Moving and Grooving

Moving and Grooving
                                                          By Lisa Quinn-Gonzalez

As Ft. Lauderdale residents, I don’t know how many of us have actually taken the Jungle Queen cruise. Kind of like native New Yorkers- how many of them have ever gone to the Statue of Liberty or the top of the Empire State Building but for a 5th grade school trip?
Well, a few Sundays back, I finally took the plunge. Taking the first afternoon cruise on a perfect early summer day, I climbed aboard the 65 year old Ft. Lauderdale tradition. Starting from A1A at Bahia Mar trekking up the New River, I got a truly interesting tour from Captain Bill; he pointed out this home and that and made notations of special historical and pop culture facts that I was unaware of  (Johnny Depp houses a couple of his yachts over at Marina Mile!) The demographics on the ship were truly varied; local families, tourists from all over the country, some couples on dates, but everyone seemed to truly be “chilled out” with the breeze blowing through their hair as they listened to a combination of the Captains talk, some lazy Sunday pop tunes and the various nautical sounds that make Ft. Lauderdale the place it is.
Halfway through our boat ride, we stopped at the Jungle Queen Indian Village, a little island that pops up like a mirage in the Tarpon River. Docking for about 45 minutes, you take a full circle walk around monkeys, colorful birds, an alligator show, some food vendors and stands selling some local crafts. If one takes the evening dinner cruise, this it where it stops for the all-you-can-eat barbecue ribs and shrimp. I was told by some past riders that the Captains on the evening cruises are truly funny and entertaining (although I thought Bill was super cool)
I was truly glad I’d done the Jungle Queen. One can’t match seeing the Venice of America from the best vantage point there is; on the water. If you are looking for something relaxing, fun, educational and unique, this Queen is someone you should meet.
Prices range from $39.95 for adults for the evening cruise and children are priced $21.75.
Adults are $17.50 for the sightseeing cruise and $12.75 for children.

Bahia Mar Yachting Center
Fort Lauderdale Beach-A1A
www.junglequeen.com
954-462-5596

 

“More than Just a boat ride” is the slogan that the Ft. Lauderdale Water Taxi prides itself on. Owned by Boston’s Best cruises, the owner William Walker, Captain Gina and Matthew Scruggs, the PR go-to man met me for a private, personal tour of a just waking up Ft Lauderdale on a recent bright, sunny weekday. Embarking on a taxi, (an 8 vessel fleet, which holds up to 70 passengers each) I learn firsthand how simple it is to embark and disembark and how convenient the time schedule is-most taxis stop at 15 minute intervals and you buy your tickets right on board! One can also buy an all day pass and hop on and off throughout the day and/or night. The Cruise, Dine, Shop and Play option, gives a rider the option to get on and off at 14 various stops and have unlimited access to all of the fleet. Each stop has a shop, restaurant and/or attraction attached to it that offers one savings of percentages off dining, 2 for 1 drink specials and other great perks.
Going green is not just a trend anymore, but a fact that all of us should begin embracing. The water taxi is a terrific option of not having to worry about your car and parking situation, in a city built on the water. Take the water taxi to Las Olas Beach, the Galleria Mall or to any of the yearly events the city has, like the annual boat show or Christmas on Las Olas without having to even think about your car.
The water taxi also holds corporate team building events like scavenger hunts. Captain Gina says those are great fun and a truly great experience for the businesses of the neighborhood. The water taxi also charters privately. What could be more synonymous of Ft. Lauderdale than getting to a snazzy event using the water? What was of true interest was the idea that the taxi has a “Whistle stop”. Along the routes of the taxi, there are stops that one can “whistle” (literally or not) and the taxi will “pull over” and transport you where you want to go along their route.
The water taxi is a true form of edutainment- a way to see and learn about the city but also, a great means of transportation.
Fares range from an all day pass for $15.00 and tickets are $7.00 after 7 pm. Visit www.watertaxi.com or call 954-467-6677 for times and schedules of stops.

 

If you are looking for a one of a kind, fun form of transportation to get around Fort Lauderdale, look no further than Oceanview Rickshaw (better known as the “pedi cabs”)  C’mon, you know you’ve seen them all around town, pedaling away. Jay Alexander, founder of Intown 411 and Oceanview Rickshaw, explains they have been “Clean and Green since 1997”. With a fleet of 55 bikes; all of the cycles go in and around the city, taking folks on tours as well as getting them to their destinations. Affiliated with the Downtown Development Authority, Alexander explains that folks can take a tour of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, check out Beach Place, Shooter’s Waterfront Cafe or just glide up and down Las Olas Boulevard. Tours can last 30 minutes or an hour. The cabs even take cruise ship passengers around and about. Drivers are all independent contractors and usually charge either by passenger, distance or time; but certain events and time of day can affect costs.  All rides end with a free walking map of Downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Hopping on the “green” bandwagon, the pedi cab is a practical, pleasurable way of getting around; all while saving the air some carbon dioxide!
www.intown411.com
www.oceanviewrickshaw.com
954-561-2808