Fort Lauderdale Articles http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/rss/ Recent Articles - Digital Press Kit Sat, 29 Aug 2015 06:06:34 GMT 2014 Year-End Statistics http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/2014-Year-End-Statistics/1275/0/ Untitled Document Greater Fort Lauderdale describes all of Broward County, totaling 1,220 square miles (766,016 acres) and 31 municipalities, including Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, Weston, West Park and Wilton Manors. 14.3 million TOTAL 2014 VISITORS (includes international and domestic) 3.3 million INTERNATIONAL VISITORS Canadian Visitors: 1,208,000 Latin American Visitors: 929,000European Visitors: 419,000 Scandinavian Visitors: 256,000 United Kingdom Visitors: 207,000 Other Foreign Visitors: 295,000 $11.43 billion TOTAL 2014 VISITOR EXPENDITURES Domestic: $8,776,765,000 International: $2,651,235,000 $53,435,436 2014 TOURISM GENERATED TAX REVENUES derived from 5% bed tax collected by area hotels 77.8% AVERAGE HOTEL OCCUPANCY $126.94 AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE 34,017 HOTEL/MOTEL RENTAL UNITS IN 563 HOTELS 24,648,306 TOTAL AIR PASSENGER ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES AT FORT LAUDERDALE/HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 627 DAILY AIRLINE ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES 33 SCHEDULED AIRLINES 600,000 sq. ft. CONVENTION CENTER MEETING/EXHIBIT SPACE 44 CRUISE SHIPS SAILING FROM PORT EVERGLADES 4.1 million CRUISE SHIP EMBARKATIONS / DEBARKATIONS 23 MILES OF BEACH 1.8 million BROWARD COUNTY POPULATION 4,122 RESTAURANTS 132 NIGHTCLUBS 63 GOLF COURSES 580 TENNIS COURTS 12 MAJOR MALLS 4 PARI-MUTUELS 16 MUSEUMS 3,000 HOURS OF ANNUAL SUNSHINE 77 degrees F AVERAGE YEAR-ROUND TEMPERATURE 300 MILES OF INLAND WATERWAYS 123 BRIDGES 69 MILES OF LIVE CORAL REEF 81 ARTIFICIAL REEFS 18 MAJOR SHIPWRECKS 45,000 RESIDENT YACHTS 100 MARINAS / BOATYARDS 400 SALTWATER FISH SPECIES 200 FRESHWATER FISH SPECIES 288 PARKS 60,956 FEET OF NATURE TRAILS / BOARDWALKS 5 PARKLAND CAMPGROUNDS 278 PARKLAND CAMP SITES ### Mon, 01 Jun 2015 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/2014-Year-End-Statistics/1275/0/ Greater Fort Lauderdale Superior Small Lodgings Big Hit With Travelers Far And Wide http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Superior-Small-Lodgings-Big-Hit-With-Travelers-Far-And-Wide/1258/0/  Small lodging delivers superior stays in Greater Fort Lauderdale. One of the destination's more popular programs, Superior Small Lodging, epitomizes the personalized "mom and pop"-style hotel experience - and has attracted more than 51 properties from Hollywood through Deerfield Beach. Born in Fort Lauderdale, the Superior Small Lodging initiative has grown statewide.   For good reason. The voluntary program encourages owners or managers of properties of fewer than 50 rooms to agree to annual comprehensive and independent reviews of such areas as public spaces, guest accommodations, bathrooms and bathroom supplies, kitchens, and property exterior.   The Superior Small Lodging collection is ideal for travelers who prefer to stay at properties featuring personalized service and individual character in an intimate retreat.   "It's the perfect fit between vacationers who want unique accommodations, and hoteliers who promise a more quaint vacation experience," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "What debuted two decades ago as a way to showcase our smaller properties today is the standard for quality small lodging in Greater Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida."   The charm of many of the boutique-style properties is apparent from their names, like the Bougainvillea on the Beach, Manta Ray Inn, Pelican Place or Villa Venezia. Whether boutique hotels, villa homes, apartments and suites, many feature European, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Polynesia or authentic South Florida architectural styles. Some cater to LGBT vacationers; some are clothing optional, others pet friendly. Most are within a walk or drive from the beach, parks and golf courses, restaurants, shops or cultural venues.   The allure of the Superior Small Lodging program goes beyond the commitment to well-maintained accommodations. Properties often provide a level of personalized service unavailable at larger properties. Owners, many of whom were once vacationers themselves, interact with guests and become longtime friends. Some may feature weekly BBQs or gatherings, afternoon poolside cocktails, or morning coffee beneath palm trees and surrounded by tropical gardens.   Another program, the Donal A. Dermody White Glove Award for best housekeeping practices, each year recognizes those properties that score 100% during an independent housekeeping inspection. In 2013, 50 hotels and inns were members of the "100% Club." In all, Greater Fort Lauderdale's 41 Superior Small Lodgings averaged a score of 97% during housekeeping inspections. Together, the Superior Small Lodging designation and the White Glove Award ensure quality, comfort, personalized service and affordable prices - often in a delightful and intimate setting.   Superior Small Lodgings in Greater Fort Lauderdale currently can be found in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach and Hallandale Beach. For more information about Superior Small Lodgings in Greater Fort Lauderdale, visit www.sunny.org/SSL.   ###   About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.   The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Instagram/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Fork Lauderdale, iVisitLauderdale and Defrost Your Swimsuit at www.sunny.org/apps. Media Contacts:  Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Jessica Savage Tel: (954) 767-2444 E-mail: jessicasavage@broward.org   Wed, 07 Jan 2015 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Superior-Small-Lodgings-Big-Hit-With-Travelers-Far-And-Wide/1258/0/ Bye Bye Rowdy Party Town Hello Beach Chic Vibe Greater Fort Lauderdale's Transformation Story http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Bye-Bye-Rowdy-Party-Town-Hello-Beach-Chic-Vibe-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-s-Transformation-Story/1257/0/  The nearly three-decade evolution and rebirth of Greater Fort Lauderdale has transformed the area from a sleepy beach community to a year-round, internationally acclaimed tourism destination.   Where it all began What started in 1934 with a Colgate College swim coach bringing his swimmers to train and stay in shape in a warm place, grew into a national rite of passage for college students everywhere. In 1960, a big screen adaptation of the novel Where the Boys Are starring "Connie Francis and George Hamilton" depicting innocent sun-drenched fun, put Greater Fort Lauderdale on the map. By the 1980's, the area was inundated with hundreds of thousands of college students on a six-week binge of roaring parties and a rowdy, anything goes attitude.   The party's over In 1986, the local political leadership yanked out the welcome mat from nearly 400,000 raucous college students and weeks of debauchery in an effort to shed its long-held "Spring Break Capital" title. Tourism and city officials focused on modernizing and improving infrastructure to attract couples, multigenerational families, international visitors, LGBT travelers, business and convention-goers. The move ignited a renaissance that brought new facilities and services such as the newly expanded Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the 600,000-square-foot Broward County Convention Center, the Museum of Art and Museum of Discovery and Science, Sawgrass Mills Mall and expansions at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.   "They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well, it was broke," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It took a very dedicated, forward-thinking effort. Proof we were on the right path, is the very spot where the wet T-shirt contest was invented is now home to a five-diamond luxury resort."   Sunny forecast: future looks bright While Spring Break was a valuable part of Fort Lauderdale's history in its early years, bringing a boost to the local economy with 3.3 million visitors spending $2.2 billion in 1985. In 2013, more than 13.4 million visitors spent more than $10 billion in Greater Fort Lauderdale, a growth that would not have been possible without saying good bye to the Spring Break reputation. As for college kids, Greater Fort Lauderdale still welcomes about 12,000 well-behaved students every spring.   Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) exemplifies the area's wave of improvements on a billion-dollar scale. From a modest airport to a $2.3 billion expansion that includes terminal improvements and additional gates, further strengthening FLL's role as an International hub for budget-minded travelers and low-cost carriers like Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Beginning July 2014, Norwegian Air Shuttle began non-stop service from London to Fort Lauderdale, adding to the airport's growing list of international destinations.   Slip into something Sunny From shabby chic, to glitz and glam, shopping in Greater Fort Lauderdale delivers retail therapy at all price points. Las Olas Boulevard remains the region's unofficial "Main Street," with trendy boutiques along a thoroughfare that dates back to the city's founding. Sawgrass Mills, the largest outlet mall in the country with 2.3 million square feet of retail space, recently added 49 new high-end retailers - like Diane von Furstenberg, Jimmy Choo, Versace, Frette Linens, Tory Burch and PRADA - as part of The Colonnade Outlets.   Lavish Boutique to Retro Chic As the destination distanced itself from its rowdy reputation, more sophisticated hotel brands took notice and soon the area had a boom of new hotel developments. The Lauderdale Luxe Collection showcases the assortment of deluxe category properties, featuring the best in-market hotels and spa resorts.     One thing Greater Fort Lauderdale carried over from its post-Spring Break lineage, mom-and-pop-style retro retreats. Superior Small Lodgings offer an intimate authentic Florida vacation. Some of these architectural gems are being restored and given a makeover to create a European-style, North Beach Village resort collection.   Hilton Hotels recently announced its global luxury brand, Conrad Hotel, will soon plant its flag on Fort Lauderdale's beachfront. Expected to open in Summer 2015, the 24-story, 290-room Conrad Fort Lauderdale Resort and Residences, condo-hotel property is undergoing more than $34 million in enhancements and upgrades including a Conrad Spa, swimming pool and exclusive oceanfront dining experience. On the horizon, a new $147 million, 349-room, Margaritaville Resort, a Jimmy Buffett-themed project stretching five acres along Hollywood's famed Broadwalk and the Intracoastal Waterway, expected to open in July 2015.   Still Fun and Funky If one category truly embodies the area's transformation, it's the flourishing arts scene that rivals that found in many major markets. Flanking Las Olas Boulevard, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District connects the Museum of Discovery and Science, the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, set on the banks of the New River.   Just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale, the emerging FAT Village - or Flagler Arts & Technology - is an evolving four-block creative district, built in the 1950s as industrial warehouses, that now is the only urban arts district in Fort Lauderdale, and one of the largest in Florida. The village is populated with open artists' studios, galleries, live theatre and hundreds of residential units.   ###   About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.   The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Instagram/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Fork Lauderdale, iVisitLauderdale and Defrost Your Swimsuit at www.sunny.org/apps.   Media Contacts:  Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Jessica Savage Tel: (954) 767-2444 E-mail: jessicasavage@broward.org Wed, 07 Jan 2015 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Bye-Bye-Rowdy-Party-Town-Hello-Beach-Chic-Vibe-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-s-Transformation-Story/1257/0/ Families ? Greater Fort Lauderdale – Kid-Friendly Vacations, The Hello Sunny Way http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Families-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Kid-Friendly-Vacations-The-Hello-Sunny-Way/1256/0/   FUNTINERARY   From Blue Wave-certified beaches to the Everglades, sun-drenched days and fun-filled nights await moms, dads, kids, grandparents, or the Professional Aunt No Kids (PANKs) and Professional Uncle No Kids (PUNKs) in Greater Fort Lauderdale.   Whether traditional or LGBT families, PANKs, PUNKs or multi-generational groups, families of all shapes and sizes will find attractions, restaurants, hotels and resorts that appeal to both kids and kids at heart in Greater Fort Lauderdale.   To navigate the trip-planning process, the Greater Fort Lauderdale ‘FUNtinerary' highlights kid-approved activities, attractions and top-notch family programs and amenities at resorts and hotels. Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, Hyatt Pier Sixty-Six, Lago Mar Resort and Club, Pelican Grand Beach Resort, and The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale all cater to families featuring kids' clubs, playgrounds, children's pools and other amenities.   Greater Fort Lauderdale FUNtinerary Day 1 - Arrive Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, pick up a rental car, head to your hotel and hit the beach. Greater Fort Lauderdale has plenty of spots to dig your toes in the sand - Fort Lauderdale beach is palm-tree fringed with a brick-lined beachfront promenade and an iconic white wave wall that's close to the shopping and dining scene. Nearby, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is a charming beach town with great snorkeling right off the beach, while Dania Beach is home to some of the prettiest and least crowded stretches of ocean in the area and Deerfield Beach's pier and promenade offer a very walk-able, relaxing experience and wide beach for watersports.   Take an evening cruise on a Fort Lauderdale institution - the Jungle Queen riverboat departs from Bahia Mar at 6 pm and heads to a nearby island for an all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner with entertainment. Or hop on the Water Taxi for a tour of the area's famous waterways and cruise to dinner - the taxi stops at 12 places in Fort Lauderdale along the Intracoastal Waterway and downtown New River, and makes three stops in Hollywood.   Day 2 - Rise and shine for a don't-miss visit to the Everglades and Billie Swamp Safari in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. Kids will learn about the land and culture of the Seminole Indians and for a more in-depth experience, take an airboat ride or cruise in a swamp buggy - a customized, elevated four-wheeler that's the best (and safest) way to view the area's exotic wildlife.   Return to downtown Fort Lauderdale for an afternoon of education at the Museum of Discovery and Science featuring more than 200 interactive exhibits, plus a five-story IMAX 3D Theater and new Eco-Discovery Center. Alternatively, families can get creative at the Young at Art Museum in Davie where you can visit a cave or build sand sculptures and recycled puppets, in this LEED-certified museum.   After dinner, hit up Boomers in Dania Beach - the amusement park is a hit with kids and stays open late with mini-golf, go-kart racing, rock climbing wall and ‘bumper boats.'   Day 3 - Finish your Greater Fort Lauderdale vacation in the great outdoors. Butterfly World in Coconut Creek features the largest indoor butterfly aviary in North America. The tropical oasis teems with thousands of rainbow-hued butterflies, hummingbirds and lorikeets.   Flamingo Gardens & Wray Botanical Collection in Davie features 60 acres of diverse native plants and trees, a Bird of Prey Center with a free-flight aviary and the chance to view alligators, flamingos, bobcats and Florida panthers, plus a historic 1930s Wray Home. Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood offers kayaking and canoeing through narrow canals where mangrove trees create a tangled canopy.   Or for some peace and quiet, drop the kids off at Funky Fish Kids Day, a "liquid playground" day camp (overnight options available) for kids ages 4 to 14 which includes snorkeling lessons, fishing, boating, scuba camp and more.   For more information and trip planning ideas, visit www.sunny.org.      ### Media Contacts:  Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Jessica Savage Tel: (954) 767-2444 E-mail: jessicasavage@broward.org    Wed, 07 Jan 2015 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Families-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Kid-Friendly-Vacations-The-Hello-Sunny-Way/1256/0/ Meet Sunny: Greater Fort Lauderdale Streamlines Meeting, Convention And Incentive Planning http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Meet-Sunny-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Streamlines-Meeting-Convention-And-Incentive-Planning/1255/0/ 0 0 1 892 5087 GFLCVB 42 11 5968 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}   Greater Fort Lauderdale is business-ready with meeting planner-focused programs, partners and properties aligned to host gatherings and deliver the services and amenities to transform any business event into a memorable experience.   “Our goal is to help ease the heavy lifting of planning a meeting or event in Greater Fort Lauderdale and make it more rewarding for planners, clients and attendees,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB). “We’ve partnered with area attractions and environmental organizations to make every meeting memorable and SUNconventional.”   When it comes to meetings, Greater Fort Lauderdale is a smart choice for business travelers as it ranks top in the nation with the lowest travel taxes for the third year in a row, according to the Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) annual study of travel-related taxes in the top 50 U.S. business travel destinations. Topping the list of taxpayers' most friendly travel destinations, with an average tax of $22.61 charged on a day's worth of $256 in travel costs, the area’s tax is lower than the average daily tax of $29.94 expended by travelers in 2013.   Greater Fort Lauderdale’s “sunny side up” meeting planner portfolio of amenities includes a highly accessible airport, a wide variety of dining and nightlife, a range of hotels and resorts from luxury to boutique – and beaches and a convention center recognized by environmental groups. The destination’s meetings video is available online and highlights many of these sunny attributes for planners and attendees to feel inspired.   Greater Fort Lauderdale is ready for business with a list of novel initiatives:   ·       An eco-friendly meetings destination, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s meetings-motto is “regroup, recharge, replant.” The 600,000-square-foot Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center holds Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Gold certification. It is the first convention center in Florida to be LEED certified on any level and one of only three in the nation to achieve LEED Gold certification for an Existing Building. Numerous properties are sanctioned by Florida Green Lodgings, a voluntary initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that designates and recognizes hoteliers that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources. The GFLCVB’s Plan.It.Green tree planting program partners with Broward County Parks and Recreation Division to replenish native trees and green buffers in a local park on behalf of meeting and convention groups (contact the CVB staff to discuss the program). It is easy for groups to volunteer while meeting in Greater Fort Lauderdale with programs from waterway and beach clean ups, to donating to women in need, feeding the hungry or helping build affordable housing. Groups can choose to leave a mark and get in a sunny state of mind or help offset their carbon footprint too. Learn more about corporate social responsibility options at www.sunny.org/csr   ·       The Lauderdale Convention Collection: Six leading, upscale hotels all within a mile and a half of the Broward County Convention Center to accommodate groups of up to 2,700 rooms in a single, unified convention experience while providing one-stop planning assistance. The Convention Collection can also deliver special savings, complimentary meeting and event space at the convention center, and complimentary one-hour Board of Directors and Convention Welcome receptions, commemorative gifts from local suppliers, and discounts on such services as food and beverage, electric, audio/visual, internet and security staffing. Hotels include the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale-17th Street, the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel, and the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel.   ###   About Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward CountyFrom the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale, located in Broward County, boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. In 2015, Broward County celebrates its centennial with an active calendar of special events, culminating in the October 2-4 Duende celebration in downtown Fort Lauderdale and satellite locations throughout the county.  Programming will include family-friendly activities, a theatrical performance and a light show.  For more information, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.  0 0 1 304 1739 GFLCVB 14 4 2039 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA HE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale and Instagram at www.instagram.com/visitlauderdale. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone and Android applications, Fork Lauderdale and Defrost Your Swimsuit at www.sunny.org/apps.   Media Contacts:  Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Jessica Savage Tel: (954) 767-2444 E-mail: jessicasavage@broward.org   Wed, 07 Jan 2015 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Meet-Sunny-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Streamlines-Meeting-Convention-And-Incentive-Planning/1255/0/ Love is Love in Greater Fort Lauderdale! Sunrise Beach Wedding Celebrates Marriage Equality in FL http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Love-is-Love-in-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Sunrise-Beach-Wedding-Celebrates-Marriage-Equality-in-FL/1251/0/ The sunrise beach wedding will take place on Fort Lauderdale beach in front of the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel on Thursday, February 5th. Registration to win a Love is Love wedding trip is available at 0 0 1 484 2765 GFLCVB 23 6 3243 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to Host 100 Couples with Free Air, Hotel and Historic Group Wedding Ceremony   GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2015) - To mark the anticipated landmark announcement for same-sex marriage equality in Florida, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a "Love is Love" initiative to marry both LGBT and straight couples from across the nation in an historic collective wedding ceremony.The sunrise beach wedding will take place on Fort Lauderdale beach in front of the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel on Thursday, February 5th. Registration to win a Love is Love wedding trip is available at sunny.org/loveislove starting today. Reverend Dr. Durrell Watkins, senior minister, of the Sunshine Cathedral will preside. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, JetBlue, W Fort Lauderdale and area partners have joined together to provide a wedding to remember.Following the sunrise beach wedding, the newlyweds will be invited to the W Fort Lauderdale for a post-ceremony champagne toast and reception to commemorate the unique occasion. The W Fort Lauderdale also is offering a "Love is Love" wedding package for an extended stay in Greater Fort Lauderdale. In addition, a lucky couple will receive an ultimate wedding getaway to begin their new life together. "I'm extremely proud of the willingness and openness of our hospitality community to affect change for the better. And as we commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Broward County in 2015, we're excited to extend our never wavering support of the LGBT community, and provide couples gay and straight from across the country to be a part of this significant day in history," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. In a ruling handed down in December, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta turned down a request by Florida's secretaries of health and management services and the clerk of the court in the Panhandle's Washington County to extend a stay in the state's gay-marriage ban case. A federal judge based in Tallahassee had ruled in August that the state's gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional, but stayed his decision until Jan. 5 to give the state time to appeal. "Greater Fort Lauderdale has long been a pioneering advocate of the LGBT community in Florida and our ‘Love is Love' campaign is another example of how we hope to continue to positively impact our resident community and visitors by offering this special day to rejoice as now we all can say ‘I Do' legally," said Richard Gray, managing director, LGBT market, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Home to the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country, and as one of the top LGBT vacation destinations in the world, Greater Fort Lauderdale is one of the most diverse gay capitals and continues to be a destination of choice for LGBT travelers with hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses. For more information on the "Love is Love" wedding celebration, visit sunny.org/loveislove. Editor's Note: Click here for a broadcast-quality video about the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau's "Love is Love" wedding celebration. Or click here for hi-res images.Nicki E. Grossman and Richard Gray are available for interviews on this subject. ### About Greater Fort LauderdaleFrom the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit sunny.org. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale and Instagram at www.instagram.com/visitlauderdale. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Fork Lauderdale and Defrost Your Swimsuit at www.sunny.org/apps. Media Contact:M. Silver - A Division of Finn PartnersYael Baker/Virginia SheridanTel: (212) 715-1600E-mail: yael.baker@finnpartners.com Virginia.sheridan@finnpartners.com Tue, 06 Jan 2015 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Love-is-Love-in-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Sunrise-Beach-Wedding-Celebrates-Marriage-Equality-in-FL/1251/0/ Greater Fort Lauderdale: Center Stage For Music, Arts & Culture http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Center-Stage-For-Music-Arts-Culture/1253/0/ If all the world's a stage, then Greater Fort Lauderdale could be considered South Florida's center stage. From beachfront bandshells to a major concert arena to underground venues, the arts come alive in Greater Fort Lauderdale.   "Greater Fort Lauderdale has a rich tradition in the arts, and as the destination continues to mature, so does its offerings. Families, couples, hipsters, rockers, can visit the area's countless venues, performances and creative outlets to experience it all served sunny side up" said Nicki E. Grossman, president of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.   Venues and facilities include:   THEATER VENUES. Broward Center for the Performing Arts is a 5,455-seat, multi-venue waterfront theater and entertainment complex in downtown Fort Lauderdale with Broadway performances and other shows. The Broward Center has undergone a $56 million renovation to include the addition of a waterside restaurant, a glass-walled pavilion, intermezzo lounge, education center and luxurious premium upgrades to seating and facilities.  The Coral Springs Center for the Arts is a 1,500-seat venue for music, dance, comedy and family productions. The 1,200-seat Parker Playhouse hosts musicals, comedians and public speakers.   CONCERT VENUES. BB&T Center, the 20,763-seat home of the NHL Florida Panthers, also hosts top-tier concerts and other high-profile events. Hard Rock Live, located at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, is a 5,500-seat indoor arena for musicians, comedians, and even rodeos. Other venues include the Pompano Beach Amphitheater and Bailey Concert Hall at Broward College in Davie.    MUSIC FESTIVALS. Rock the Ocean's Tortuga Music Festival is a two-day music event in April with several stages and dozens of acts performing on the sand on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Concert goers can dip their toes in the golden sands of the area's Blue Wave certified beach. The annual two-day waterfront Lauderdale Live concert will take place June 2015 at Huizenga Plaza on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The Kiss Country Chili Cookoff is held every January at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines.   FAT VILLAGE. The Flagler Arts & Technology Village is an evolving four-block creative district north of downtown Fort Lauderdale where artisans and entrepreneurs ply their trades, and photo and video shoots are the norm. Organizers host an Art Walk on the last Saturday of each month from 7-11pm (excluding December).   SMALL SPACES. Revolution, located in the downtown Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, has two stages accommodating more than 3,000 guests inside and outdoors. Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale features indie and alternative acts in an intimate 650-capacity space. Take in music and moonlight at the Hollywood Beach Theater, a 500-seat bandshell that's the only beachfront venue of its kind in Greater Fort Lauderdale.   UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT. Greater Fort Lauderdale has an emerging indie arts movement brewing from small studios to large galleries and neighborhoods. ArtServe, which opened in 1989 as one of the original six arts incubators in the U.S., is South Florida's premier arts incubator and host to 14 major exhibits annually in its JM Family Enterprises Gallery. Girls' Club Foundation, the only private collection in the world dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art by women with cutting edge works in painting, drawing, photography and video presented free to the public.   THEMED FESTIVALS. Take a trip back to the 16th century for the Florida Renaissance Festival, an annual five-weekend visit to a recreated medieval village over President's Day weekend at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach. Or drop further back to the 12th century and the Camelot Days Medieval Festival held in November at TY Park in Hollywood. Get to know Pompano Beach, and the fish that's the city's namesake, at the Pompano Beach Seafood Festival held annually each April, with a weekend of arts and crafts, a live music and, of course, a limitless supply of seafood. And Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale's most iconic thoroughfare, hosts several themed events that close the street to automotive traffic, including the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival each May and the Las Olas Art Fair in January and March, driving tons of pedestrians strolling the areas many restaurants, galleries and restaurants.    ARTSPARKS, CULTURAL CENTERS AND MUSEUMS, OH MY. Anchored by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and across from the Riverwalk strolling promenade, the downtown Fort Lauderdale area is home to the renowned Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale and the Museum of Discovery and Science AutoNation® IMAX Theater - complete with a live otter habitat, Everglades airboat simulator and hands-on fun for the kids. Young at Art Museum in Davie, is a 55,000 square-foot Gold LEED certified art center, with four permanent themed galleries featuring hands-on exhibits. The four galleries include GreenScapes, which encourages a connection to nature; CultureScapes, which celebrates a culturally diverse world; WonderScapes, a world of imagery to discover; and ArtScapes, takes a journey through the history of art. In Hollywood, Florida that is, ArtsPark at Young Circle is a 10-acre family-friendly park, featuring musical performances, festivals, visual arts, fountains, and free glass blowing demonstrations. The Hollywood Arts & Culture Center and the Miramar Cultural Center|ArtsPark, each offer art gallery exhibitions, live stage performances and quality education programs.    ART WALKS...The county hosts several Art Walks throughout the region including downtown Hollywood (7-10 p.m. on 3rd Saturday of each month), Island City in Wilton Manors (7-10 p.m. on the 3rd Friday of each month, November through April), East Village Uncorked food and wine event in Pompano Beach (6-9 p.m. on the 1st Friday of each month), and the North Beach Art Walk in Fort Lauderdale (7-10 p.m. on the 1st Saturday of each month). Riverwalk Sunday Arts in downtown Fort Lauderdale (11am-2pm, on the 4th Sunday of each month) features area local artists, performers, photographers. Annual Third Avenue Artists ArtWalk is the first Saturday in February from 6-10pm, with artists opening their studios at no charge to the public and can walk to several of the studios or hop on the free trolley service.    LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: FILM FESTIVALS. Not only is Greater Fort Lauderdale the perfect backdrop for filming a warm weather locale, the destination's love for the silver screen extends into several annual film festivals that celebrate the art of making movies including the long standing, month-long, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF), mid-October-mid-November; the celebrated Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (FLGLFF), October; and the Women's International Film Festival (WIFF), March.    FLL ART. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is home to more than 30 art displays, exhibits and collections, from the Lee Wagener Art Gallery in Terminal 2 to terrazzo floor designs and wall murals, to the greenbelt surrounding the airport, to walkways that come alive with "sound art" of birds and children at play. Public art can also been seen at 88 locations throughout Broward County as part of a dedicated program that features 243 pieces of artworks in throughout public facilities, buildings, parks, and libraries, as well as the port and airport. For a virtual tour visit www.broward.org/Arts/PublicArt/PadTour/Venue.    To learn more and see scheduled events, visit the Broward Arts Calendar at www.artscalendar.com/. For information on hotels and accommodations while visiting Greater Fort Lauderdale, please visit our listing of film & entertainment friendly hotels at www.sunny.org.film.    ###  About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.    The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Instagram/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Fork Lauderdale, iVisitLauderdale and Defrost Your Swimsuit at www.sunny.org/apps. Media Contacts:  Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Jessica SavageTel: (954) 767-2444E-mail: jessicasavage@broward.org  Mon, 05 Jan 2015 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Center-Stage-For-Music-Arts-Culture/1253/0/ GREATER ‘FORK’ LAUDERDALE: GUSTATORY GEMS DELIVER A DINING DELIGHT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/GREATER-FORK-LAUDERDALE-GUSTATORY-GEMS-DELIVER-A-DINING-DELIGHT/1252/0/ Dining in Greater Fort Lauderdale dishes out the tastier side of the city. Eclectic, applauded and award-winning, some 4,000 restaurants, many with alfresco seating and waterfront views, to neighborhood nooks are certain to please any palate.  Cuisines range from Americana to Asian, European to tastes of the Americas. "Fork Lauderdale" has been feted by Fodor's as offering "some of the finest, most varied dining of any U.S. city its size." "Our restaurants serve their fare with the flair unique to Greater Fort Lauderdale," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Discover gustatory gems that are certain to become delectable vacation highlights." THE CLASSICS -       Grampa's Bakery and Restaurant, Dania Beach. Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, since 1957 specialties have included pancakes, pastries, pasta and the heralded lamb shank (www.GrampasBakery.com; 954-923-2163). -       Not to steer diners from Grampa's custom bakery, but the venerable Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant has been a few doors down since 1956 - and was featured on The Food Network's Top 5 "Cool Quenchers" and an episode of "Unwrapped." If your group has an appetite for dessert, don't forget the Kitchen Sink ice cream sundae (www.JaxsonsIceCream.com; 954-923-4445). -       Mai-Kai Polynesian Dinner Show. The dinner show has been a vacationer's - and local's - stop since 1956. The menu includes Asian favorites, as well as steak, chicken and seafood.  Walk through the tropical gardens, stay for the show at 8 p.m., and remember to take your rum barrel keepsake mugs (www.MaiKai.com; 954-563-3272). HIGH-PROFILE AND HIGH-FLAVOR -       Casa D'Angelo. Fine Italian dishes and steaks with wines from around the world, including the chef's own vineyard in Italy. Chef/Owner Angelo Elia is a well-known and highly acclaimed culinary maestro serving traditional Italian dishes from generations of family recipes from truffles to gnocchi, and fabulous homemade desserts. (www.Casa-d-Angelo.com; 954-564-1234). -       Johnny V. A sleek, urban décor restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard, with an innovative menu that is as bold and robust as its acclaimed chef/owner, Johnny Vinczencz. A diehard cheese fan, Johnny V offers a cheese menu of global proportions with thirty-five cheeses, paired with Vinczencz-style "fixin's" like fig balsamic marinated grapes and spicy pecans. The smoked tomato soup and brie, goat cheese and parmesan crostini are a must try. (www.johnnyvlasolas.com; 954-761-7920) -       Café Maxx. In Pompano Beach, a city by the sea that gets its name from the venerable fish that swims its waters, Chef Oliver Saucy's stylish yet unpretentious, restaurant with a cozy bar, has been a staple in the area for nearly three decades. (www.cafemaxx.com; 954-782-0606) -       3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Chef Paula DaSilva is back at the helm at 3030 Ocean executing imaginative, farm-to-fork dishes that highlight the flavors and freshness of South Florida's local ingredients. The Brazil native has returned to where it all started, after taking the challenge of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, she's bringing her signature soulful cooking style to this acclaimed, not so typical hotel restaurant. For the seafood aficionado, the Sea Bar at 3030 features fresh lobster, clams, shrimp, oysters, stone crabs, and a seasonal array of other deep sea delicacies. (www.3030ocean.com; 954-765-3030) NEIGHBORHOOD NOOKS -       Eat The Tea, Victoria Park. Start - or end - the day with "feel good food" and edible teas, herbal elixirs and home-made and plant-based soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries - many of which have tea leaves and herbs in the blend (www.EatTheTea.com; 754-200-8355). -       The Riverside Market and Café, Fort Lauderdale. The menu featuring omelets, pizza, salads and sandwiches - and more than 100 brands of bottled beer - lures firemen, lawyers and flip-flop-wearing patrons alike (www.TheRiversideMarket.com; 954-358-8333) -       The Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. Thirsty for a craft beer after a day of exploring Greater Fort Lauderdale? Meet the Buddha. They even pour their Floridian Heffe from a tailgate trailer at Miami Dolphins games (www.FunkyBuddhaBrewery.com; 954-440-0046). -       Swank Southern Kitchen, Davie. Another source of southern staples, patrons can order such specialties as fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits. Straight from the smoker come ribs, pork and beer can chicken (www.SwankSouthern.com; 954-727-5497). FRESH FROM THE SEA -       Blue Moon Fish Company. A chic waterfront restaurant located on the Intracoastal Waterway in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Blue Moon has been serving true Floridian flavors with Louisiana, Cajun infusion for more than 16 years. With a Deco-inspired exterior and contemporary American menu, Blue Moon is known as Greater Fort Lauderdale's "freshest seafood by the waterway," and has been named "Best Waterfront Dining in Fort Lauderdale" by Zagat and OpenTable. (www.bluemoonfishco.com; 954-267-9888) -       Coconuts Grill and GB Oyster Bar. The epitome of dock and dining in Greater Fort Lauderdale, this casual seafood spot, located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway, with docking space for boats, serves some of the freshest seafood in town. Perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset over the "Venice of America" skyline. (www.coconutsbahamagrill.com; 954-525-2421) -       S3 or Sun Surf Sand. Gorgeous beachfront vistas serve as the backdrop for seafood, sushi and steaks in this casually sophisticated, restaurant at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Like sister restaurant YOLO, it's perfect for dining or private events. (www.S3Restaurant.com; 954-523-7873). -       Lobster Bar Sea Grille. The newest concept of nationally acclaimed restaurateur Pano Karatassos, featuring seafood and lobster with a simple, yet elegant flair. Prime steaks, a raw bar, crudo section, and cocktail lounge complement the restaurant's contemporary vibe and nautical furnishings including three custom-made crystal-and-steel chandeliers reminiscent of lighthouse lanterns weighing more than 1,300 pounds each. (www.lobsterbarseagrille.com; 954-772-2675) BURGERS , BBQ & JAW DROPPING SANDWICHES -       LaSpada's has been feeding South Florida since 1973, but the story really began in Chester, PA., where hoagies originated. Hero-worshipers will respect the intricate game of catch played by staff tossing meats and cheeses across an eight-foot counter. Entertaining and efficient, the long lines at this popular sub shop move quickly keeping people coming back in droves. Locations in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Davie and Coral Springs. (www.laspadashoagies.com; 954-776-7893) -       Charm City Burger Company, Deerfield Beach. A quintessential hole-in-the-wall burger joint, order up the award-winning The Big Sloppy - then layer on "Hook-Ups" like thick cut peppered bacon, a fried egg or seared foie gras (www.CharmCityBurgers.com; 954-531-0300) -       Can you pass the "Le Tub" test? Get both sides of the bun and the absurdly thick - and decidedly delicious - burger in your mouth in one bite, and you've passed with flying colors. This quirky burger spot located right on the Intracoastal Waterway that got its name from the funky décor, claw-foot bathtubs and hand-painted sinks scattered about. Locals favor this famous eatery and GQ magazine ranks it home to the best burger in the country. (www.theletub.com; 954-921-9425) -       Tom Jenkins Bar-B-Q, Fort Lauderdale. Some say South Florida isn't "southern." One bite of chopped beef or pork or the chicken and ribs coated in a savory tangy-sweet homemade sauce will win converts. Sides include cole slaw, mac n cheese, hush puppies, even collard greens and baked beans. Tom's doin' the South proud (www.TomJenkinsBBQ.net; 954-522-5046). -       Primanti Brothers. A Pittsburgh fav with three Greater Fort Lauderdale locations, the one near Fort Lauderdale beach is open 24 hours - and is rumored to be the busiest pizza joint in the U.S. per square foot. French fries are stacked high inside the sandwiches, which are the real star at this family-owned establishment. (www.PrimantiBros.com; 954-565-0605).   ###   About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.   The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Instagram/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Fork Lauderdale, iVisitLauderdale and Defrost Your Swimsuit at www.sunny.org/apps.   Media Contacts:  Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Jessica Savage Tel: (954) 767-2444 E-mail: jessicasavage@broward.org Mon, 01 Dec 2014 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/GREATER-FORK-LAUDERDALE-GUSTATORY-GEMS-DELIVER-A-DINING-DELIGHT/1252/0/ Greater Fort Lauderdale Stays On Top Among Lgbt Travelers http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Stays-On-Top-Among-Lgbt-Travelers/1237/0/ Gay Capital of the United States Named "Destination of the Year" by ManAboutWorld  Greater Fort Lauderdale, the city with the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the U.S., beat out worldwide competition to be named "Destination of the Year" by the 2014 ManAboutWorld Editors' Choice Awards, recognizing the very best in gay travel. Greater Fort Lauderdale continues to be a destination of choice for LGBT travelers with hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses and one of the country's most diverse gay capitals. Featuring the largest Pride Center and the world's first AIDS museum, Greater Fort Lauderdale is also home to the Stonewall Museum, one of the only permanent spaces in the U.S. devoted to exhibitions relating to LGBT history and culture. "Gay-popular since the 70s, Fort Lauderdale is still on the rise while other gay destinations are mainstreaming...with its white sand gay beach, 16 exclusively gay guesthouses (the most of any destination), and a nightlife scene that's busy seven nights a week," wrote ManAboutWorld editor, Ed Salvato. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) has been rolling out the Rainbow Carpet since 1996, when it allocated a $35,000 gay marketing budget to create its first dedicated LGBT ad campaign and become the first Convention & Visitors Bureau with an LGBT-centric vacation planner and the first LGBT website on a CVB homepage. "We have been out, proud and proactively welcoming LGBT visitors since 1995, and this recognition only further motivates us to keep on bringing more targeted LGBT events to our warm, welcoming and diverse destination," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. The GFLCVB was applauded by ManAboutWorld for setting industry standards, becoming in July 2014 the first CVB in the country to support a repeal of its state's gay marriage ban. In another first, the CVB commissioned the first ever survey of transgender travelers, soon to be released, furthering its efforts to best cater to all segments of the LGBT market. Gay Days, a vacation celebration for the LGBT community, will take place for the first time in Greater Fort Lauderdale in 2014, plus the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference has signed on with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to bring its 2015, 2016 and 2017 events to South Florida. "With approximately 1.3 million LGBT travelers spending $1.4 billion a year, we continue to proudly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers, events, meetings, businesses and conferences," said Richard Gray, managing director for the LGBT market at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We are excited to share our sunshine with even more of the LGBT community and to continue to better understand all the needs and interests of this important travel market." The ManAboutWorld Editors' Choice Awards recognize the best in gay travel that reflect the publication's values of transformative travel through authentic and personal experiences of different peoples, places and cultures. The magazine is the brainchild of Billy Kolber, who started the magazine in 2012 after more than 12 years at OUT&ABOUT, which he also founded. For more information, please visit www.sunny.org/lgbt. ### Tue, 16 Sep 2014 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Stays-On-Top-Among-Lgbt-Travelers/1237/0/ Broward County Convention Center Fact Sheet http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Broward-County-Convention-Center-Fact-Sheet/1230/0/ Untitled Document FACT SHEET GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE / BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER   Opened: September, 1991 Convention Center Budget: $48.9 million Convention Center Size: 600,000 square feet, encompassing 17 acres Location: Northern end of Port Everglades, the world's second largest cruise port.  The center is bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway, Southeast 17th Street Causeway and Eisenhower Boulevard. Design Description:     The front of the Gold LEED-certified, three-level meeting and exhibit facility is a glass curtain wall, offering vistas of the Intracoastal Waterway, the city of Fort Lauderdale and a 1.3 acre fountain plaza featuring a 35-foot bronze sailfish sculpture. The complex is directly accessible from both 17th Street (A1A), State Road 84 and Interstate 595.  The airport is one and one-half miles away. New Convention Center Hotel & Expansion Project: A full-service facility, 750-room Convention Center hotel including a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, 15,000-square-foot junior ballroom and 25,000 square feet of meeting room space. An expansion of the Convention Center including the addition of a 70,000-square-foot ballroom, 15,000-square-foot junior ballroom and 27,000 square feet of meeting room space. The expanded convention center will total approximately 860,000-sq. ft. Additional site improvements include entertainment and retail and maximizing the waterfront location to draw tourists, convention delegates and locals. Project Timeline: 2014: Community outreach, master planning and developer solicitation. 2015: Project negotiations, site analysis and project design. 2016: Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2016 and take three years to complete. Previous Developments:       A $34 million expansion was completed at the Convention Center March 2002.  Now offering a total of 600,000 gross square feet, the new space includes a 50,000 square foot exhibition space, additional meeting rooms, pre-function space, kitchen and storage areas. Meeting Facility & Exhibit Hall: The 600,000 square-foot, three story convention center, owned by Broward County, contains 200,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, a 33,000 square foot and a 20,000 square-foot ballroom; 54,325 square feet of meeting space, 101,276 square feet of pre-function/registration space, 22,000 square feet of food preparation area and 19 covered loading docks. The exhibit hall, which accommodates 1050 10x10 foot booths, can be divided, by concealed movable walls, into four smaller halls.  Hall A contains 64,887 square feet, Hall B, 43,018 square feet, Hall C, 42,774 square feet and Hall D, 48,847 square feet.  Each hall has its own foyer, food-concession area and loading docks.  Thirty-one meeting and break-out rooms range in size from 523 to 9,313 square feet.  The 20,000 square-foot ballroom accommodates 1,800 banquet style, and has a capacity for 150 exhibit booths.  The 32,000 square foot ballroom can be divided into eight meeting rooms ranging in size from 2700 to 5342 square feet, bringing the total number of meeting/breakout rooms to 39. In addition to the street-level entrance, there is direct access into the center from the second level of the 2,500 space parking garage via a climate controlled skywalk. Parking: Parking facilities, with direct access into the Convention Center, provide 2,500 spaces dedicated to the Convention Center and cruise ship terminals. Convention Center Management: Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center 1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, 2nd Floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 Contract Administrator: Nicki E. Grossman General Manager: Mark Gatley 954) 765-5900   ### Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Broward-County-Convention-Center-Fact-Sheet/1230/0/ 2013 Year-End Statistics http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/2013-Year-End-Statistics/1229/0/ Untitled Document Greater Fort Lauderdale describes all of Broward County, totaling 1,220 square miles (766,016 acres) and 31 municipalities, including Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, Weston, West Park and Wilton Manors. 13.4 million TOTAL 2013 VISITORS (includes international and domestic) 3.1 million INTERNATIONAL VISITORS Canadian Visitors: 1,103,000 Latin American Visitors: 852,000 European Visitors: 410,000 Scandinavian Visitors: 252,000 United Kingdom Visitors: 203,000 Other Foreign Visitors: 282,000 $10.67 billion TOTAL 2013 VISITOR EXPENDITURES Domestic: $8,194,400,000 International: $2,481,600,000 $47,698,582 2013 TOURISM GENERATED TAX REVENUES derived from 5% bed tax collected by area hotels 74.7% AVERAGE HOTEL OCCUPANCY $119.33 AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE 33,294 HOTEL/MOTEL RENTAL UNITS IN 512 HOTELS 23,559,779 TOTAL AIR PASSENGER ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES AT FORT LAUDERDALE/HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 627 DAILY AIRLINE ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES 30 SCHEDULED AIRLINES 600,000 sq. ft. CONVENTION CENTER MEETING/EXHIBIT SPACE 30 CRUISE SHIPS SAILING FROM PORT EVERGLADES 3.6 million CRUISE SHIP EMBARKATIONS / DEBARKATIONS 23 MILES OF BEACH 1.8 million BROWARD COUNTY POPULATION 4,122 RESTAURANTS 132 NIGHTCLUBS 63 GOLF COURSES 580 TENNIS COURTS 12 MAJOR MALLS 4 PARI-MUTUELS 16 MUSEUMS 3,000 HOURS OF ANNUAL SUNSHINE 77 degrees F AVERAGE YEAR-ROUND TEMPERATURE 300 MILES OF INLAND WATERWAYS 123 BRIDGES 69 MILES OF LIVE CORAL REEF 81 ARTIFICIAL REEFS 18 MAJOR SHIPWRECKS 45,000 RESIDENT YACHTS 100 MARINAS / BOATYARDS 400 SALTWATER FISH SPECIES 200 FRESHWATER FISH SPECIES 288 PARKS 60,956 FEET OF NATURE TRAILS / BOARDWALKS 5 PARKLAND CAMPGROUNDS 278 PARKLAND CAMP SITES ### Tue, 08 Apr 2014 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/2013-Year-End-Statistics/1229/0/ Shining Bright Like A Rainbow: Tops LGBT Households, Tourism and Marketing http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Shining-Bright-Like-A-Rainbow-Tops-LGBT-Households-Tourism-and-Marketing/1225/0/ v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} Greater Fort Lauderdale has become an undisputed leader with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender residents and tourists. Home to the most same-sex couples in the country and a top LGBT resort beach town, this new gay capital welcomed a record-breaking 1.3 million LGBT visitors in 2013 spending $1.48 billion.   Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, announced the destination's success as a gay capital of the U.S. during the CMI 14th Conference on LGBT Tourism & Hospitality, attended by several hundred tourism professionals, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa in December.   "Yellow is indeed the new pink, with the golden sunshine of Greater Fort Lauderdale spreading across the globe, attracting more same-sex couples than anywhere else in the country and making us the first choice as an LGBT resort destination," Grossman said.  "LGBT marketing is a major priority in Greater Fort Lauderdale and I am proud we are the first CVB in the country to have a dedicated department, staff and marketing dollars to spread ‘the rainbow rays of sunshine' to the LGBT community."   In 2012, Greater Fort Lauderdale appointed the only designated tourism board LGBT managing director, Richard Gray, a pioneer in the field of LGBT travel marketing. For the first time, Greater Fort Lauderdale's 30 second mainstream TV spot incorporates LGBT visuals. Through dedicated promotional activities and events, including the CVB's first appearance in New York City's annual Pride March in 2013, and with a strong partnership with the local LGBT community, the CVB has secured its place at the top of important LGBT rankings.   In addition to having the most same-sex couples in the country (followed by Portland and San Francisco), Greater Fort Lauderdale is recognized as Florida's largest and most popular diverse gay capital with the largest resident lesbian and gay community and the most gay-owned and operated businesses in the state. It is also the 7th most popular outright LGBT travel destination.   Wilton Manors, named "2013 Gayborhood of the Year" by Man About World, will be home to the World Aids Museum when it opens in February, while the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale will soon to be endorsed by the Smithsonian.  The GFLCVB team will be on the road participating in New York City Pride (June) and the PTown Bear Week (July). Additional events held in Greater Fort Lauderdale including an Evening in Paradise (Feb. 22), South Florida Pride Fest (March), Beach Bear Weekend (May 7-12), Stonewall Pride (June), Wicked Manor Halloween (Oct. 31), World Aids Day Candlelight Vigil (Dec.) and the 3rd Annual Evening in Paradise will draw LGBT travelers flocking to the destination ready to celebrate, spend, and come back again and again every year.   For more information, please visit www.sunny.org/lgbt. Normal 0 false false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} Wed, 05 Feb 2014 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Shining-Bright-Like-A-Rainbow-Tops-LGBT-Households-Tourism-and-Marketing/1225/0/ Retail Therapy: From Glam and Glitz to Discount and Chintz http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Retail-Therapy-From-Glam-and-Glitz-to-Discount-and-Chintz-/1220/0/ 800x600 Flaunt a sunny sense of fashion and winning style at the area's eclectic mix of shops, malls and boutiques. Whether hunting for deals in air conditioned comfort or strolling open-air shopping districts, one thing is for certain, bargain hunters are going to need a bigger suitcase. Ready to explore Greater Fort Lauderdale's various shopping venues? Whether by car, foot, bicycle, trolley or scenic water taxi ride, hit these retail retreats: Upscale Shopping   Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. Stroll, dine, browse or buy along Fort Lauderdale's original main street. Stretching from the beach to downtown, the boulevard features 65 shops and boutiques, 10 international art galleries, 30 al fresco restaurants and cafés and the historic and refined Riverside Hotel (www.lasolasboulevard.com; 954-258-8382).   The Galleria, Fort Lauderdale. This traditional indoor mall is home to luxury retailers Neiman Marcus, Coach, Cole Haan, J. Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch and others. It dazzles the lunchtime and evening crowd with dining and nightlife spots including The Capital Grille, Blue Martini, Truluck's Steak and Crab House, P.F. Chang's and Seasons 52. Just across a bridge from Fort Lauderdale beach, walk or drive there - or take the Water Taxi (www.galleriamall-fl.com; 954-564-1015).   Shop in the Sunshine   Village at Gulfstream Park, Hallandale Beach. This outdoor destination combines fashion and home accessory shops with signature restaurants and cafés next door to Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino. Retailers include Bang & Olufsen, Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie and Williams-Sonoma among others; dining options range from Cool de Sac to Cantina Laredo, Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar to Club Fate, III Forks and Texas de Brazil (www.thevillageatgulfstreampark.com; 954-454-7000).   The Promenade at Coconut Creek. Shop dozens of retailers and restaurants, including Banana Republic, White House | Black Market, Brighton Collectibles, DSW Shoes - even Guitar Center, and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, Scarfone's Coal Fired Pizza and Red Rock Oasis & Grill (www.thepromenadeatcoconutcreek.com; 954-974-6624).   Seminole Paradise at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Shop for jewelry, fashions and fine art, or indulge at a host of restaurants and nightclubs, including Bongo's Cuban Café, Tatu, Tequila Ranch and Martorano's (www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com; 954-327-7625).   The Shops at Pembroke Gardens, Pembroke Pines. Perfect for window shopping or soaking up the South Florida sunshine. This lifestyle center boasts such retailers as Sephora, Chico's, Old Navy and Victoria's Secret, and eateries like Cheesecake Factory, Brio Tuscan Grille and The Brass Tap (www.PembrokeGardens.com; 954-450-1580).     Outlets & Flea Markets   Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise. The world's largest outlet mall is a destination within a destination, with 2.3 million square feet of shopping and dining space. Its 350+ retailers and restaurants include such as Brooks Brothers, Nine West, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, and more. The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills features high-end shops like Armani, Prada, Gucci Diane von Furstenberg, Jimmy Choo, Versace, Frette, Tory Burch, Burberry, David Yurman, and Valentino. Famished from a day of shopping? Try dozens of restaurants including Villagio, Sushigami, Grand Lux Café and soon to open Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar. The mall is located next to the BB&T Center, where top name acts from Lady Gaga and Cher to Billy Joel and Barry Manilow frequent (www.SawgrassMills.com; 954-846-2300).   Festival Flea Market Mall, Pompano Beach. Those who find favor with "the deal" will appreciate this this quarter-mile long indoor flea market mall which is home to more than 500 local merchants offering clothes and accessories, jewelry, electronics, luggage and handbags, art - even a farmers market. (www.Festival.com; 954-979-4555). While onsite, check out the Hillsboro Antique Mall and Café, South Florida's largest antique mall, featuring timeless and historic artifacts, like china, crystal, glass, antique toys, books, paintings and other collectibles (www.theHillsboroAntiqueMall.com; 954-571-9988).   Swap Shop, Fort Lauderdale. What began in the 1960s as a drive-in movie theater and flea market today is an indoor / outdoor shopping bazaar with full-time vendors and a full food court that attracts millions of shoppers each year from Florida, the U.S. and around the world. In 2002, it was featured on the PBS special, "A Flea Market Documentary" (www.floridaswapshop.com; 954-791-7927).   Antique & Vintage   Decades, Wilton Manors. Go back to the future. Lovers of home design will discover furniture, rugs, lamps and more from mid-century to modern. (1500 NE 4th Ave, Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-8560)   Jezebel, Fort Lauderdale. Located in the Gateway Plaza near Fort Lauderdale Beach, Jezebel fancies itself as a funky throwback chock full of hip gifts, designer and vintage clothing and jewelry, and home décor from times gone by (www.IShopJezebel.com; 954-761-7881).   Sugar Chest Antique Mall, Pompano Beach. Home to the largest antique mall in South Florida, with 200 specialized dealers for European porcelains, coins, and military pieces, sterling silver, art deco, vintage furniture, jewelry, glassware, china, artwork, ephemera, chandeliers, rugs, and decorating accessories (www.thesugarchestantiquemall.com; 954-942-8601)   Vintage Diversity, Oakland Park. Take a trip back to a bygone era at this award-winning costume and vintage store. Buy, sell, trade or rent gangster, flapper, poodle skirts to punk rocker attire, along with costumes, props and collectibles - with classic shows playing on the TV (www.VintageDiversity.com; 954-566-7678).   Radio-Active Records, Fort Lauderdale. Rock on at this indie record store with a huge selection of new and used vinyl records, plus CDs, DVDs, tapes, turntables, clothing and local concert posters. The staff is knowledgeable about the local music scene and if they don't have the vinyl you need they will find it for you. (www.radio-active-records.com; 954-762-9488).   Resisting the urge to Thrift? Check out Dania Beach's historic Art and Antique District, located on North Federal Highway. Several charming antique shops and art galleries in this quaint downtown setting feature furniture, unique works of art, and hidden treasures. (www.visitdaniabeach.com/antiques.asp)   For more information about Greater Fort Lauderdale and its various shops, malls and markets please visit www.sunny.org/shopping. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} Mon, 23 Dec 2013 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Retail-Therapy-From-Glam-and-Glitz-to-Discount-and-Chintz-/1220/0/ What's New November 2013 http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/What-s-New-November-2013/1179/0/ Sun, 22 Dec 2013 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/What-s-New-November-2013/1179/0/ Greater ‘Fork' Lauderdale: Gustatory Gems Deliver a Dining Delight http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fork-Lauderdale-Gustatory-Gems-Deliver-a-Dining-Delight/1217/0/ 800x600 Dining in Greater Fort Lauderdale dishes out the tastier side of the city. Eclectic, applauded and award-winning, some 4,000 restaurants, many with alfresco seating and waterfront views, to neighborhood nooks are certain to please any palate.  Cuisines range from Americana to Asian, European to tastes of the Americas. "Fork Lauderdale" has been feted by Fodor's as offering "some of the finest, most varied dining of any U.S. city its size." "Our restaurants serve their fare with the flair unique to Greater Fort Lauderdale," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Discover gustatory gems that are certain to become delectable vacation highlights." THE CLASSICS -        Grampa's Bakery and Restaurant, Dania Beach. Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, since 1957 specialties have included pancakes, pastries, pasta and the heralded lamb shank (www.GrampasBakery.com; 954-923-2163). -        Not to steer diners from Grampa's custom bakery, but the venerable Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant has been a few doors down since 1956 - and was featured on The Food Network's Top 5 "Cool Quenchers" and an episode of "Unwrapped." If your group has an appetite for dessert, don't forget the Kitchen Sink ice cream sundae (www.JaxsonsIceCream.com; 954-923-4445). -        Mai Kai Polynesian Dinner Show. The dinner show has been a vacationer's - and local's - stop since 1956. The menu includes Asian favorites, as well as steak, chicken and seafood.  Walk through the tropical gardens, stay for the show at 8 p.m., and remember to take your rum barrel keepsake mugs (www.MaiKai.com; 954-563-3272). HIGH-PROFILE AND HIGH-FLAVOR -        Casa D'Angelo. Fine Italian dishes and steaks with wines from around the world, including the chef's own vineyard in Italy. Chef/Owner Angelo Elia is a well-known and highly acclaimed culinary maestro serving traditional Italian dishes from generations of family recipes from truffles to gnocchi, and fabulous homemade desserts. (www.Casa-d-Angelo.com; 954-564-1234). -        Johnny V. A sleek, urban décor restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard, with an innovative menu that is as bold and robust as its acclaimed chef/owner, Johnny Vinczencz. A diehard cheese fan, Johnny V offers a cheese menu of global proportions with thirty-five cheeses, paired with Vinczencz-style "fixin's" like fig balsamic marinated grapes and spicy pecans. The smoked tomato soup and brie, goat cheese and parmesan crostinis are a must try. (www.johnnyvlasolas.com; 954-761-7920) -        Café Maxx. In Pompano Beach, a city by the sea that gets its name from the venerable fish that swims its waters, Chef Oliver Saucy's stylish yet unpretentious, restaurant with a cozy bar, has been a staple in the area for nearly three decades. (www.cafemaxx.com; 954-782-0606) -        3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Chef Paula DaSilva is back at the helm at 3030 Ocean executing imaginative, farm-to-fork dishes that highlight the flavors and freshness of South Florida's local ingredients. The Brazil native has returned to where it all started, after taking the challenge of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, she's bringing her signature soulful cooking style to this acclaimed, not so typical hotel restaurant. For the seafood aficionado, the Sea Bar at 3030 features fresh lobster, clams, shrimp, oysters, stone crabs, and a seasonal array of other deep sea delicacies. (www.3030ocean.com; 954-765-3030) NEIGHBORHOOD NOOKS -        Eat The Tea, Victoria Park. Start - or end - the day with "feel good food" and edible teas, herbal elixirs and home-made and plant-based soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries - many of which have tea leaves and herbs in the blend (www.EatTheTea.com; 754-200-8355). -        The Riverside Market and Café, Fort Lauderdale. The menu featuring omelets, pizza, salads and sandwiches - and more than 100 brands of bottled beer - lures firemen, lawyers and flip-flop-wearing patrons alike (www.TheRiversideMarket.com; 954-358-8333) -        The Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. Thirsty for a craft beer after a day of exploring Greater Fort Lauderdale? Meet the Buddha. They even pour their Floridian Heffe from a tailgate trailer at Miami Dolphins games (www.FunkyBuddhaBrewery.com; 954-440-0046). -        Swank Southern Kitchen, Davie. Another source of southern staples, patrons can order such specialties as fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits. Straight from the smoker come ribs, pork and beer can chicken (www.SwankSouthern.com; 954-727-5497). FRESH FROM THE SEA -        Blue Moon Fish Company. A chic waterfront restaurant located on the Intracoastal Waterway in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Blue Moon has been serving true Floridian flavors with Louisiana, Cajun infusion for more than 16 years. With a Deco-inspired exterior and contemporary American menu, Blue Moon is known as Greater Fort Lauderdale's "freshest seafood by the waterway," and has been named "Best Waterfront Dining in Fort Lauderdale" by Zagat and OpenTable. (www.bluemoonfishco.com; 954-267-9888) -        Coconuts Grill and GB Oyster Bar. The epitome of dock and dining in Greater Fort Lauderdale, this casual seafood spot, located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway, with docking space for boats, serves some of the freshest seafood in town. Perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset over the "Venice of America" skyline. (www.coconutsbahamagrill.com; 954-525-2421) -        S3 or Sun Surf Sand. Gorgeous beachfront vistas serve as the backdrop for seafood, sushi and steaks in this casually sophisticated, restaurant at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Like sister restaurant YOLO, it's perfect for dining or private events. (www.S3Restaurant.com; 954-523-7873). -        Lobster Bar Sea Grille. The newest concept of nationally acclaimed restaurateur Pano Karatassos, featuring seafood and lobster with a simple, yet elegant flair. Prime steaks, a raw bar, crudo section, and cocktail lounge complement the restaurant's contemporary vibe and nautical furnishings including three custom-made crystal-and-steel chandeliers reminiscent of lighthouse lanterns weighing more than 1,300 pounds each. (www.lobsterbarseagrille.com; 954-772-2675) BURGERS , BBQ & JAW DROPPING SANDWICHES -        LaSpada's has been feeding South Florida since 1973, but the story really began in Chester, PA. where hoagies originated. Hero-worshipers will respect the intricate game of catch played by staff tossing meats and cheeses across an eight-foot counter. Entertaining and efficient, the long lines at this popular sub shop move quickly keeping people coming back in droves. Locations in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Davie and Coral Springs. (www.laspadashoagies.com; 954-776-7893) -        Charm City Burger Company, Deerfield Beach. A quintessential hole-in-the-wall burger joint, order up the award-winning The Big Sloppy - then layer on "Hook-Ups" like thick cut peppered bacon, a fried egg or seared foie gras (www.CharmCityBurgers.com; 954-531-0300) -        Can you pass the "Le Tub" test? Get both sides of the bun and the absurdly thick - and decidedly delicious - burger in your mouth in one bite, and you've passed with flying colors. This quirky burger spot located right on the Intracoastal Waterway that got its name from the funky décor, claw-foot bathtubs and hand-painted sinks scattered about. Locals favor this famous eatery and GQ magazine ranks it home to the best burger in the country. (www.theletub.com; 954-921-9425) -        Tom Jenkins Bar-B-Q, Fort Lauderdale. Some say South Florida isn't "southern." One bite of chopped beef or pork or the chicken and ribs coated in a savory tangy-sweet homemade sauce will win converts. Sides include cole slaw, mac n cheese, hush puppies, even collard greens and baked beans. Tom's doin' the South proud (www.TomJenkinsBBQ.net; 954-522-5046). -        Primanti Brothers. A Pittsburgh fav with three Greater Fort Lauderdale locations, the one near Fort Lauderdale beach is open 24 hours - and is rumored to be the busiest pizza joint in the U.S. per square foot. French fries are stacked high inside the sandwiches, which are the real star at this family-owned establishment. (www.PrimantiBros.com; 954-565-0605). ### Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} Fri, 20 Dec 2013 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fork-Lauderdale-Gustatory-Gems-Deliver-a-Dining-Delight/1217/0/ Greater Fort Lauderdale Superior Small Lodgings Big Hit with Travelers Far and Wide http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Superior-Small-Lodgings-Big-Hit-with-Travelers-Far-and-Wide-/1216/0/ 800x600 Small lodgings deliver superior stays in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The Superior Small Lodging program epitomizes the personalized "mom and pop"-style hotel experience - and has attracted more than 60 properties from Hollywood through Deerfield Beach. Launched in Fort Lauderdale in 1989, the Superior Small Lodging initiative has grown statewide.For good reason. The voluntary program encourages owners and managers of properties with fewer than 50 rooms to agree to annual comprehensive and independent reviews of public spaces, guest accommodations, bathrooms and bathroom supplies, kitchens, and property exterior.The Superior Small Lodging collection is ideal for travelers who prefer to stay at properties featuring personalized service and individual character in an intimate retreat."It's the perfect fit for vacationers who want unique accommodations, and hoteliers who promise a more quaint vacation experience," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "What debuted two decades ago as a way to showcase our smaller properties today is the standard for quality small lodging in Greater Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida."The charm of many of the boutique-style properties is apparent from their names, like the Angelfish Inn, Bougainvillea on the Beach, Pelican Place or Pineapple Point. Whether boutique hotels, villa homes, apartments and suites, many feature European, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Polynesia or authentic South Florida architectural styles. Some cater to LGBT vacationers; some are clothing optional, others pet friendly. Most are within a walk or drive from the beach, parks and golf courses, restaurants, shops or cultural venues.The allure of the Superior Small Lodging program goes beyond the commitment to well-maintained accommodations. Properties often provide a level of personalized service unavailable at larger properties. Owners, many of whom were once vacationers themselves, interact with guests and become longtime friends. Some may feature weekly BBQs or gatherings, afternoon poolside cocktails, or morning coffee beneath palm trees and surrounded by tropical gardens.Another program, the Donal A. Dermody White Glove Award for best housekeeping practices, each year recognizes those properties that score 100% during an independent housekeeping inspection. In 2013, 50 hotels and inns were members of the "100% Club." In all, Greater Fort Lauderdale's 62 Superior Small Lodgings averaged a score of 97% during housekeeping inspections. Together, the Superior Small Lodging designation and the White Glove Award ensure quality, comfort, personalized service and affordable prices - often in a delightful and intimate setting.Superior Small Lodgings in Greater Fort Lauderdale currently can be found in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach and Hallandale Beach. For more information about Superior Small Lodgings in Greater Fort Lauderdale, visit www.sunny.org/SSL.  ### Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} Thu, 19 Dec 2013 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-Superior-Small-Lodgings-Big-Hit-with-Travelers-Far-and-Wide-/1216/0/ Story Ideas http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Story-Ideas/1145/0/ Tue, 08 Jan 2013 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Story-Ideas/1145/0/ Water Works: Top Ten Ways to Make a Splash http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Water-Works-Top-Ten-Ways-to-Make-a-Splash/417/0/ Greater Fort Lauderdale, the "Venice of America" and "Yachting Capital of the World" is all about enjoying the water. Whether you want to float on top of it, swim through it or dive under it, there's no better place to "make a splash" than Greater Fort Lauderdale. Following are the Top Ten Ways to Enjoy the Water in Greater Fort Lauderdale, from the area's 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches to the 300 miles of inland waterways and beyond. 10) "Come Sail Away..." - As home to the largest International Boat Show each fall and with 80% of all yachts in the world bought and sold in Greater Fort Lauderdale, it ranks among the top boating destinations. From 200-foot super-yachts to speed boats and classic sailboats, an estimated 42,000 yachts call Greater Fort Lauderdale home, and many of them are available for rent or charter. Visitors can choose to join a sightseeing excursion, rent a small sailboat or powerboat by the hour or day or hire a captain and crew for a multi-day cruise of the Intracoastal Waterway. Visit www.sunny.org for a complete listing of boating opportunities. 9) The (Water) Taxi Stops Here - The easiest way to get on the waterways and explore is via Greater Fort Lauderdale's Water Taxi service. In addition to getting where you want to go in style, every trip includes an entertaining narrative from the Water Taxi captains, touching on everything from local legends to celebrity dish. It also provides an opportunity see some of the most magnificent waterfront mansions and mega yachts in South Florida. A moonlit water taxi ride makes for a romantic pre-dinner excursion en route to downtown Fort Lauderdale's acclaimed restaurant scene. Visit www.watertaxi.com for schedules and additional information. 8) Exploring for the "Jet Set" - Nothing is more exhilarating than speeding across the water on a jet ski made for two. Whether you're zipping through the ocean or on the area's meandering waterways, it's the best way to see...and be seen. There are a number of watersports operators that offer hourly jet ski rentals, as well as RocketMan, a jet propelled jetpack that will make anyone feel like Superman. Visit www.sunny.org for a list of watersports operators. 7) Hover Three Inches Above the Water: Airboat Rides in the Everglades - Alligators may not be as romantic as a leisurely gondola ride, but they have their own special charm...especially when safely viewed from an airboat on the Everglades, one of America's most treasured natural resources. There are several operators in Greater Fort Lauderdale that offer propeller-driven airboat tours that travel as fast as 35 miles per hour as they explore one of the world's most mysterious and fascinating ecosystems. In addition to alligators and other reptiles, including the ornery crocodile, there's the opportunity to marvel at South Florida's exotic flora and fauna. Visit www.sunny.org/nature for a complete list. 6) Explore via Oar: Paddling Around Greater Fort Lauderdale - With 300+ miles of Intracoastal Waterway, inland lakes, rivers and creeks, and 23 miles of scenic coastline as a playground, nothing on the water is more fun than a kayak, canoe or paddleboard expedition. Paddle past mega-yachts and up the New River, slip through the mangrove swamps along the Waterway or hug the shoreline, going from beach to beach. Many companies in the area offer lessons, rentals, excursions, even themed paddling itineraries, including moonlight outings. Visit www.sunny.org for a full listing. 5) Reel Fun: Catching the Big Fish - In Greater Fort Lauderdale, anglers and fishing enthusiasts can hit the ocean for some big game sports fishing or enjoy a day of fresh water fishing in the Everglades. It's an activity that can be fun and relaxing, and it's a great activity for groups or the whole family. There are a number of charters that offer half or full day trips on the ocean, where you can fish for marlin, tuna, dolphin fish - even sharks! The International Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum is a great place to start, especially for beginners. Try your hand at a virtual fishing experience or find out where to find the fishing hotspots. Visit www.igfa.org or www.sunny.org for a list of fishing boat charter operators. 4) "Dive Right In" - Greater Fort Lauderdale is known around the world as one of North America's premier Scuba diving destinations, featuring a multi-tiered natural reef system stretching almost 70 miles and more than 80 wrecks and artificial reefs, some as close as 100 yards offshore. Whether you're a beginner - dozens of dive shops offer lessons - or an expert, it won't take long to discover why the destination is tops for diving. Visit www.sunny.org/scuba for more information and a list of dive operators. 3) "Diving Light": Snorkeling the Reefs - Scuba diving is not for everyone but there's hardly a person alive who wouldn't enjoy the incredible beauty and variety of marine life in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Snorkeling requires no training and almost no equipment; a mask and snorkel will do; flippers help for speed and buoyancy. Explore on your own or take a guided tour of some of Greater Fort Lauderdale's best coral reefs. Visit www.sunny.org/scuba for a full list of dive operators. 2) Ocean Exploration...Just for Kids -Available through many hotels and resorts in Greater Fort Lauderdale, "Funky Fish Kids Day" is a fun and educational way for children to celebrate the destination's water-driven environments. Snorkeling lessons and expeditions, shallow ocean treasure dives, a "liquid playground," scuba camp, and daily coral reef excursions for kids and parents are just a few of the available activities. Customized group programs, birthday parties and other special activities, including a "Beach Hotel Sleepover" package, also are available. Visit www.funkyfishkidsday.com. 1) Swim - Greater Fort Lauderdale's 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches beckon you to jump right in. Swim, paddle, splash, or float. Lie on the beach to heat up, then jump back in to cool off. Go up to the knees or up to the neck. Let gentle waves lap at the feet or catch a wave and ride it to shore. In Greater Fort Lauderdale, "You're in good sands!" ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork' Lauderdale and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Mon, 31 Dec 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Water-Works-Top-Ten-Ways-to-Make-a-Splash/417/0/ Pineapple Salt Loofahs and Chamomile Scrubs http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Pineapple-Salt-Loofahs-and-Chamomile-Scrubs/616/0/ For those seeking serenity, relaxation and revitalization, Greater Fort Lauderdale offers an impressive choice of day, resort and destinations spa opportunities.  The concept of spa as a total wellness experience rejuvenating mind, body and spirit has long been embraced by the community, evidenced by the wide variety of spas available to residents and visitors of Greater Fort Lauderdale, ranging from upscale, European-style establishments to sites offering a more holistic approach.  Following are just a few samples of new and recently renovated spas wowing clientele from around the world: The Spa at Harbor Beach at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale was built at a cost of $8-million.  The 24,000-square-foot spa is a luxurious refuge from the outside world, a quiet haven designed to pamper and impress.  Treatments are inspired by centuries-old European knowledge and the legendary marine therapies of Brittany on the French coast, with a focus on the healing properties of water.  Signature services include massages on the spa's terrace or the beach, beneath Arabian-style cloth cabanas, and key lime- and orange blossom-infused treatments.  In addition to a fully-equipped cardiovascular/weight training room with spectacular views of the ocean, the facility includes 18 treatment rooms; salon; separate men's and women's locker rooms with steam, sauna and whirlpool; private, outdoor pool; boutique and restaurant.  A variety of fitness classes, ranging from Yoga to water aerobics, are also offered daily. Included in the menu of services are Ayurveda and Hydrotherapy, traditional massage, including Swedish and Shiatsu, plus more contemporary techniques such as Reiki and Warm Stone Therapy.  There is even a Ninth Moon Massage specifically designed for expectant mothers.  Pampering extras include chamomile-infused ice towels, Tara-heated neck pillows, personal CD players, E Lix R tonics and facial mists and fragrant foot powders.  Daily membership, which is waived with the purchase of any 50-minute spa treatment, includes use of the locker rooms, unlimited classes and access to the cardiovascular weight training room for $25 per person.  Visitors can call 866- 3030-SPA or log onto www.marriottharborbeach.com for spa reservations. A favorite of area guests, the recently reflagged Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston has a 48,000 square-foot spa (2nd-largest in Florida) provides peace and tranquility with 30 treatment rooms, a Zen Garden, Pilates studio, full service salon, private outdoor pool, men and women’s locker rooms, and 24-hour fitness center. For spa reservations or more information, call (954) 389-3300 or log onto www.bonaventureresortandspa.com. The recently renovated Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale features a soothing sanctuary of wellness and healing offering massages, body treatments, skin care, and a beauty salon.  A full-service spa inspired by indigenous cultures and natural elements, Spa 66 is a place that guests turn to in an effort to retreat and revitalize from daily demands. Returning to the true definition of spa, “sanitas per aquas,” Latin for “healing by waters,” treatments and services incorporate the principles of hydrating the body to promote wellness and renewal. For spa reservations or more information, call (954) 525-6666 or log onto http://pier66.hyatt.com. The Ocean Sands Resort & Spa has reopened after the completion of a major renovation and expansion program.  The full-service oceanfront health and fitness spa and hotel features 89 guestrooms and an extensive menu of spa and salon services and fitness programs in a new Pompano Beach building.  Highlights of the Spa include seven treatment rooms, two Vichy showers and a hydrotherapy tub facility, as well as two outdoor heated pools. The staff represents experts in ten different kinds of therapeutic massage, facials, body wraps, manicures, pedicures, hair coloring and styling.  For more information, call (954) 590-1000, or log onto www.theoceansandsresortandspa.com. The 63-room Regency House Natural Health Spa in Hallandale Beach is a holistic health and living center that is geared to helping people lose weight and minimize body fat.  The program is based on a high quality, vegetarian diet combined with stress management and behavior modification, including consistent aerobic exercise.  The Regency takes pride in teaching guests how to build and maintain high-level health and thinner body image, especially when they return to their regular lives.  Facilities at the beachfront resort include a gym, massage rooms, body center, outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and sauna.  The spa provides shopping and cooking classes, work out programs, a basic training boot camp, evening dance classes, yoga, meditation classes, aerobics, health and nutrition lectures and three meals a day. For more information, call 800-454-0003 or log onto www.regencyhealthspa.com.   Spa Atlantic, at The Atlantic Hotel, Fort Lauderdale, offers an exclusive spa experience dedicated to providing expert service and luxurious surroundings for guests seeking balance and vitality. The full-service spa and fitness center is inspired by the flora & fauna found throughout South Florida. The Spa provides expertise, encouragement and a unique selection of services created from The Garden, from The Grove and from The Sea; to provide guests with a comprehensive range of massages and spa treatments to promote relaxation, invigoration and renewal.  Spa Atlantic offers a number of massage therapies, including couples massages and massages for expecting mothers. The Spa also offers body treatments and baths using products native to South Florida as well as skin and nail treatments and services.  For reservations call (954) 567-8020 or log onto www.preferredhotels.com. Spa Q at the newly completed, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, offers a spirit of elegance that is personalized for each guest.  The 7,000 sq.-ft., full-service European spa center is designed to indulge and fulfill the needs and desires of all guests. Treatments can be performed at the spa or in-suite. Spa services include facials, massage, body scrubs and wraps, as well as salon services such as manicures and pedicures.  In addition, papering can continue with bath butlers offering in-suite bath services.  The fitness center also offers a variety of the latest Precor equipment and programs including cardio-vascular, yoga, aerobics, aqua aerobics, beach boot camp, stretch-and-tone and tai chi. For resort information call (954) 760-7177 or visit www.fortlauderdalebeachresort.hilton.com. The Spa at Lago Mar, which opened in spring 2002, brings an environment of contemporary European elegance to the Fort Lauderdale beachfront.  Located at the Lago Mar Resort and Club, the full-service facility features an array of body wraps, deep tissue and aromatherapy massages plus facials and pedicures.  For those looking to tone as well as relax their muscles, an exercise facility provides the most current Cybex equipment, including treadmills, cycles, cardiovascular and strength equipment.  Additional highlights include men's and women's locker rooms with private steam rooms, four treatment rooms, a relaxation room and spa boutique.  For more information, call 877-524-6627 or log onto www.lagomar.com. The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, offers individual spa suites with showers, private alfresco massage areas on the tropical pool deck and spa services designed exclusively for Ritz-Carlton by Sundãri, the botanical-rich skincare line from India. Therapeutic body scrubs such as Gotu Kola & Walnut Body Scrub and Neem & Date Seed Healing Body Scrub, as well as intuitive spa experiences such as Holistic Healing Ritual, Royal Treatment and Fit for King offer intensive rejuvenation for the tired and stressed out traveler. The 8,000-square-foot spa includes ten treatment rooms and a sun-drenched modern exercise studio offers yoga, spinning and aerobics sessions seasonally.  For more information call (954) 465-2300 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/fortlauderdale. The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood features The Spa at The Diplomat in a truly elegant and serene country club setting.  Natural light floods the 30,000-square-foot, Mediterranean-inspired facility, which encompasses two floors, richly appointed with marble and natural wood accents.  For guests staying on property, a sky walkway provides direct access to the spa, eliminating the need to walk through the lobby.  The lavish, garden courtyard ambience is evident throughout, from the complete fitness facilities and salon to the private outdoor pool and luxurious locker areas, featuring separate men's and women's lounges with saunas, steam rooms and patios. The Diplomat stresses healthy nutrition through consultation and cuisine, a good fitness program, psychological well-being and proper care of the face and body.  More than 20 treatments, from reflexology and aromatherapy to Kurs and chamomile scrubs, are given in 17 private treatment rooms.  There are several double rooms ideal for couples and friends to experience treatments together, four VIP rooms with private entrances and hydro-tubs and two rooms with wet tables and stand up Vichy showers.  Aerobics classes and personal training sessions are also available.  For spa reservations or more information, visitors can call (954) 602-6000 or log onto www.westin.com/diplomat. ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork’ Lauderdale, and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Sun, 02 Dec 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Pineapple-Salt-Loofahs-and-Chamomile-Scrubs/616/0/ Explore Greater Fort Lauderdale's Nature by Night http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Explore-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-s-Nature-by-Night/581/0/ Looking for nighttime activity that's out of the ordinary?  There are many ways to play after-hours in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Night owls and nature enthusiast can meet the world's oldest living creatures, listen to the exchange of Indian legends by the campfire or spot nocturnal sea life on the ocean floor. Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to such a unique natural landscape, diverse flora and fauna, rare ecosystems and sixty-nine miles of natural reef. "There is no better place to experience the Everglades, glide through a remarkable system of waterways and explore underwater secrets than in Greater Fort Lauderdale," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Few vacation destinations can match our natural wonders and, when the lights go out, the real fun begins." Top nighttime adventures in Greater Fort Lauderdale include: Get Out of Your Shell with Sea Turtles… Each May through October; sea turtles begin their ancient ritual of crawling onto Fort Lauderdale's pristine moonlit beaches to nest. Visitors can witness this natural wonder on guided nighttime turtle walks, and get a front-row view of giant endangered loggerheads, as well as leatherback and green turtles laying their eggs.  The "Moonlight Sea Turtle Walks" offered by the Museum of Discovery and Science begin at the museum at 9 p.m. during June and July with an informative, hands-on session about land, fresh-water and salt-water turtles. Visit www.mods.org for a list of scheduled dates. Discover the Waterways By Moonlight… Greater Fort Lauderdale is not called the "Venice of America" for nothing! More than 300 miles of navigable waterways and an average air temperature of 77 degrees make Fort Lauderdale a prime location for kayaking day and night. A hidden jewel for kayakers is West Lake Park, a coastal mangrove wetland, part of Anne Kolb Nature center in Hollywood. West Lake is one of the last pristine areas located in an urban area. No motorized boats are permitted here, so it's a kayaker's dream. Full Moon Kayak offers guided tours by the light of the silvery moon once a month. Paddle by fish, crabs, wading and shore birds and birds of prey. On the tour, take a break and enjoy the company of fellow paddlers over a glass of wine and snacks provided by the guides. www.fullmoonkayak.com Live Like a Seminole Indian…The Seminole Indians of Greater Fort Lauderdale invite travelers to "Spend a Day with a Seminole." During this overnight program offered at Billie Swamp Safari within the Big Cypress Reservation, visitors enjoy round-the-campfire Indian folklore storytelling and even sleep in an authentic Chickee hut. The Seminoles are the only Native American tribe who allow tourists to stay in such traditional-style dwellings on their reservation. The overnight package also includes a snake and alligator show and a nighttime swamp buggy eco-tour. www.semtribe.com/safari Eco-Tour Under the Stars…Travelers that want to experience the mysterious Everglades by night but don't want to rough it, can also have a nocturnal wildlife adventure on an evening swamp buggy eco-tour at Billie Swamp Safari. Hear the sounds and calls of the wild and see animals from around the world that share this wildlife preserve including alligators, crocodiles, antelope, bison, snakes and countless species of birds. Don't be surprised when the searchlight picks up glints of yellow, green and orange; those are just the eyes of reptiles and wildlife reflecting back at visitors! Exotic flora and fauna indigenous to the protected Everglades can also be witnessed. www.semtribe.com/safari Dive the Underwater World by Night... Fort Lauderdale has exciting diving spots by day, which is a completely different world by night. A whole new cast of underwater characters come out when the sun goes down.  Most of the fish seen during the day hide away to sleep and many that can't be found during the day can be seen all over the reef. Nighttime is the best time to see crabs, lobsters and shrimp going about their business. Deep Relief Dive Charters offer evening dives that depart at 6:30 p.m. and can accommodate large and small groups as well as private charters. Visit some of the best diving destinations in Greater Fort Lauderdale, including the Pompano drop-off, a beautiful area that has one of the most spectacular reefs in South Florida consisting of a large flat mass of rocks and reefs that stretch from Fort Lauderdale to the Pompano Pier with depths ranging from about 12 to 35 feet.  For more information about nocturnal adventures in Greater Fort Lauderdale visit www.sunny.org. ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork’ Lauderdale, and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Sat, 01 Dec 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Explore-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale-s-Nature-by-Night/581/0/ Lauderdale Convention Collection Offers One-Stop Planning http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Lauderdale-Convention-Collection-Offers-One-Stop-Planning/980/0/ Greater Fort Lauderdale is raising the bar for major meetings with the introduction of an innovative concept called the "Lauderdale Convention Collection."  The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau's (GFLCVB) "SUNsational Service Team has joined forces with six leading, upscale hotels (all within a mile and a half of the Broward County Convention Center) to accommodate groups of up to 2,700 rooms in a single, unified convention experience while providing one-stop planning assistance. In addition to accommodations and hotel facilities, planners can take advantage of special savings through the Convention Collection program that include complimentary meeting and event space at the convention center, complimentary one-hour Board of Directors and Convention Welcome receptions, commemorative gifts from local suppliers, and a 10 percent discount on such services as food and beverage, electric, audio/visual, internet and security staffing. "By creating a single hospitality experience for large groups, the "Lauderdale Convention Collection" puts Greater Fort Lauderdale ahead of the game in attracting national and international meetings, conventions, exhibitions and special events," said Nicki E. Grossman, the CVB's president. "This is a win-win concept for convention planners and their clients as well as for the convention center, the hotels, and the entire tourism industry of Greater Fort Lauderdale." The six hotels participating in the Collection include the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, The Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel, The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, and the Fort Lauderdale Embassy Suites. Speaking for the group, Carlos Molinet, general manager of the Fort Lauderdale Marina, noted: "The Convention Collection is a tremendous asset because together and individually the hotels can attract business they otherwise would be unable to accommodate. At the same time, by offering a distinctive, highly appealing convention experience to the largest groups, the stature of Greater Fort Lauderdale as a major meetings destination is strongly enhanced." Offeringa total of 2,700 rooms with beach or Intracoastal Waterway views, the Collection hotels provide easy access not only to the convention center itself but to all of Fort Lauderdale's unique venues, cultural and sports attractions and facilities, restaurants and nightlife. Equally important, by working with the GFLCVB's SUNsational Service team, planners can get assistance in confirming availability of accommodations, planning site visits, creating a comprehensive proposal, coordinating transportation and vendors and marketing in order to maximize attendance. Adding to the efficiency and ease of planning is the assignment of a single, consistent contact at the GFLCVB for each group. Recognizing the significant potential benefits of the Collection, the GFLCVB is implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy to maximize awareness of the nation's meeting planners. In addition to ongoing public relations initiatives, a brochure and dedicated web page have been developed and the Collection will be promoted at upcoming major industry events in Washington D.C. and Chicago and elsewhere, through telemarketing and email communications, and cooperative advertising. For details on booking the Broward County Convention Center and Lauderdale Convention Collection, call 800-356-1662 or visit www.sunny.org/LLC ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. he Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork’ Lauderdale, and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Sat, 01 Sep 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Lauderdale-Convention-Collection-Offers-One-Stop-Planning/980/0/ New Lauderdale Luxe Collection of Greater Fort Lauderdale http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/New-Lauderdale-Luxe-Collection-of-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale/891/0/ At a time when the recession has all but stopped hotel development, South Florida's Greater Fort Lauderdale area keeps adding new and transformed properties to its already impressive lodging industry. To showcase the destination's growing offering of deluxe category properties, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has created the Lauderdale Luxe Collection, featuring best in-market hotels and resorts.  The Lauderdale Luxe Collection includes 13 destination properties that share the common attributes of four-star, four-diamond or better ranking, full-service restaurant and on-premises spa or dedicated/contracted services.  Membership in the Lauderdale Luxe Collection is by invitation only, and many of the properties included are either new or have recently been updated.  Additionally, Greater Fort Lauderdale's luxury lodging product now has its own cyber-home: www.sunny.org/luxe. The Lauderdale Luxe microsite has dedicated categories for the hotels in the Luxe Collection; along with a section on dining and insider information on the area's finest culinary experiences, such as dockside dining along the Intracoastal Waterway.  It also includes a "pursuits" section that showcases Greater Fort Lauderdale's beyond-the-beach casual sophistication with information on spas, vibrant nightlife, high-end shopping, and more. "The launch of the new Lauderdale Luxe Collection is a sure sign to visitors we are truly a transformed beach chic hot spot," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Savvy travelers will appreciate the high-end product we now have to offer here in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Following is a rundown of Greater Fort Lauderdale's Lauderdale Luxe Collection properties: Alantic Hotel & Spa: Overlooking an endless ribbon of pristine, golden Fort Lauderdale beach, The Atlantic Hotel offers 124 deluxe guestrooms and suites, including a signature penthouse collection, and evokes the sense of an exclusive oceanfront club.  Guests can relax and indulge at the hotel's Spa Atlantic, and can enjoy dining with ocean views at East End Brasserie.  The hotel also offers 1,160 square feet of fully-wired event space, including a stylish poolside patio terrace for groups of up to 100.  The property is located moments away from world-class shopping, galleries and restaurants and offers an ideal location for beachfront relaxing. Bonaventure Resort & Spa: Located in Weston, Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center & Spa features 501 spacious, modern guestrooms, four swimming pools, multiple dining options - including the acclaimed Ireland's Steakhouse, Banyan Restaurant, Cabana Bar & Café and Bar Zen - and a state of the art conference center spanning 60,000 square feet of meeting space. Additionally, the AAA-rated Four Diamond hotel boats 48,000 square foot spa that provides guests with an unmatched experience.. Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa: Located on 16 oceanfront acres, Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is in the final stages of a $50 million renovation to celebrate its 25th anniversary.  The multimillion-dollar redesign includes the additions of a 10,000-square-foot ballroom and new restaurant, each overlooking the resort's private beach; expanded fitness facilities at The Spa at Harbor Beach, and updated décor for all 650 guestrooms and suites, most of which have private balconies. 3030 Ocean is the hotel's upscale specialty restaurant, helmed by Chef Dean James Max and offering fresh American seafood creations.  Other dining options include Riva and Sea Level Restaurant and Ocean Bar (opening 2010).  The resort also offers 40,000 square feet of flexible indoor meeting space, 20,000 square feet of outdoor oceanfront terraces and 200,000 square feet of powdery beachfront for signature events. Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort: With a spirit of elegance that is personalized for each guest, this beachfront resort features 374 well-appointed studios and suites; golf at Parkland Golf & Country Club and 10,000 square feet of meeting space. The 20,000 square foot Sunrise Terrace offers an infinity pool and private poolside cabanas. Other resort offerings include a beach concierge; indoor and outdoor spa treatments and poolside children's activities. Dining options include ilios, a Mediterranean restaurant and bar featuring Executive Chef Sean McDonald's Tapas Tasting Menu; 24 hour In Room Dining Service and Le Marche Gourmet Market & Bakery, offering Starbucks coffee, pizzas, paninis, and more. In 2010, the resort plans to welcome an additional ocean-front restaurant. Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina: Offering 589 rooms, the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina has just completed a comprehensive $70 million transformation. All public spaces were completely redesigned, including a new lobby, modernized guestrooms and suites, refurbished swimming pool and tropical deck area, as well as enhancements to the 21,000 square feet of existing meeting and event facilities. The hotel's new signature restaurant, Jeffrey Chodorow's celebrated China Grill, offers innovative Asian-inspired cuisine, while The G - a stylish lunchtime spot overlooking the hotel's 33-slip inlet marina - offers more casual fare. Guests can enjoy preferred access to Spa 66 at neighboring LXR sister property Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six and complimentary shuttle service to nearby Fort Lauderdale beach. Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Resort & Spa: Recently unveiling a $40 million renovation, the resort offers 384 stylish guestrooms and suites with a distinctive blend of casual sophistication. Enhancements include a complete redesign of the deluxe lanai rooms with retro-modern appointments; transformation of the lobby with a sleek, new bar; refurbishments to the resort's Tower guestrooms and suites; and upgrades to the three-pool waterfall oasis and lanai courtyard including the addition of cabanas and lush landscaping. The resort's 25,000 square feet of meeting space have also been updated, including the famed Pier Top, known for its 360 degree panoramic views, which was redesigned into a special occasion venue. The resort also features its 127 slip world-class marina and aquatic center. Dining options include Grille 66 & Bar offering steak and seafood, along with Pelican Landing, The Lounge, Mariners Cafe, Orchids Pool Bar and the Pier Top Brunch, voted South Florida's #1 Brunch. Lago Mar Resort & Club: The Lago Mar Resort & Club is located between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Mayan in the exclusive Harbor Beach neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale.  The hotel features 164 spacious suites and 40 oversized guestrooms, with a mix of Mediterranean and Key West influences.  Other resort amenities include a 6,000-square foot spa; a Cybex-equipped fitness center; Acquario, the resort's signature restaurant featuring Northern Italian cuisine; and a conference center offering 12,000 square feet of flexible event space. The Pillars at New River Sound: The Pillars is one of Fort Lauderdale's premier boutique hotels and the only member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World in the destination.  The hotel offers 18 beautifully appointed guestrooms and five suites, decorated with a mix of British Colonial and Island Plantation themes.  Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, The Pillars is home to The Secret Garden restaurant - an exclusive experience available only to hotel guests and select friends of the hotel -  along with contracted spa services available in-room, dockside or poolside. The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale: The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale debuted on August 11, 2008, and features 192 guest rooms and suites; 24,000 square feet of light-filled meeting space; a raised 29,000 square foot tropical sundeck with an infinity pool and private cabanas and a destination Spa with an 8,500 square foot, water view fitness center.  Four dining and entertainment options include  three-meal-a-day restaurant with seating indoors or al fresco on an ocean-view patio, a picturesque oceanfront Lobby Bar, a dramatic Wine Room with a 5,000 bottle wine cellar and rare Scotch collection, and a seventh floor Pool Bar with commanding ocean views. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: Located in Hollywood, Florida, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino affords guests the opportunity to play, stay, dine, and shop.  The Green Lodging Certified, AAA, Four Diamond-rated resort showcases 500 luxurious guest rooms, 16 restaurants and lounges, 40,000-square-feet of meeting room space, a European-style spa, auto salon, 22 retail shops, 14 nightclubs, Paradise Live, and Hard Rock Live.  The property's casino features eighty-seven tables offering Blackjack, Baccarat, Pai-Gow, Three Card and Texas Hold'em Poker and Vegas-style slots. W Fort Lauderdale:  The first W Hotel in Florida, the $205 million hotel opened its doors on April 30, 2009, and is located on a 4.5-acre site offering dramatic views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway. Amenities include W Hotel's Whatever/Whenever services, a signature Stephen Starr gourmet restaurant- Steak 954, an inviting Living Room lobby, Whiskey Blue bar, a state-of-the-art SWEAT® fitness center, the renowned Bliss® Spa, and a one-of-a-kind oceanfront infinity-edge pool. In addition, the W Fort Lauderdale boasts 12,400 square feet of meeting and event space including Sensory® Set Up. The Westin Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale:  Recently re-opened after completing the first phase of a multi-million dollar rebirth, the resort's 433 spacious guestrooms and suites have been designed to restore mind and body in a prime oceanfront setting. Resort offerings include an alluring Heavenly Spa by WestinTM, beachfront Starbucks bistro, and the signature restaurant, Shula's on the Beach, which also received a new look. The resort provides more than 32,000 square feet of flexible event space, including two ballrooms and a rooftop deck with more than 5,500 square feet of space and inspiring Atlantic Ocean views. The resort's final phase of renovations will be completed by December 2009. The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa: The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa: A premiere beachfront destination with 1,058 guestrooms, The Westin Diplomat Resort offers ocean, Intracoastal or golf course views. The resort offers a luxurious getaway in Hollywood, Florida with world-class amenities including two beachfront pools with private cabanas, water sports, marinas, a 72-par golf course managed by Troon Golf, tennis courts and a full-service Spa at The Diplomat.  Dining options include fine seafood and steakhouse cuisine at Hollywood Prime; Aizia offers playful traditional Asian cuisine; and BarSu brings together the freshest Sushi Bar and unique libations. The Café opens early for breakfast and lunch, while beachfront dining is a South Florida must at Splash Grill & Bar. At Rivals Waterfront Sports Grille, you may go for your favorite team but you'll be sure to stay for the food. For meetings, the resort's convention center boasts over 209,000-square feet of flexible space along with ample outdoor options. For more information on the Lauderdale Luxe Collection, please visit www.sunny.org/luxe.   ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork’ Lauderdale, and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Tue, 01 May 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/New-Lauderdale-Luxe-Collection-of-Greater-Fort-Lauderdale/891/0/ Kid Lauderdale: Year-Round Kid-Proof, Parent-Approved http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Kid-Lauderdale-Year-Round-Kid-Proof-Parent-Approved/1071/0/ Whether your kids can be a handful or you've got a handful of kids, Greater Fort Lauderdale has kid-friendly activities to keep them active and entertained. Kids of all ages, and their parents too, can take in the sun and relax along the 23 miles of certified Blue Wave Beaches. For an extended look into nature or an up close-and-personal experience into the wild, Billie Swamp Safari, located on the Seminole Indian Big Cypress Reservation, offers daily Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours and Airboat Adventure Tours covering 2,200 acres of native and exotic wildlife. Enjoy a Swamp Critter Show, dine in the Swamp Water Café and shop for souvenirs and authentic Seminole arts and crafts.   Abundant wildlife can still be found after dark with Gator Night tours.  Climb aboard a powerful airboat at Sawgrass Recreation Park and venture into the night seeking out Florida's legendary reptile, The American Alligator. Sneak through the everglades and explore the sights and sounds of these nocturnal giants. Butterfly World and Flamingo Gardens offer experiences on the softer side for nature lovers who might be timid. Butterfly World gives visitors the freedom to walk among thousands of exotic butterflies and free flying birds in the Tropical Rain Forest Aviary. Flamingo Gardens, offers daily live wildlife encounters, and guided tours of the historic 1930s Wray Home.  Kids of all ages can be part of the action at the Museum of Discovery and Science and partake in dynamic hands-on exhibits. Furthermore, ride on the Everglades Airboat Adventure, enjoy the playful antics of river otters, experience hurricane force winds in the Storm Center, or dig for fossils alongside a giant megalodon shark all indoors at the museums EcoDiscovery Center. Families are also sure to love the unique and varied activities, classes and attractions at Funderdome, an indoor, activity-based, family entertainment center that integrates state-of-the-art, interactive play systems in an exciting and weather-independent environment. Parents can either relax in the Café while the kids get their energy out, use Wi-Fi, catch the big game on TV or play along and become "big kids" themselves.  Kids looking to make a splash can be dropped off at the ocean adventure camp Funky Fish Kids Day. Children can learn how to snorkel in the pool, dive for shells in the shallow ocean, catch a wave on a boogie board, slide along the shoreline on a skim board, make a tie-dye t-shirt and create cool ocean art. If they'd rather ride the tide, have the kids learn to Surf, Stand Up Paddle Board and Skim Board for free every Saturday morning from 7 am till 9 am with qualified instructors from Island Water Sports on Deerfield Beach.    The Fort Lauderdale Duck Tours offers eye opening 90-minute narrated by entertaining guides. Cruise both land and sea including the landmark Fort Lauderdale strip, quaint Las Olas Boulevard, historical districts and the mansions and yachts dotting Millionaire's Row.  Families can make their own tour and opt to set sail on along Fort Lauderdale's 300 glistening miles of inland waterways.  Head to the beach, shop and walk Las Olas Boulevard, see the cruise ships at Port Everglades and enjoy dockside eateries along the route. Visitors can also explore nearby Hollywood with the expanded Water Taxi service. Kid-friendly hotels with amenities to match can be found throughout the destination.  After a long day of fun and sun, Lago Mar Resort & Club will cool things down with an ice cream soda at the resort's Soda Shop, which doubles as a bakery and ice-cream parlor.  Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa's Surf Club is the resort's free-standing clubhouse featuring a Hawaiian Surf Simulator, allowing one to four children at a time to "surf" the waves, a theater room with stadium seating, a 65-inch plasma television over a stage and over-sized bean bag chairs, as well as a media room with four Macs, two additional televisions and two Xbox 360s. Another notable hotel for families is the Pelican Grand Beach Resort which offers oceanfront accommodations with kid-friendly resort features including a Lazy River tubing ride and "The Emporium," an old-fashioned ice cream parlor for those who have a sweet tooth.  If adventure is the ingredient of choice for a dining experience, end the day and start the evening at Mai-Kai restaurant. Savor exotic Polynesian cuisine and sip on a tropical drink while enjoying an interactive floor show sure that is fun for the entire family.  Whether families are looking for an educational destination, an energy-filled adventure or relaxing in the sun, look no further than Greater Fort Lauderdale and visit www.sunny.org/kidlauderdale to plan a trip.  ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. he Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork’ Lauderdale, and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Sun, 01 Apr 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Kid-Lauderdale-Year-Round-Kid-Proof-Parent-Approved/1071/0/ LauderLove: Let's Get Hitched Where It's Sunny(.Org) http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/LauderLove-Let-s-Get-Hitched-Where-It-s-Sunny-Org-/1082/0/   Brides and grooms looking for their "something blue" can easily find it in the skies and waters of Greater Fort Lauderdale. This is a destination where romance is intrinsic in the swaying palms, the awe-inspiring sunsets and settings that give couples a true sense of sunny. When it comes to weddings, from planning the nuptials to the after ‘I Do,' the destination's FREE LauderLove program is the ultimate wedding planning resource for making the trip down the aisle a smooth one. It's all about the love for the LauderLove Ambassador of Bliss, who is available to assist in planning the perfect wedding with insider tips and valuable advice. Recently ranked in TripAdvisor's 2012 Travelers' Choice Top 10 Beach Destinations in the United States, and with an average temperature of 77 degrees anfd an estimated 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, Greater Fort Lauderdale is ideal for year-round ‘I Dos.' Couples who think casual chic is the way to go can choose to say their vows in a luxurious hotel or barefoot in the sand along 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches (*Note to Editor: Fort Lauderdale beach does not require a permit). Brides and grooms can walk down an aisle set in a romantic garden or in a natural tropical setting like Butterfly World, with thousands of butterflies fluttering about to set the tone. An elegant yacht sailing along the 300 miles of navigable waterways or an under-the-sea ceremony surrounded by some 300 species of fish as witnesses is made for couples with water-wanderlust. Make it a picture-perfect wedding at one of the area museums like the Museum of Art ¦Fort Lauderdale, featuring intimate spaces surrounded by pops of color and masterful works of art.   Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau's dedicated Ambassador of Bliss, is full of creative ideas for venue selection and much more. She has all the answers when it comes to wedding vendors and services and is at the ready to help with hotel room blocks, transportation, and vendor recommendations. Looking to make it a multi-day event with rehearsal dinners, golf outings and spa treatments? The Ambassador of Bliss can assist with all that. There is no request, big or small, that won't be met by a smile. Contact via email at AmbassadorofBliss@broward.org, or by filling out the LauderLove Wedding Form online at www.sunny.orfg/weddings/rfp.   Getting a marriage license in Greater Fort Lauderdale is stress-free even for non-residents. Florida's three-day waiting period can be waived by attending a four-hour marriage preparation class so the fun of the wedding and honeymoon can begin almost immediately. Couples just need to show up in person with photo ID at the Clerk of Courts Office (and other locations) for the marriage license or can pre-apply by filling out an online application www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/Clerkwebsite/Marriage/PreApp.aspx that will need to be printed and shown for immediate processing.   Greater Fort Lauderdale is the ultimate memory-maker locale for honeymoons, too, wherever the couple marries. A must for newlyweds needing to relax after the big day is time at the spa, and Greater Fort Lauderdale has an overload of pampering day or resort spas, many of which feature couples massage rooms. Newlyweds can start life together right with shopping for house or home at The Galleria mall, Village of Gulfstream Park or at boutiques along Las Olas Boulevard. They can dine in style at more than 4,000 restaurants or take in a show at the Broward Center for the Performing.   The list of must-dos keeps going with sightseeing by Water Taxi or the Jungle Queen Riverboat and gaming at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino or Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino. Couples wanting to get up close and personal with nature can spend days (and nights) in the exotic Everglades. Another honeymoon option is a cruise from Port Everglades which offers more sailings by more cruise lines than any other cruise port in the world. Add on days in Greater Fort Lauderdale pre- or post-cruise for a true land and sea adventure.   For more details on planning a wedding in Greater Fort Lauderdale or to contact the Ambassador of Bliss, visit www.sunny.org/weddings.    ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. he Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork’ Lauderdale, and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Mon, 26 Mar 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/LauderLove-Let-s-Get-Hitched-Where-It-s-Sunny-Org-/1082/0/ Underground Lauderdale: Music, Art, Fashion and Film http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Underground-Lauderdale-Music-Art-Fashion-and-Film/1061/0/   A new meaning to the underground movement surfaces in Fort Lauderdale. "Underground Lauderdale brings music, film, fashion and art," says Noelle Stevenson, Film Commissioner for the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward Office of Film & Entertainment at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.  As an indie rock music hub, Greater Fort Lauderdale has become the hang out spot to underground industry events such as the Pearl Fashion & Film Gala, I.W.A.N (Independent Working Artist Network), The Bubble, Driven Music & Art Festival, Chili Cook-Off music festival, Cajun Zydeco festival, Unifest Caribbean music festival, Dancegiving music festival. The destination is also home to international and foreign film festivals, Songwriter's Showcase, Red Eye, Dunkxchange, Art Walk, Comedy Showcase, underground music lounges and local bands performing in various live music bars throughout Broward. "It takes an individual with imagination to appreciate the unique sounds, to visualize color behind style, and to explore the evolution of art.  Creativity without the commercial end is what Underground Lauderdale is about...simply the real deal," said Noelle Stevenson, Film Commissioner, Broward Office of Film & Entertainment. Hip neighborhoods include the up and coming FAT VILLAGE, F.A.T. is trendy. F.A.T. is cool. F.A.T. is growing.  And by F.A.T., we mean Flagler Arts & Technology Village in downtown Fort Lauderdale - a new neighborhood that's seriously amping up the area's cool factor. Bordered by the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District, home to the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale and Broward Center for the Performing Arts, F.A.T. is a section of downtown Fort Lauderdale built in the 1950s of industrial warehouses that's fast becoming a magnet for emerging artists, galleries, performers, fashion and film.  For music lovers with diverse sound preferences will find a melting pot of music genres from indie to rock, from dance to country, from jazz to classical.  And if music is not enough, you can turn around the next corner and catch a great foreign film at Cinema Paradiso.  Stroll down to F.A.T Village and check out the art or fashion in one of the warehouses.  Catch a bite in the Himmarshee district before you dance the night away at Revolution Live, if you are lucky you might just even catch a concert! "F.A.T. is more than just an up-and-coming neighborhood. It's creating a Lauderdale Underground movement and exciting new energy and focus to the evolving arts, music, film and fashion scene in Greater Fort Lauderdale," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "For art enthusiasts who like their entertainment on the beach chic side, we offer a range of experiences from classical to contemporary to never-seen-before visual and performing arts." Local, national and international hipsters in-the-know already have these Lauderdale Underground events and hang out spots on their radar.  Now you can too: check out www.sunny.org/undergroundlauderdale for a complete listing. For information on hotels and accommodations while visiting Greater Fort Lauderdale, please visit our listing of film & entertainment friendly hotels at www.sunny.org/film ### About Greater Fort Lauderdale From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. he Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork’ Lauderdale, and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps. Mon, 09 Jan 2012 07:00:00 GMT http://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases/view/Underground-Lauderdale-Music-Art-Fashion-and-Film/1061/0/