The 11 Best Museums In Fort Lauderdale

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Most people do not head to Fort Lauderdale for its happening museum scene, but on the occasions of rain and not-so-pleasant days, museum hopping is ideal. When you are not stretched out on a beach, swimming, or even fishing, you really should make some time for a bit of culture while in Florida.

Deciding what to see is easy with this list of some of the best museums in Fort Lauderdale. From the Fort Lauderdale History Center to the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens there is something for everyone.

Grab your kids, your significant other, or your friends but leave your luggage in a Fort Lauderdale storage locker. Spend the day hands-free and learn about this city's history and culture. Stowing your personal items is the best idea when you are planning on visiting several of the world-class museums in Fort Lauderdale. Large bags are not welcome in most of the museums in the city.

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Museum of Discovery and Science

You will always find something fun and exciting at the Museum of Discovery and Science. With hundreds of interactive exhibits, everyone will have a blast. Make sure you spend some time exploring the outdoor Science Park where even more interactive exhibits await. Hop on board the Everglades Airboat Adventure, or step into the Storm Center and face hurricane-force winds.

Drop by the gigantic prehistoric megalodon and dig for fossils, or watch some of the North American river otters splash and play in their indoor-outdoor habitat that is two stories tall. The AutoNation IMAX theater has the largest IMAX with laser screens in South Florida.

The Florida EcoScapes exhibit will teach you about the Everglades and the animals that call the Everglades home including bats, turtles, alligators, and snakes. Everyone in your family will want to spend most of the day at the Museum of Discovery and Science.

Address: 401 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Blanche Ely House Museum

Located in the Pompano Beach community, the former house of Joseph and Blanche Ely, renowned educators, has been turned into a unique museum that has become a cultural hub for the Northwest Community of Pompano Beach.

The museum offers several storytelling workshops and art classes and is home to several permanent art exhibits by local and international artists. The museum is maintained by the Pompano Beach Cultural Affairs Department and seems to be the place to be when looking for a little culture in the Pompano Beach community.

Aside from being an interesting museum to visit, there are also storytelling workshops and artmaking workshops where you can learn how to work with different mediums and/or weave an intricate tale into a memorable story.

Address: 1500 NW Sixth Ave, Pompano Beach, FL

Coral Springs Museum of Art

The Coral Springs Museum of Art’s humble roots as a recreation and community center quickly blossomed into a 30,000-square-foot art center. The museum opened in 1997 with the mission to connect the diverse communities around Fort Lauderdale and engage locals and tourists with spectacular art exhibits.

The Coral Springs Museum of Art offers amazing art education programs including specialty programs that delve deeper into the vibrant and mysterious world of art. Wander through this impressive art museum and feel the deep commitment to preserving and promoting local artists.

There is a theater that seats 1,471 people that is attached to the art museum. Several Broadway shows are hosted at this theater each year. Audition workshops are also hosted here. During your visit to the museum, you can check out the theater, stay for a show or just take a tour.

Address: 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

This phenomenal museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. The Bonnet House sits on a 35-acre estate located on Fort Lauderdale Beach and was built in 1920 with whimsy in mind. The estate was owned by Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett, two Chicago-based artists as their winter getaway.

The home and surrounding grounds have been expertly preserved in the 1930s and 40s style showcasing the significance of that time period and filled with adorable surprises. Make the time to spend an hour or two exploring all the nooks and crannies of the house and gardens.

Address: 900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

This is not your average fine art museum, the NSU Art Museum is a rather dynamic hub that sits between Palm Beach and Miami on the lively Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The modernist building that houses the art museum was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, a renowned architect.

With over 6,000 works of art in the collection, including the biggest collection in the United States by William Glackens, a famous American painter. There are also several pieces by European Cobra artists and a rather broad grouping of pieces by Latin American artists. It is one of the best art galleries in the state. Drop by the café for refreshments and stop by the bookstore for a souvenir or a gift for the art lover in your family.

Address: 1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Kids Hideout

When you have kids that are 10 and under and are looking for a fantastic place to hang out for a few hours, head to the Kids Hideout. Filled with interactive exhibits where kids will learn while playing in a safe space, the activities are geared toward helping little ones develop different skills including communication, social, and motor.

Take a break from the Florida sun, or on the days when it is drizzling outside, and spend time watching your kids discover all the cool and fun things Kids Hideout offers. If you are comfortable leaving your children to play, head over to the Parents Hideout for a drink. While walk-ins are always welcome, you are encouraged to call ahead to see about time availability.

Located in the Plaza Del Mar right next to Wild Forks and across N Federal Hwy from Trader Joe’s, Kids Hideout is easy to find. Everyone is required to wear socks when they visit so bring your own or purchase a pair at the front desk.

Address: 1495 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Stranahan House

The historic Stranahan House Museum is the oldest surviving structure in Fort Lauderdale; it was built by Frank Stranahan in 1901. Stranahan is often referred to as Fort Lauderdale’s founding father and living here with his wife, Ivy Cromartie Stranahan, was the first school teacher in the area. The house has a lot of history to cover including serving as the Stranahan’s home, a post office, a town hall, a trading post, and a community center.

Stranahan House is open daily, if you want a guided tour of the home those are offered at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. Special events, holiday programs, and even weddings can be hosted at Stranahan House. Being the oldest surviving building in the city it is a fabulous place to spend an hour or two learning about the history of Fort Lauderdale.

Address: 335 SE 6th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL

International Swimming Hall of Fame

There is no better place than Fort Lauderdale for the International Swimming Hall of Fame where you will learn about the history of swimming as a competitive sport and the evolution of swimming throughout the ages in different civilizations and cultures.

Learn about several swimming athletes and coaches and learn about their journey to become the best in their sport. You can easily spend an entire afternoon at the International Swimming Hall of Fame watching videos, looking at photos, and discovering the competitiveness that goes along with swimming at all levels.

Address: 1 Hall of Fame Dr, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Old Dillard Art and Cultural Museum

Come check out this historical landmark turned iconic museum filled with history and cultural exhibits celebrating the rich heritage and contributions of the African-American community within Broward County, and actually all of Florida.

Open all year with permanent and temporary exhibits so you can visit often and still see new things. Learn about the festivals and art of the African-American community. Be sure to drop into the gift shop after exploring the museum for one-of-a-kind gift ideas that you will love.

Address: 1009 NW 4th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum

Built in 1942 as a part of the national defense program on Merle Fogg Field, the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum, or NASFL, has since become a popular destination for history lovers. NASFL is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is dedicated to the preservation, education, and honoring of the heroes of the United State Air Force.

The station was one of 287 air stations that were active during World War II, it was, however, only one of a handful of specialty training schools for the TBM/TBF Avenger aircraft. There was a total of 200 buildings on this massive air base, but the only remaining building is Building #8 or the Link Trainer Building. This is where several Link Trainer flight simulators were housed.

Building #8 has been converted into a museum and has dedicated a portion of its exhibit space to preserving the memory of one of the greatest aviation mysteries. Flight 19 began its journey from NASFL on December 5, 1945, but then vanished into the Bermuda Triangle. Former President George H.W. Bush lived on the base when he was 19 years old as an Ensign to train as a bomber pilot.

Address: 4000 W Perimeter Rd, Fort Lauderdale

Craig and Barbara Weiner Holocaust Reflection and Resource Center

Open seven days a week, the Craig and Barbara Weiner Holocaust Reflection and Resource Center offers free admission. Teachers find this holocaust museum to be a useful tool when covering such an important topic in world history. The large permanent collection will not let you forget the atrocities that were done to Jewish people.

Artifacts include original documents, historical newspapers, photographs, clothing, and other items owned by those put in the concentration camps. You can also sit and watch short films and documentaries about the Holocaust including interviews with some of the survivors.  

It is the only holocaust museum in southern Florida that has the Dimensions in Testimony Educational System that was created by the USC Shoah Foundation. Coverage of this system was seen on 60 Minutes and this technology allows the user to interact with a Holocaust survivor and receive answers to their questions in real-time.

Address: 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr Blvd, Alvin Sherman Library of Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale

What are the best free museums in Fort Lauderdale?

There really is nothing better than visiting a fantastic museum for free and Fort Lauderdale has a wonderful selection of free museums to choose from. When you are looking to get out of the sun and spend some time absorbing a bit of culture check out these free museums. We suggest Craig and Barbara Weiner Holocaust Reflection and Resource Center, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, NSU Art Museum, and Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum.

Which are the best museums in Downtown Fort Lauderdale?

Downtown Fort Lauderdale is a hopping place to spend the day and that includes a variety of museums to explore, all within just a short distance of each other. Take a walking tour of downtown and pop into some of the museums along the way. Enjoy NSU Art Museum, National Geographic Fine Art Galleries, and Old Dillard Museum.

Are there any cheap museums in Fort Lauderdale?

Cheap museums can mean those offering discounts, those that are free, or those that only cost a few dollars for general admission. Fort Lauderdale has its fair share of history museums, art museums, and science museums to explore. Most of these museums will not break the bank either.Try Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Stranahan House, History Fort Lauderdale, and Young At Art.

Art Galleries and Much More

 Flying into Fort Lauderdale Airport? Bring this list along as you plan your time here! Take time to see all of the city, moving from shopping to free things to do to dining on fine dishes! And if you are searching out historic structures, performing arts, fine art, or educational opportunities, there will be a museum or two that you will find interesting and amazing. Learn about American engineering, African American history, or competitive swimmers when you visit museums in Fort Lauderdale.

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