Fort Lauderdale Activities
Hugh Taylor Birch Park
3109 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Between the Atlantic and the Florida Intracoastal Waterway is a sliver of wilderness that will take your breath away. This park was gifted to the state by Hugh Taylor Birch to preserve the lush greenery and animal habitats that have long existed on this historic piece of land. Every acre is packed with ancient palms and birch trees, long branches dipping into and trailing in the water, gopher tortoises, and the sound of birds and other wild things. It’s almost Amazonian. Rent bikes and ride the many tree-lined trails, cruise through on a kayak, or just hang on the beach with a book or a picnic with the kids.
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
900 N. Birch Rd., Fort Lauderdale
The Bonnet House is an eccentric slice of Americana. It’s the kind of rambling, historic property you hope to stumble upon on a spur-of-the-moment road trip. The 1920s home belonged to artists Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett, who made the house their own by filling the shady palms outside with live monkeys and the interior with murals and other artwork. The house itself is magnificent, each room full of curiosities and sculptures. And the grounds—one of South Florida’s last surviving native barrier island habitats—are worthy of their own visit: Five ecosystems exist on the land, including mangrove wetlands and a maritime forest. Don’t miss the orchid house; Evelyn Bartlett, who lived on the property until 1995, was an enthusiastic collector.