mel Fischer's Museum of the "Atocha"

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Malahini on December 6, 2002

The discovery (1985) and salvage of the wrecked (1622) Spanish galleon "Atocha" is documented here (and in National Geographic and at geocities.com/woodro11/mel.html. A truly amazing exhibit.
Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
200 Greene St
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 294-2633

Everglades National Park - Shark Valley

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Malahini on December 7, 2002

See this website which notes fish, turtles, alligators, and wading birds can be seen from the Shark Valley tower in and around the borrow ponds. Look for red-shouldered hawks, snail kites, northern harriers, and occasional rare short-tailed hawks over the marsh. White-tailed deer are often seen lingering near the edges of hammocks or bounding through belly-deep water in the marsh. We took the tram ride which offers narration. For more information, see also this website.
Everglades National Park
Various Visitor Centers
Everglades National Park, Florida
(305) 242-7700


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