Adventure Activities in Fort Lauderdale - Try if You Dare

by Phyllis Cambria, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 27th 2010 10:49 PM

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Adventure Activity Fort Lauderdale

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Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is known for its 20 miles of pristine beaches and seemingly endless inland waterways, which earned it the nickname "The Venice of the Americas." You won't find it to be the rowdy spring break capital of the world any more, but you will find more than one heart-stopping, stomach-churning adventure activity in Fort Lauderdale when you're tired of baking on the beach or sipping a cocktail.

Here are some of the most adventurous things to do in Fort Lauderdale - if you dare.

1. Fort Lauderdale Parasailing Adventure

If you want a bird's-eye view of the Atlantic Ocean, looking at all the sun-bathers and watching fish swim below you, then zip sky high on a parasail. There are a number of companies offering parasailing adventures around Fort Lauderdale, with most offering a cruise at approximately 600 feet. One company, Ft. Lauderdale Parasail, can take you even higher. You have the option of going 600, 800 or a potentially nose-bleed-inducing height of 1,000 feet.

Wearing a life jacket and strapped to a sling attached to a giant parachute, you'll take off from a speedboat going faster and faster until the wind catches the parachute, and you lift off and soar like a seagull. In fact, you'll fly almost as high as the Empire State Building, reaching almost 100 stories up. And if you'd like a cool dip, as the boat slows, you can drop into the turquoise water before being lifted up and away again. You can also opt for a strictly dry fly. But what's the fun in that? Parasailing is one of the ultimate travel adventures.

Ft. Lauderdale Parasail, 1005 Seabreeze Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, 954-543-2938. Rates start at $70 and increase the higher you want to sail the sky.

2. Leaping Lizards in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

The beautiful, lush, and tropical Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, just steps from Fort Lauderdale's beach, is a popular spot for picnics, fishing, boating, biking, jogging, camping, and nature watching - in fact, all forms of outdoor activities. Fort Lauderdale's park has, however, become home to more than a few new "residents" - namely, the green iguana.

Although not native to South Florida, these plant-eating, spiny-tailed, sharp-toothed creatures that range in length from four to six feet have taken up residence in the park. It's thought that some pet-weary owners "dropped off" an iguana or two at the park, or possibly some iguanas escaped when being transported from their South American habitat aboard a cargo ship in nearby Port Everglades. However they arrived, within a short time their population has grown dramatically. And while these large lizards generally shy away from humans, there are so many of them, especially near the park's seawall adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway, that the term "leaping lizards" has taken on a whole new meaning.

One of the city's water transportation options, the Water Taxi, will often pull up near the park's seawall, and when the iguanas are startled, they've been known to leap into the water and, rumor has it, the occasional Water Taxi.

The iguanas enjoy hanging out in the park's trees. When the weather gets especially cold, the iguanas can go into a state of "suspended animation" and drop from the trees in a "frozen iguana shower" littering the park's grounds, only to reawaken and commence their daily activities when the weather warms them up.

So take a nature walk and enjoy the scenery, but look out for falling iguanas. How is that for a family adventure activity in Fort Lauderdale?

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, 3109 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304, 954-564-4521. Hours: daily 8am-sundown. Admission: $6 per vehicle with 2-8 passengers; $4 per single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle; $2 per pedestrian, bicyclist, or extra passenger.

3. Experience the Dania Hurricane at Boomers!


The ultimate in fun activities and family adventure, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is a few minutes drive from Boomers!, located in Dania Beach. In additional to the numerous rides, arcade games, laser tag and miniature golf at Boomers!, you'll find the largest (and the only!) wooden roller coaster in South Florida. It stands 100 feet tall with 95-foot drops. During the one-minute-and-fifty-second ride, you'll reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour and experience almost 3 Gs of force as the coaster takes you on plummeting drops and hairpin turns on its 3,200 foot track.

Boomers!, 1701 Northwest 1st Street, Dania Beach, FL 33004, 954-921-1411. Hours: Mon-Thu 12noon-10PM, Fri 12noon-1AM, Sat 11AM-1AM, Sun 11AM-10PM. The roller coaster ride starts at $5.89 with discounts for multiple rides (if you are adventurous enough to ride it more than once).

4. Blistering, Belly-Busting Burritos in Fort Lauderdale

Looking for dare ideas in Fort Lauderdale? This one is hot! It's best to go hungry when you head to the East Coast Burrito Factory because their Mexican and Caribbean-influenced Grande burritos are so large, you can use them as free weights. And if the size of their burritos isn't enough of a challenge, wait until you bite into one of their many tempting treats, and your tongue hits their spicy salsa. Forget the jalapenos. This salsa is made with hotter-than-hot habanero peppers that will make your eyes water, your nose run, and sweat bead all over your body.

Located among a row of converted homes along a service road adjacent to East Commercial Boulevard, the restaurant is not known for its atmosphere, so it's best to take your blistering burritos to go. And if your taste buds are craving something with more of an island zip, you can also find an assortment of Caribbean-themed choices with their tongue-burning jerk sauce.

Virtually everything on the diverse menu costs less than $10. Alcohol is not sold, but traditional soft drinks and Latin American and Caribbean specialty beverages are available. Note the restaurant is not open on weekends.

East Coast Burrito Factory, 261 East Commercial Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334, 954-772-8007. Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-6pm

5. Fort Lauderdale Ghost Walk


Of course Fort Lauderdale has numerous restaurants, clubs, theaters and a variety of activities for you to enjoy when the sun sets, but if you're looking for an adventure activity in Fort Lauderdale after dark, then take the Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour.

Your tour guide is ghost expert and author John Marc Carr, who will lead you to some of the most haunted buildings in the city, where more than a few visitors have been said to spot ghostly apparitions. If you are daring enough, bring your camera so you never forget the fright of your life!

The walking tour starts at 8:45PM on Friday and Saturday nights, so wear comfortable shoes and be ready to spy things that may go bump in the night. Private tours for groups of six or more at group rates also can be arranged on other evenings.

The Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour starts near the west patio entrance of The Cheesecake Factory at 600 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Call 954-290-9328 for reservations, which are mandatory. The tour costs $15 for adults and $10 for children.
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