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Fort Lauderdale – Home of the Swimming Hall of Fame
We had a purpose in travelling away from Orlando in 2004, my daughter is a keen swimmer (though no Michael Phelps), and had read about the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale. As she was keen to go, and we were keen to do something a little different, we decided we would fly into Orlando (MCO) do ALL the usual attractions in the Orlando area and then out of Miami airport, so that having made the journey South, we would not have to cut our time there short by having to travel back up to Orlando. This was indeed, very organised of us!
A few things we hadn’t entirely considered, it was SPRING BREAK, so having got to Fort Lauderdale, it just hadn’t occurred to us that we might struggle to find accommodation! We had hoped to be on the sea front, and at a reasonable price, well, if it is Spring Break, book early!! They really hike the prices at Easter time as they know young teenagers will flock to the area at this time of year. That is really something to consider if you are going to the coast during Spring Break, it was amazing to witness the amount of 16 year olds (with cars of course) that were on the beach!! And, in ALL the accommodation! Although our first choice would have been a villa, as we were only in the area for 2 nights, we found a nice motel with pool for our 2 night stay, and were ready to explore another side of Florida, other than the theme parks and entertainment offered in abundance in Orlando.
As we had gone there primarily for the Swimming Hall of Fame, we decided we would go there on a full day, the following day. One thing that was quite a draw for our daughter was the idea of swimming in the 50m outdoor pool, however, mini disaster, when we got there the pool had been taken over by some national championships for the YMCA!! Though this was a bit of a disappointment to us at first, we made the most of it! We were able to go into the stands and watch some of the swimming (quite a pleasure as it was in the glorious Florida sunshine, rather than the indoor pools we are used to back home!!
They had the traditional sales of all things swimming, which we are used to seeing at galas, but of course their sale prices were fantastic!! A few bargains were had there I can tell you!! The thing that was amazing was that my daughter was treated like royalty as some sort of visiting celebrity athlete, people were so kind and genuinely excited that we were there!! And we were given a selection of worthwhile swim related freebies too!
Parking was quite an eye opener, whereas in Orlando, everywhere you choose to go in the area, always has plenty of places to park, either free, or the standard charge for the theme park car parks. In Fort Lauderdale, finding somewhere to park was not only a huge challenge but this was expensive too! No different in truth to going to a seaside spot in England.
We spent quite some time wondering around the halls with information about past swim greats and general swimming history, it was a different experience from the usual haunts, and we were glad we went there even though we did not get to swim in the outdoor 50m, which was our main reason for going in the first place! So if you get a chance to call in while in the area, it is well worth it! And, Yet another variation to the delights of Florida!
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