It’s not uncommon to stumble upon fake alligators as you make your way around a mini-golf course. But at Smugglers Cove's locations, live American alligators snap their jaws in exhibits nestled amid the miniature fairways. With an old-fashioned bamboo pole players can dangle a treat above 20–50 of the predatory alligators, which leap from the water to snatch their treat. Between feeding frenzies, games take place on Smugglers Cove’s 18-hole outdoor courses, where balls roll past rushing waterfalls, into caves, over mountainous terrain, and into a hole in a pirate ship.
Within the castle at King Richard’s Family Fun Park, the monarch has decreed one simple rule for all his subjects: have as much fun as possible. And he’s made it easy by packing his kingdom with rides and attractions that include laser tag, bumper boats, roller coasters, and rock climbing. While traveling from ride to ride, guests may wander inside the enclosed arcade and café, where a menu of sizzling-hot burgers, nachos, hot dogs, and chicken wings mingles with the constant chatter of video games. Throughout the park, medieval-themed statues and palm trees mark the very spot where King Richard himself discovered the state of Florida and told nobody. The grounds also house an alligator pit chock-full of the aquatic reptiles on display.
From its North Lauderdale and Davie locations, Galaxy Skateway launches visitors into a vortex of nifty moves, groovy tunes, and wholesome family fun. Throughout the week, both venues crank up energy levels with special events. On Fridays and Saturdays, doors remain open later into the evening, and on Flashback Thursdays, music from the 1970s and 80s helps skaters explore the past without having to spin super fast to induce time travel. But no matter the day or decade, Galaxy always surrounds its guests with an impressive lineup of amenities, including a full-service snack bar, video game areas, a pro shop, and a full fleet of regular and in-line skates, available for rental.
Lion Country Safari is a zoo with no cages. Instead, more than 900 animals, including the largest zebra herd outside of Africa, roam its 320 acres freely. During drive-through safaris, cars tour seven sections of the preserve—which represent different areas such as western Zimbabwe and the Serengeti—to see llamas, asiatic water buffalo, chimpanzees, and white rhinoceros. Lions have a section all to themselves so that they don't prey on other animals or disturb them with giggles from the pride's late-night slumber parties.
In addition to the four-mile drive, Lion Country Safari's Safari World allows guests to explore rides and attractions as they visit with animals on foot. They can feed giraffes, practice animal-massage techniques at the petting zoo, or hop on the carousel next to Lake Shanalee's paddleboat rides. After kids splash through the interactive Safari Splash waterpark, they can hop onto the ferris wheel or ask exotic birds for advice on how to fly.
The gentle clap of paddles against the water and the tenor thrumming of jet-ski motors drift from Adventure Water Sports. On waverunners, diminutive sailboats, and kayaks, patrons spread out across the surf and around Estero Island, their eyes peeled for dolphins and other fauna at all times. The shoreline falls back in quiet bays and estuaries, where little fish dart among tangled knots of mangrove roots. Instructors certified by the United States Coast Guard demonstrate the operation of vessels, lead tours, and knock down sand castles lacking proper fire exits.
Owned by and named after the former Red Sox outfielder, Mike Greenwell's Bat-A-Ball & Family Fun Park entertains activity-deprived clans with a fully loaded complex of outdoor amusement for all ages. The synthetic green lawn of his mini-golf course snakes along a chain of 19 holes shaded by a canopy of palm trees and emerald markers. Children younger than 10 can expel energy that they held back while focusing on putts on the red, wooden jungle gym, while cars wait patiently in free parking spaces. Though not included in today's Groupon, the park also staffs eight batting cages, a paintball field, go-karts, a fish-feeding dock, an arcade, and a snack bar to further flesh out afternoons.