Xtreme Indoor Karting's 90,000-square-foot facility buzzes with the energy of Bowman Arrow karts as they whiz between the checkered flags that line the railing of the indoor go-kart track. All sporting Honda engines, three kart models take to the half-mile asphalt stage where child and adult racers show off their skills, reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. The racing theme pervades the facility, including the 18 holes of the indoor miniature golf course, which are peppered with half tires and watered with tears of joy from past Indy 500 winners. More than 100 different interactive games—including racing simulators—flicker inside the arcade, and rows of billiards tables line the black-and-white checkered floors of the Finish Line Sports Bar. Charged with fueling all of these activities, the kitchen staff at the Fast Track Café whip together burgers, wraps, and pizzas. For kid's-only entertainment, the staff supervise a day camp throughout the summer months, when all of the country's teachers traditionally lose their keys to the school.
Arthur Stone spent six decades assembling the collection of classic Packard autos that makes up the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. His love for the Packard's combination of engineering and elegance has resulted in the United States' largest Packard collection, containing one model from each year of the company's 58-year existence. The museum's 30,000-square-foot space mirrors the look of a 1920s Packard showroom, with heraldic-style gas-station signs hanging above gleaming specimens of auto history, all restored to full working order.
Models such as the 2201 Woodie wagon from 1948 demonstrate the manufacturer's innovation amid changing times, and the 1909 18 Speedster evokes an era when saddled cheetahs shared roads with cars. Original concept-design drawings line the walls, and an expansive library contains shelves laden with periodicals and fascinating reading materials.
Though the business’s name acknowledges its image as an age-old pastime, Olde Tyme Bingo updates the classic game with modern machinery. Tabletop computers ease game play, with virtual chips and game boards helping guests to earn cash prizes, gift baskets, or commemorative bingo cards dipped in bronze. The hall is open six days a week, giving players ample time to try out other games including a nontelevised version of _The Price is Right_’s famous Plinko.
Recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest film festival, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a robust schedule of special events and a plethora of pictures spanning numerous genres. Starting with pre-festival screenings, which begin on September 27, a lineup of more than 150 movies from more than 80 countries gives pass possessors the visual stimulation of an all-you-can-watch film binge without the distraction of Hollywood's enormous signage and carnivorous palm trees. The on-screen fare ranges from documentaries to foreign films and kids' flicks to 30-minute-and-under shorts; some of the works are also designated as "competition films" and considered for Oscar-style awards. In addition to viewing privileges, pass-holders are also entitled to admission at an agenda-busting array of special events—such as the Opening Night Film and Gala and the Chairman's Cruise and Brunch—many of which include free drinks, snacks, and the chance to rub elbows, knock foreheads, and intertwine phalanges with celebrities and filmsmiths.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and located in the heart of the city, Stranahan House stands as one of the few remaining shadows of Fort Lauderdale’s pioneer heritage. The house was constructed in 1901 by the eponymous Frank Stranahan as a trading post for early settlers, native Seminole Indians, and the now-extinct verbose alligator. After the burgeoning town appropriated it for use as a post office, town hall, and more through the decades, historians painstakingly restored it to its 1913–1915 glory. On three daily tours lasting 45 to 60 minutes, expert guides lead local history buffs through its rooms, detailing the house's multitudinous uses, showing off its Victorian furniture, and offering a glimpse into the vernacular architecture of the bygone era.
The ISHOF Museum houses the world's largest collection of aquatic memorabilia and is the single-largest source of aquatic books, manuscripts, and literature. More than forty exhibits and displays illustrate the history of the aquatically ambitious, recognizing the world's greatest swimming, diving, polo, and synchronized swimming performers and their spotlight-worthy accomplishments. Videos ranging from short informational pieces to coverage of the Olympic games are also available for viewing. Current exhibits include photo murals of the RMS Titanic, the largest collection of Olympic medals won by merpersons dating back to 1896, and a shrine dedicated to the swoonable swim legend Mark Spitz, which consists of a life-size wax statue of the mustached god-among-mortals, seven of his gold medals, and the starting block he used in the 1972 Munich games.
A 90-year-old sanctuary of natural and man-made beauty, the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens provides visitors with a decadent visual buffet comprising numerous artistic media and floral features. Wander the art-filled, ghost-free rooms of the Caribbean-plantation-style house and study the rich collection of easel art, murals, and more. Paintings—including numerous works by the house's former residents, artists Frederic Clay Bartlett and Evelyn Fortune Bartlett—as well as sculpture, furniture, and tableware make the house a pirate-proof aesthetic treasure trove, while five separate ecosystems have shaped the surrounding property into a delicious stew of biodiversity. Stroll nature trails to enjoy the flora and naturally occurring discotheques of mangrove wetlands and a maritime forest, or stop by the orchid showroom to swaddle nature's most needy flower in a comforting blanket of compliments and adoring stares.
At Boomers!, thrill-seeking families and fun-enabling friends can attack a variety of appealing attractions, including mini golf, batting cages, bumper boats, and the button-mashing joys housed inside the exhilarating game room. The Vista location entertains families of sharpshooters with a blacklight-illuminated laser-tag arena before little ones climb and crawl through the Kidopolis play area. The El Cajon and San Diego locations let rivals celebrate the spirit of competition as they fly past each other in speedy go-karts or have a snail-paced Ferris wheel race at the kid's county fair. Unlimited pass holders at the El Cajon location can also scale the 32-foot-tall climbing wall, which, like America, enables citizens to climb to the top via myriad routes.
Lazy Meadows Farm's internationally trained and USDF-certified owner, Michele Herrmann, focuses exclusively on studying and sharing dressage-style riding with students of all experience levels. Novice riders learn to trot from within two riding arenas, while more advanced riders gallop and prance past wavering palms and rustling pines. The docile equine animals inhabit 14 dressage stalls that share a verdant 5.5-acre landscape with a terra-cotta-roofed barn and a stock of big cats for very advanced riders.
With only 130 seats, Mosaic Theatre can justly claim that there’s not a bad seat in the house. Designed to be a maximally flexible space, the venue changes its seating for every performance to enhance the theatergoing experience for visitors or to clear way for the mid-play goat chorus line.
In 1989, Young At Art began as a small, 3,200-square-foot children’s museum dedicated to shaping young minds and enriching the community through the transformative power of art. Since then, the tiny workshop has grown into a 55,000-square-foot collection of activities celebrating the diverse influences of art on our lives and imaginations, garnering a rare accreditation by the American Association of Museums for its efforts. At ArtScapes—one of the four main exhibits—kids and their parents travel through The Cave, a frantic slideshow of images conveying 5,000 years of human history, step into a replica of a New York City subway car, and view examples of graffiti as a means of creative expression against the oppressive forces of aluminum spray cans.
Elsewhere, WonderScapes transports children up to 4 years old to a world inspired by the illustrations of DeLoss McGraw, whose version of Alice in Wonderland won the Society of Illustrators Book of the Year award in 2002, and GreenScapes demonstrates the immutable intersection of art and the environment as visitors build sculptures from natural materials. Never ones to ignore their creativity, teenagers can find refuge in the Teen Center, where a graphic design lab with Mac computers and a recording studio let them convert their pre-calc homework into digital form before it’s too late.
A smorgasbord of fun, adventuresome activities fill the 9,000 square feet of Funderdome. Upon entering, eyes immediately gaze skyward to the center's ceiling, where kids deftly navigate the ropes course a good 22 feet above the ground. While kids remain safely tethered, they traverse seven complex courses that build balance, coordination, and confidence. As the sky's the limit for kids, there's also a climbing wall to further enhance fitness in a fun way. A 30-foot-high multilevel playground keeps heads in the clouds with 20 different obstacles as well as mazes, tubes, and slides. Kids even can climb a vertical tower to an enclosed sports complex. There, they play basketball and soccer 22 feet in the air. From there, kids can come to ground while not exactly coming back to Earth for the activity floor and space-quadrant laser maze. With views of all the action, the café provides parents respite with WiFi, pizza, sandwiches, and LavAzza coffee.
Since 1951—The Classic Gateway Theatre has dimmed the lights for crowds of moviegoers. The theater continues to celebrate the classics that came out during its early years by playing hits starring the likes of Cary Grant, though it does not shy away from first-run blockbusters and indie flicks. Audience members walk into a spacious lobby with pictures of the theatre's long history gracing the walls and they savor the smell of popcorn before settling into their seats in renovated all-digital auditoriums. In addition to regular screenings, the theater plays host for events such as the Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
The Museum of Discovery and Science ensures that adults as well as children have opportunities to explore diverse fields in the natural and physical sciences. Museum visitors who prefer to experience action on the big screen can drop into the AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater, which boasts a 15,000 watt, 42-speaker digital surround sound system. Opened in 1992, the 300-seat theater dazzles audiences via a five-story screen that features both 2-D and 3-D films. Crowds view the latter using lightweight XR 3-D glasses for highly evolved thrills.
To beat the all-tackle world record for a yellowfin tuna, you'd have to hook a behemoth weighing in the neighborhood of 450 pounds. Should any angler ever successfully snag such a fish, the record keepers of the International Game Fish Association will be among the first to announce the catch's confirmed stature. As part of their mission to conserve all types of game fish and to promote ethical angling practices, the IGFA representatives also advise fishermen on how to bring the catch ashore, verify its measurements, and release it while causing as little stress to the fish as possible.
The association’s conservation efforts continue with its IGFA Great Marlin Race program, a partnership with Stanford University that outfits fishermen with research equipment to achieve a better understanding of marlin biology and the cause of pruney fingers. The IGFA also keeps the community engaged with ethical game fishing by hosting school groups and summer camps for kids. Beyond this programming, the IGFA maintains a museum that honors the history of sport fishing and its legendary anglers.