Located in Broward County along Florida’s southern Atlantic coast, Cooper City sits just inland from some of the area’s most well-known beach towns, like Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood.
Cooper City was founded in 1959, and at just 28,500 residents, is one of the smaller cities in the Miami metropolitan area.
It’s located near the junction of Interstates 75 and 95, giving visitors with cars easy access to all of South Florida’s natural, historical, and artistic tourist destinations.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Cooper City that you won’t want to miss on your trip to the area.
1. Cooper City Antique Mall
Located on Griffin Road, the Cooper City Antique Mall is a great place to spend a few hours shielded from the piercing Florida sun while perusing a variety of vintage, antique, and gently-used items, many of which have unique Florida histories.
From sports equipment, books, and jewelry to housewares, art, and toys, there may be something for everyone regardless of interests. The mall is particularly well-known for its large selection of Disney memorabilia which is great for gifts and keepsakes.
They’re open every day year-round, but hours vary from week to weekend, so check online before making a special trip.
2. Tree Tops Park
Tree Tops Park in nearby Davie is larger than most area parks and offers outdoor recreation-minded families a variety of activity options, like hiking, biking, paddle-boarding, and viewing the surrounding area from atop the easily climbable 28-foot observation tower.
Admission to the park is less than a few bucks per person, and amenities include built-in fitness equipment, three distinct trails, playgrounds, and pavilions that include seating areas and barbecue grills.
Tree Tops Park is open daily from 9 AM until 6 PM, and due to its convenient location, inexpensive admission, and varied activities, it has been known to draw crowds.
3. Pembroke Lakes Golf Course
In the last decade, Pembroke Lakes Golf Couse has undergone a multi-million dollar facelift, and though it’s always been a popular course, the renovations have taken its facilities and reputation to another level.
Including new fairways, improved greens, and state-of-the-art golf carts with handy GPS units, most golfers feel like they’re on a more exclusive private club, not a public municipally-owned one.
New lakes on numerous holes have made the course more natural and aesthetic and have added another challenging aspect that most experienced golfers welcome.
With its variety of tee box options, the course is appropriate for golfers of most ages and ability levels.
4. The Shops at Pembroke Gardens
Florida has no shortage of shopping options; regardless if you’re traveling with international jet-setters with no credit card limits or retirees on a shoestring budget, there should be an appropriate option or two close at hand.
Located on SW 145th Terrace in Pembroke Pines, The Shops at Pembroke Gardens feature a variety of retail, dining, and activity options that have been known to keep guests entertained and well-fed for hours.
From English pubs and cigar bars to Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, there’s really no excuse for not finding something to occupy your mind and stomach. If you’d like to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the morning when they first open or during the week.
5. Hit the Beach
Even for pale, flabby, physically unfit travelers, a trip to Florida wouldn’t be complete without spending a few hours on the beach. With so many nearby options, visitors to Cooper City have a dizzying array of spots to choose from.
For those seeking to avoid the crowds, Dania Beach would be a good option; more geared to fishermen and sightseers, it is slightly off the beaten path, making it a natural gem.
Just to the north, John U. Lloyd Beach State Park is also less touristy than most beaches. It’s pet-friendly, and there’s a boardwalk that runs nearly three miles along the coast that’s suitable for both walking and biking.
6. Anne Kolb Nature Center
Comprised of more than 1,500 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway and West Lake Park, the Anne Kolb Nature Center is about a 20-minute drive from Cooper City and is the perfect escape for those who’ve had their fill of the area’s more touristy and commercial attractions.
Kayak and canoe rentals are available onsite; for those who don’t mind braving the gators and burning some calories, they’re great ways to see the area. But if physical activity isn’t your cup of tea, there are guided pontoon boat tours available as well.
The nature center’s indoor portion features a saltwater aquarium and a variety of interactive exhibits.
7. The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
Conveniently located across from a popular state park and in a neighborhood known for its trendy galleries, Latin American culture, and hip food scene, The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens are a bit of serenity and history set amidst thriving and bustling Fort Lauderdale.
Though it can be pricy to experience everything the site has to offer, it’s possible to purchase tickets for only the indoor or outdoor portions of the facility.
Once the home and studio of an artist from Chicago, the home was built in the plantation style and is full of period furniture, art, and housewares.
Broward County residents get discounted admission, and parking is free for all.
8. NSU Art Museum
Comprised of nearly 80,000 feet of floor space, the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale specializes in modern and contemporary art and is one of the region’s premier destinations for art-minded travelers.
Spread over multiple floors containing a number of distinct galleries, the museum’s collection includes a variety of works influenced by the South Florida and Caribbean cultures; some of them are by world-famous artists like Pablo Picasso.
Located on East Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, in addition to their permanent exhibits the museum also hosts temporary ones, and a variety of community programs as well.
9. Brian Piccolo Park
Named after college and professional football legend Brian Piccolo, who spent much of his private and professional life in South Florida, Brian Piccolo Park is a popular sports venue that’s located near downtown Cooper City.
The facility has been open for more than three decades, sits on 150 acres of land, and includes soccer, baseball, and cricket fields, as well as basketball courts.
Though it’s primarily known for its sporting amenities, the park’s natural areas are home to a variety of unique birds – including protected ground-burrowing owls – that draw bird lovers and amateur nature photographers from all over the state.
10. Museum of Discovery and Science
Located on SW 2nd Street in Fort Lauderdale, the Museum of Discovery and Science is appropriate for visitors of all ages. It is brimming with hands-on exhibits and activities that touch on animals, the natural world, space travel, and aviation. Many previous guests have noted that it was one of the standouts on their South Florida trip.
Activity options include live animals shows, taking in an exhilarating IMAX movie, and digging for fossils. In addition to their regularly scheduled events, the museum hosts special ones as well; most of them are geared toward kids.
Check the calendar of events on their website to keep abreast of what’s on the horizon.
11. The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is focused on promoting and preserving the history and automobiles of the now-defunct Packard Motor Company.
Located on SW 1st Avenue, it includes nearly two dozen examples of the iconic brand that was once considered an innovative producer of world-class quality cars that were both reliable and luxurious.
The cars on display have been lovingly restored and are from the decades between the turn of the 20th century and the ‘40s.
The cost of admission is relatively inexpensive, and guided tours are offered daily for those who’d like unique historical insight from an enthusiastic and history-minded local.
12. Everglades Holiday Park
Part natural wonderland, part zoo, and part theme park, Everglades Holiday Park is a South Florida icon that’s a top destination for families looking to pack their schedules full of fun, educational, and exhilarating activities without spending half the day in the car.
From regularly scheduled gator shows and airboat tours to zip-lining and world-class largemouth bass fishing, finding ways to occupy your time won’t be an issue.
The park offers a variety of dining options and plenty of live entertainment and special programs and events as well.
Open year-round, it can get busy during the peak season and on the weekends, so plan accordingly.
13. Stranahan House Museum
Fort Lauderdale’s Stranahan House Museum is Broward County’s oldest original structure and was built nearly 120 years ago.
Though it was originally built as a trading post in the once largely undeveloped area, it became a pioneer-era home shortly after that. Now, it’s a historical attraction that gives guests a unique look into the past.
Guided tours are available, and in addition to the home and museum grounds, they may include stops at other nearby historic attractions.
The museum hosts special events throughout the year, so check out their website periodically to see what’s on the calendar for when you’ll be visiting the area.
14. Parker Playhouse
Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District has been a cultural community icon for nearly five decades, and Parker Playhouse is one of its most popular attractions.
From drama and music to community-centered instructional and educational programs, the playhouse is one of those resources that should be taken advantage of when in the area.
The playhouse’s productions include contemporary and traditional concerts, stand-up comedy, and on and off-Broadway theater productions.
Much of what you’ll see is the result of hard work by local talent, so taking in a show or two is a great way to support the community and get a few hours of family-friendly entertainment without breaking the bank.
15. Big Cypress National Preserve
At nearly 700,000 acres and located along the famous Tamiami Trail, Big Cypress National Preserve is kind of hard to miss. For those looking to immerse themselves in the state’s unique cypress swamplands, it’s the perfect place to do just that.
In addition to gators, snakes, turtles, and a variety of birds, many guests are more than a little surprised to learn that the preserve is one of the few remaining natural habitats for the elusive Florida panther.
Don’t expect to see one of these big cats, as they’re stealthy, mostly nocturnal, and shun contact with humans.
Fishing and hunting are allowed seasonally, but you’ll need to check regulations carefully before heading out.