Fredericksburg Parent

September 2013

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Ft. Lauderdale BY DEBBY GIRVAN F or those of us who came of age in the early 80's and before, Ft. Lauderdale is a hazy memory of Spring Break beach parties, wet t-shirt contests, keg beer, baby oil sunburns and bawdy behavior. Three decades later, the same beaches and motel strip have matured and cleaned up nicely, providing an affordable, comfortable destination for a family getaway. Spring Break veterans will recognize vintage establishments such as the Elbo Room, established in 1939 and still rocking 20-somethings looking for cheap drinks, a great view and not much else. I re-discovered the 50's era motel with center court pool that 14 of my closest friends and I shared for a week and affectionately nicknamed, "The Bahama Mama." Now sporting new paint, a new name and likely new owners, it bears a striking resemblance to the set of TV's Melrose Place and possibly a decent place to stay. There is plenty of family appeal to the area including the wide, clean, light sand beaches with emerald water and palm trees, quiet hotels, trendy restaurants and boutique shops along Las Olas Blvd., and a variety of museums. Ice cream, pizza and sandwich shops have replaced most of the raunchy beachfront bars and even the tacky souvenir shops along the main strip are endearing. The miles of wide sidewalk that outline the beachfront are popular with runners, walkers and bicyclists. On the north end across from the beach, the refreshingly shady Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers canoes, bicycles, fishing, swimming and nature hikes. A tunnel from the park extends under the main road directly to the beach. Before you go, check out the classic, 60's era spring break flicks, "Where the Boys Are" and Elvis's, "Girl Happy." Both films feature popular spots in Ft. Lauderdale you may still recognize today. Ft. Lauderdale promises plenty of opportunities for family fun and this time you won't be sleeping on a floor or nursing a hangover. 20 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • September 2013 HELPFUL LINKS Popular Activities Butterfly World Hugh Taylor Birch State Park Funderdome Broward Center for the Performing Arts Las Olas Boulevard Ft. Lauderdale Antique Car Museum International Swimming Hall of Fame Jungle Queen River Boat Visit for additional links for info on places to STAY and EAT

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