South Florida can be a paradise for those of us lucky enough to live here. Find the top Family Fun with the 2020 South Florida Family Favorites Awards as your guide. Here you’ll find the places that parents voted as best in Broward County.
Published: July 7, 2020
Whether you are sightseeing or sunbathing, there is plenty to see and do along the 2 ½-mile stretch of sandy shoreline at Hollywood Beach. Popular with tourists and locals alike, this is a quaint coastal stop to grab a slice of beach pizza and settle into the sand for a sun-filled day by the surf. The clean coastline and warm waters are just one of the locale’s draws. If the kids grow tired of swimming and sand castles – not that they would – there is a splash pad steps from the ocean at Charnow Park, and FlowRider, an outdoor surfing simulator, at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. And during scheduled times throughout the year, you can shuffle your sandy feet over to the outdoor Hollywood Beach Theatre to sing along and dance to live music.
Favorite Place To Splash Or Swim
Rapids Water Park
With 35 water rides throughout 30 acres of space, Rapids Water Park, South Florida’s largest, is well worth the short trek north. From splash pads and kid slides to daring drops and high speed rides, there is something here for everyone. For thrill seekers there are experiences like Big Thunder, a raft ride that sends riders down sharp turns and through a dark tunnel before they descend down a 45-degree drop leading into an immense funnel; and Brain Drain, a heart-pounding vertical plunge featuring two 70-foot-tall enclosed flume waterslides. And for the leisurely lot, there are tamer rides like Big Surf, a 25,000 square foot wave pool, and Lazy River, a quarter-mile tube ride that slowly wends it way through water cannons, aquatics mists and a cascading waterfall. 6566 N. Military Trail, Riviera Beach, 561-848-6272
Favorite South Florida Museum
Museum of Discovery and Science
Kids are curious, and this museum satisfies their inherent desire to learn through fun, hands-on activities, exhibits and experiments. Inside you’ll find two floors of museum to explore, with stops that include a hangar makerspace, dinosaur bone yard and storm center. And the amusement expands beyond the museums walls. Outside there is a Science Park with a tennis ball launcher, pulleys, levers, a self-propelled cooling fan and other play stations that focus on physical science activities. MODS is also home to an IMAX theater and hosts many events throughout the year, including sleep-overs, otter encounters and moonlight turtle walks. 401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-467-MODS
Favorite South Florida Attraction
Lion Country Safari
Situated on nearly 600 acres of natural area and home to over 1,000 animals, this 4-mile drive-thru safari is home to roaming lions, zebras, chimpanzees, giraffes and more. Prepare for fingerprints on your car windows as the kids get “in touch” with all that wanders the preserve. Some animals will come close to investigate as you coast by in your car, while others like the lions can be viewed from a safe distance. Under typical circumstances, the experience also includes Safari World, a walk-through safari with more furry friends, entertainment, a splash park, petting zoo, boat rides and a merry-go-round. There is also a KOA campground on-site with over 200 campsites for those looking for a full-fledged expedition. 2003 Lion Country Safari Rd., Loxahatchee, 561-793-1084
Favorite Family Event
Florida Renaissance Festival at Quiet Waters Park
It’s not every day that you see kings, queens, vikings and time travelers strolling the grounds of Quiet Waters Park. But, if you go during the Renaissance Festival, that’s just what you will find. For six weeks, February through March, the Renaissance Festival brings locals – many dressed in full period garb – on a trip back in time to the 16th century. Weekly themes such as Warrior’s Weekend, Celtic Celebration and Swashbucklers & Sirens, deliver a cultural kaleidoscope of entertainment and education to attendees of all ages. The festival also features artisans, performers, a Kid’s Kingdom and food and drink fit for a king like shepherd’s pie, chocolate dipped bacon, and of course, giant turkey legs. 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek.
Favorite Resort Or Hotel
Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
For a true tropical getaway, just a short jaunt from home, families choose the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. Situated directly on a private portion of the beach, this tranquil destination features a lagoon-style pool, private balconies, and on-site casual and upscale dining. Activities include sailing, a Kids Club for children ages 5-12, Baby Otter Swim School, banana boat rides, and kayak, wave runner and boogie board rentals. 3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-4000
Favorite Park Or Playground
C.B. Smith Park
Under usual circumstances, C.B. Smith Park is a go-to for families seeking adventure. Although the park is currently being used as a COVID-19 drive-thru test site, locals look forward to the day when they can once again visit the park for its picnic space, playgrounds, golf center, tennis complex and sprawling waterpark featuring four 50-foot tall waterslides, lazy river, and kids’ water structures. The park also touts one of the park system’s largest special event areas with a capacity of 22,500, welcoming large-scale events like the annual Chili CookOff every year. 900 N. Flamingo Rd., Pembroke Pines, 954-357-5170
Favorite Local Adventure
Xtreme Action Park
The name says it all. The action at this immense indoor entertainment center is extreme. There is something for everyone within this 200,000-square-foot space, where you’ll find bowling lanes, an arcade game room, a ropes course adventure, a trampoline park, roller skating rink, escape rooms, laser tag, virtual reality games and more. As if that’s not enough, the attraction also touts the only gas powered indoor kart track in South Florida. Riders can zip through twists and turns with recreational racing or timed race sessions and lap races. 5300 Powerline Rd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-491-6265