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Best NewTour Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2004 - Lauderducks

In Fort Lauderdale, you used to have either your bus tour or your boat tour. Now you can go amphibian on this city's ass. It's called Lauderducks, and it opened at BeachPlace this past December. The silly name comes from a very serious vehicle, called a DUKW. These babies are basically large trucks with watertight hulls that were built back in 1940 for use in World War II. A few smart people decided to buy some DUKWs from the government, renovate them, then charge the populace to ride and boat in them. The DUKW is a terribly awkward-looking thing, and that's one of the wonderful aspects of the tour: It's as much an oddity as anything you'll see while you're on it. People stare and wave as you ride by and make obnoxious noises with these little yellow quacker things the tour operators give you. The 80-minute ride -- which costs $21 per adult and $13 for children -- rolls up the shopping district of Las Olas, into Fort Lauderdale, where you learn about our wonderful history (like the fact that the Broward County Governmental Center used to be a department store). Then they drive you right into the New River, where you float by what the city calls Millionaire's Row, where half of the mansions seem to be owned by the Huizengas. Then it's on to the Intracoastal Waterway, where you gawk at more boats than you thought could fit on the ocean. In short, it's a ride into the heart of Fort Lauderdale -- and it's a hell of a tour. Quack, quack.

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