How many magazines can you not read? Why even pretend you want to eat that soulless food? Spending interminable hours in a terminal in the airport is the first circle of hell (limbo, Dante’s Inferno. Google it).
But if you’re at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, you’re in luck, because there’s plenty to do. Here are some places to check out.
The Old Ghosts Collective
Browsing through the sideshow-like oddities, folk art, antiques and just plain ol’ weird stuff at this Fort Lauderdale shop is like touring the set of FX’s “American Horror Story,” especially the “Freak Show” iteration in Season 4. You can find scarred clown dolls, weathered ventriloquist dummies, ghoulish masks, Ouija boards, vintage circus banners and just about anything creepy. Speaking of creepy, owner Jackson Valiente also runs Kreepy Tiki Tattoo next door (see the next entry). The Old Ghosts Collective is located at 2608 S. Federal Highwaye. Call 305-803-9014 or go to Facebook.com/oldghostscollective.
What is a memorable trip to South Florida without a tattoo (or a piercing) to commemorate the stay?
Mrs. Johnson does all kinds of readings, including palm ($15), tarot card ($25 and $40), crystal energy ($50) and psychic ($75). There’s also a basic-personality palm reading, which doesn’t go into your love life or key dates, for $5. Psychic Reader is located at 219 N. Federal Highway, in Dania Beach. For more information or to make an appointment, call 954-839-6770 or go to DaniaPsychic.com.
This park just north of the airport’s runways has a well-attended Bark Park. There’s something truly relaxing about watching dogs romp around. For two-legged park visitors, there is a disc-golf course and a butterfly garden. If you think watching doggies evaporates stress, then try observing butterflies flit and flutter for an hour or so. Snyder Park is located at 3299 SW Fourth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-828-4585 or go to FortLauderdale.gov/Departments/Parks-Recreation/City-Parks/Snyder-Park.
Historic Art and Antique District
Just south of the airport (if the streets were more pedestrian-friendly, you could easily walk it) is a quaint little village of antique and art shops called Dania Beach’s Historic Art and Antique District. Just have your shared ride drop you off anywhere on U.S.1/Federal Highway between Northeast Third and Northwest Third streets. For more information, go to DaniaBeachChamber.org.
Of the 12 or so stores, some of our favorites places to shop for tchotchkes include:
• Tinkers for watches, jewelry and coins (33 N. Federal Highway; 954-927-6599)
As for art, do not miss the little warren of tiny galleries and artist studios in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Canterbury Square, which is located at 38 S. Federal Highway.
For many people, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as puffing away on a stogie. But just try and enjoy a cigar in the airport. It’s far better for you to take refuge in one of the nearby cigar lounges.
Holocaust Documentation and Education Center
In addition to exhibits, such as “Operation Finale – The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann” which runs Sept. 6 through March 31, the center brings in speakers for special events and lectures. Exhibit hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. General admission costs $10, while student admission costs $5. The museum also has tours available by appointment only. The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center is located at 303 N. Federal Highway, in Dania Beach. To book a tour or for more information, call 954-929-5690 or go to HDEC.org.
Ice cream and shaved ice
Here in the subtropics, keeping cool is a hot issue. A sweet way to do that is by visiting Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant (a South Florida institution that opened in 1956) and nearby Key West Shaved Ice and Dairy Belle. There’s a good chance you’ll find a line at all three places, which are across the street from one another in Dania Beach, but it’s worth it. Jaxson’s, which broke segregation rules when it opened by serving and hiring black people, has an extensive menu of savory and sweet treats. Key West Shaved Ice’s shaved ice bowls are a chilly delight, but also check out the adult slushy drinks made with fermented wine. In addition to the usual ice cream concoctions and burger, hot dog and sandwich offerings, Dairy Belle Ice Cream is famous for its poutine, that French-Canadian pub dish that makes a glutinous mix of french fries, cheese curds and gravy.
The Casino at Dania Beach
Poker, slot machines, blackjack, roulette and that sport particular to South Florida, jai alai, is all at the casino. As with Las Vegas casinos, this one has restaurants and live entertainment (concerts and comedians). Also as in Sin City, Dania Beach’s casino is open 24 hours, at least on weekends. The Casino at Dania Beach is located at 301 E. Dania Beach Blvd. Call 954-920-1511 or go to CasinoDaniaBeach.com.
Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Miami
This Russian church is not really in Miami. It’s just a few blocks south of the airport in Dania Beach. And as the website says, “All the nationalities of our region — Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Moldovans, Georgians, Serbs, Romanians, Spaniards, and, of course, Americans … unite under the arches of the temple of St. Matrona the Holy Matronus.” You can go in, pray and put a candle in front of the shrine. The temple is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Miami is located at 113 S. Federal Highway. Call 305-965-6037 or go to StMatrona.com.
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