Road Scholar : Home
Inside Fort Lauderdale: The Venice of America

Program Number: 20901RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/22/2015 - 2/27/2015; 2/21/2016 - 2/26/2016; 3/20/2016 - 3/25/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Price starting at: $1,299.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Fort Lauderdale remained a virtual wilderness until the arrival of the railroad in 1896. Learn about its fascinating, multi-faceted history and culture, and see for yourself how pristine nature and advanced technology coexist in the Venice of America. Field trips highlight architecture, natural beauty and magnificent gardens, and you meet members of the local community who help you get to know Fort Lauderdale from the perspective of an insider.


• Journey by boat through the city’s beautiful canals with a local expert and learn about its history from Trading Post to Yacht Capital of the World.
• Explore some of Fort Lauderdale’s most historic sites, including the Stranahan House and Bonnet House Museum and Gardens.
• Discover an "Old Florida" Homestead, and enjoy a behind-the-scenes exploration of a Seminole/Miccosukee Archive.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to five blocks in historic areas, flat terrain.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


Historic, full service hotel located downtown on the riverfront
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


Modest hotel located downtown
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Fort Lauderdale

Situated between Miami and Palm Beach, and embraced by the Atlantic Ocean, New River and myriad inland waterways, Fort Lauderdale is justly known as the "Venice of America." Its semi-tropical climate, natural beauty and rich array of cultural, educational and entertainment resources offer an outstanding quality of life.

Two different accommodations are available on this program and vary by date. Both hotels are located downtown near many shops and amenities.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Juan Riera

Juan Riera is a Florida native who earned a B.A. in history at the University of Florida, an M.A. in history from Florida International University as well as a graduate certificate in Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. He then went to Texas for a doctoral program in colonial Latin American History with minors in museum studies and anthropology. For nearly 20 years, Juan has worked in museums including at Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut during the filming of "Amistad." He also taught for 10 years at the university level, led lifelong learning classes, and worked for eight years in libraries and archives.
Meals and Lodgings
   Riverside Hotel
  Riverside Hotel - Ft. Lauderdale 5 nights
 Riverside Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Riverside Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, on trendy Las Olas Boulevard which features cool sub-tropical breezeways and courtyards alive with sidewalk cafes, lively nightclubs, chic boutiques, art galleries, and world class restaurants. Enjoy the outside pool and sundeck with a beautiful view of the yachts cruising by on the New River just steps away.
  Contact info: 620 East Las Olas Boulevard
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 USA
phone: 954-467-0671
  Room amenities: Coffee maker Desk with 2 Chairs Hair dryer Iron/Ironing Board Wireless Internet
  Facility amenities: -Two restaurants and two bars/lounges inside hotel -Located on world-renowned Las Olas Boulevard, offering the finest in upscale shopping, dining and nightlife -New River Oasis heated outdoor pool, featuring poolside food service -On site complimentary Fitness Room with Cybex equipment -Complimentary Wireless Internet -Business Center located in the Riverside Hotel Lobby -Environmentally conscious hotel, they actively encourage recycling and sustainable practices throughout their facilities. -7-story parking garage on site for $21 a day (self parking), prices are subject to change -Valet parking available for $27 a day, prices are subject to change -24-hour front desk -Designated non-smoking hotel
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Contact Boston Programming for information 617-521-5373
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: TBD Contact Boston Programming for information 617-521-5373
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 pm You will be staying at Riverside Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
12:00pm You will be staying at Riverside Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Participant Information Form
  Parking availability:
Yes, valet parking at $27 per day or self parking for $21 per day, prices subject to change
To Start of Program
  Location:  Riverside Hotel - Ft. Lauderdale
  Nearest city or town:  Ft. Lauderdale
  Nearest highway: AIA
  Nearest airport:  Ft. Lauderdale International
  From End of Program
  Location: Riverside Hotel - Ft. Lauderdale
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Ft. Lauderdale Airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Go Airport Shuttle
phone: 954-561-8888
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


A private car costs $40-45
Prices are subject to change.




7 miles


After you get your luggage go to ground transportation and there are more options for cabs, etc.


Ft Lauderdale Airport


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximatly $20
Prices are subject to change.




7 miles


Go to Ground Transportation upon arrival at the airport.

Driving Directions
  From Fort Lauderdale International Airport Exit the airport onto US 1 North. Turn right onto SE 17th Street (A1A). Follow this for approximately 2 miles. The hotel is on your left.
  From I-75 Coming down I-75 South, merge onto I-595 East. Take exit 10A toward I-95 N/Ft. Lauderdale. Merge onto SW 20th Terrace. Turn right onto W Broward Blvd. Turn right onto U.S. 1. Slight right toward E Las Olas Blvd. Turn Left onto E Las Olas Blvd. The hotel will be on the right.
  From I-95 North Head South on I-95 S. Take exit 27 for FL-842/Broward Blvd toward Downtown. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Broward Commuity College/Florida Atlantice University. Turn Left onto W Broward Blvd. Turn right onto U.S. 1. Slight right toward E Las Olas Blvd. Turn Left onto E Las Olas Blvd. The hotel will be on the right.
  I 95 South Head north on I-95 N. Take exit 27 for FL-842/Broward Blvd toward Downtown. Continue straight. Turn right onto W Broward Blvd. Turn right onto U.S. 1. Slight right toward E Las Olas Blvd. Turn Left onto E Las Olas Blvd. The hotel will be on the right.
Elevation Note: 3 ft. above sea level

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
(Sunday, February 22)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00pm.

Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the orientation session.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

 Dinner: Enjoy a 3-course meal at the hotel with salad, choice of entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Take the rest of the evening to settle in, relax, and prepare for the full day ahead.

Accommodations: Riverside Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Canal Cruise, Stranahan House Museum, Free Evening
(Monday, February 23)
 Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel offers hot and cold items including fresh fruit plus coffee and tea.
 Morning: Start your day with an expert-led lecture about the canals of Fort Lauderdale. The city is also known as the “Venice of America” for its 300 miles of navigable inland waterways, (part of the Intracoastal Waterway) that stretch from Everglades to the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Lauderdale is a major yachting center, with more than 100 marinas and 42,000 resident yachts.

Further your knowledge of the Canals of Fort Lauderdale on a narrated cruise of the canals which offers vistas of aquatic creatures, lush tropical foliage, mansions, and those yachts.

 Lunch: We will eat out at the local restaurant on the riverfront, Briny's.
 Afternoon: Stranahan House Museum. Take a journey through time in this 1901 house built by Frank Stranahan, considered Fort Lauderdale’s founding father, who made friends with the Seminole Indians. The oldest surviving structure in Broward County, it has also served as a trading post, post office, and town hall. The wood-frame vernacular structure has wide porches and a stunning view of the New River.
 Dinner: Local fare for dinner
 Evening: Free Evening. Continue your personal independent explorations and enjoy the camaraderie of new Road Scholar friends.
Accommodations: Riverside Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, Free Afternoon, Florida History with Eliot Kleinberg
(Tuesday, February 24)
 Breakfast: Full breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. Created in 1920 on South Florida oceanfront land, the Bonnet House estate is today a preeminent house museum dedicated to historic and environmental preservation, learning and creative expression. The eclectic design for a Caribbean-style plantation house provided the backdrop to display extensive collections of the Birch-Bartlett families and whimsically painted decorations. After exploring the house, we will see the grounds during a tram ride around the property.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at this 35-acre estate and historic house museum.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Florida History with Eliot Kleinberg. That rare breed, a genuine “native” of the state, Eliot Kleinberg has three decades of experience in broadcast and print news, including 20-plus years at the Palm Beach Post, and is the author of 10 books celebrating Florida.
Accommodations: Riverside Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Historic District, ”Old Florida” Homestead, Seminole Indians, Art Museum
(Wednesday, February 25)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Led by a docent, explore Fort Lauderdale History Center sites including New River Inn (1905) and the King-Cromartie House (1907) that reveal life of an earlier era.
 Lunch: We will have lunch at private, historic homestead.
 Afternoon: Learn about the Seminole Indians and go behind the scenes at the Seminole Miccosukee Photo Archive. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 mandated the removal of all Native Americans east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). The Seminoles chose to resist rather than be removed, resulting in the Seminole Wars. The modern Indians of the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes are the descendants of the approximately 200 who remained in Florida at the end of these wars.

Field Trip: After, depart for the Fort Lauderdale Art Museum to view an array of changing exhibits.

 Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Riverside Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary at Flamingo Gardens
(Thursday, February 26)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Learn about the local environment with an expert.

After the lecture, we depart for Flamingo Gardens.

 Lunch: Light fare at the Flamingo Gardens Café.
 Afternoon: Established in 1927, Flamingo Gardens is one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Florida. We will explore the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary nestled in and around the gardens that is home to more than 90 species of Florida native birds and animals -- most permanently injured or non-releasable -- including alligators, bobcats, eagles, otter, panthers, peacocks and, of course, flamingos.
 Dinner: Enjoy good company and good food for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant with a select menu of appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: At leisure. Linger over conversations with new Road Scholar friends and prepare for departure in the morning.
Accommodations: Riverside Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Farewells and Wrap Up
(Friday, February 27)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Lecture about Turtles

Please remember that hotel check-out is by 11:00am.

We hope you have enjoyed this Road Scholar learning adventure and look forward to having you on other rewarding programs in the future. Please stay in touch and share your memories, pictures, and comments via the Road Scholar Social Network. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Riverside Hotel - Ft. Lauderdale Ft. Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
The Ft. Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is a reproduction of a Packard showroom from the 1920's. When you visit, you will see a piece of this great American automotive history. On display are 22 Packard motor cars from the 1900's to the 1940's, all in full working order. There are Roadsters with compartments for golf clubs, a doctor's coupe with a compartment for his medical bag, and a 1929 645 Dual Cowl Phaeton that can self-lubricate its chassis as it drives along the road. These automobiles were some of the finest cars ever made and the workmanship is hard to find even today. For additional information, visit
  Las Olas Boulevard
South Florida’s most architecturally unique, authentic, and eclectic shopping and dining district. Stroll the boulevard, duck in and out of the hip breezeways, and be delighted by what you discover. Nowhere else in Florida will you find over 30 al fresco dining options, 10 major international art galleries, and 65 shops filled with fashion, accessories, gifts, and more.
  Museum of Discovery and Science
The Museum of Discovery and Science provides experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults through exhibits, programs, and films. Founded in 1976 as The Discovery Center, the nonprofit facility serves approximately 400,000 visitors each year. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Florida's Big Dig: The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami, 1881 to 1935

Author: William G. Crawford (speaker)

Description: This book is the story of people of vision and courage, of a small group of prominent Saint Augustine investors who conceived of the Florida waterway and began the first dredging work; of an obscure group of New England capitalists who provided significant financing and obtained a million acres of undeveloped Florida public land in pursuing what was, at best, a speculative enterprise; of innumerable citizen groups like the Florida east coast chamber associations and the larger Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association that demanded at the turn of the last century what they believed was the peoples right-a public waterway, free of the burden of tolls; and finally, of the U>S> Army Corps of Engineers, who conducted all of the Florida waterway's early surveys and assumed the project's control in 1929 to convert what was once a private toll way into Florida's modern-day, toll-free Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

Black Cloud: The Great Hurricane of 1928

Author: Eliot Kleinberg (speaker)

Description: The great hurricane of 1928 claimed 2,500 lives, and the long-forgotten story of the casualties, as told in Black Cloud, continues to stir passion. Among the dead were 700 black Floridiansmen, women, and children who were buried in an unmarked West Palm Beach ditch during a racist recovery and rebuilding effort that conscripted the labor of blacks as latter-day slaves. Palm Beach Post reporter Eliot Kleinberg has penned the gripping and tragic tale of 1928's killer hurricane from dozens of interviews with survivors, diary entries, accounts from newspapers, government documents, and reports from the National Weather Service and the Red Cross. Immortalized in Zora Neale Hurston's classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, thousands of poor blacks had nowhere to run when the waters of Lake Okeechobee rose. No one spoke for them, no one stood up for them, and no one could save them. With historical photographs and heroic tales of survival and loss, this book finally gives the dead the dignity they deserve.

Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Southern Florida, The (FL) (Images of America

Author: Patsy West (speaker)

Description: The history of the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes dates back to the 1500s, when most of Florida as well as much of the United States was uninhabited. During the early 19th century, the tribes moved into the South Florida interior, living on remote tree islands throughout the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. These self-reliant people kept mostly to themselves. Their struggles have included disease, poverty, relocation, and three wars with the U.S. Army. Nevertheless, these resilient tribes survived and have become a vital part of the country's history and a unique and highly popular feature of South Florida tourism. Today, these tribes are busy creating economic opportunity for members, preserving their heritage and culture, and protecting their homeland. The powerful and engaging story of these remarkable people is brought to life in Images of America: Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Southern Florida. Captivating images from the Seminole / Miccosukee Photographic Archive highlight and preserve their story for future generations.

Ft. Lauderdale: The Venice of America

Author: Susan Gillis

Description: Taking its name from a fortification established more than 160 years ago during the Second Seminole War, Fort Lauderdale boasts a history stretching back 5,000 years before the first white settlers arrived in the eighteenth century. From beautiful tales of the "mysterious" New River that helped launch the community to more recent stories of rum running and gambling, segregation and integration, and boom and bust, the history of this Florida city is told here through the everyday lives of those who lived it.

The Stranahans of Ft. Lauderdale: A Pioneer Family of New RIver

Author: Harry A. Kersey, JR

Description: "When they married in 1900, Frank and Ivy Stranahan began a life together on the Florida frontier that would shape and define the development of one of the state's most sophisticated urban centers. Pioneering spirit and economic enterprise linked them to Seminole Indians, venture capitalists, and colorful entrepreneurs along the New River settlement. Today they are recognized as a founding family of Fort Lauderdale and their riverfront home has been restored and designated a National Historic Landmark. From business and politics to social welfare, women's rights, and environmentalism, distinguished historian Harry Kersey journeys back in time to provide an engaging look at Fort Lauderdale's early years and the personalities that left an indelible mark on the history of the region and the state of Florida."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768