Get your feet wet at #pbcParks!

 

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Palm Beach County is a popular location for kids and families who want to ‘get their feet wet’ by splashing in and around the water! The weather is perfect year-round for a day at the beach, or a dip in the pool. The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers plenty of opportunities for people of all ages to be active in the water.

Pools & Aquatic Centers

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Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation operates six pools and aquatic centers throughout the county. Each pool offers activities and classes like water aerobics, adult lap and open swim time. Be sure to check with each facility for specific times, dates and facility hours.

  1. Aqua Crest Pool in Delray Beach is heated in the winter for year-round enjoyment. It features a 50-meter pool with a diving well and children’s play pool. Various swim teams practice at Aqua Crest, including the Palm Beach Masters, East Coast Aquatic Club Swim Team, and the Coralytes Synchronized Swim Team.
  1. Gleneagles Country Club Aquatic Center is located at the CMAA Therapeutic Recreation Complex in John Prince Park, Lake Worth. It runs from April through September. Programs and activities available at Gleneagles include adaptive swim lessons, aqua motion, family and lap swim, scuba instruction and more.
  1. Lake Lytal Family Aquatic Center also operates during the winter months, in West Palm Beach. The Palm Beach Masters and Lake Lytal Lightning Swim Teams practice at this facility, and it also offers Water Walking.
  1. North County Aquatic Complex is located in Jupiter and is open year-round, as it offers a heated pool. It also features a 50-meter pool and a children’s wading pool, as well as water aerobics classes. The Jupiter Dragons, Palm Beach Masters and the Jupiter Dive Club, a competitive spring board diving team, practice at North County
    Aquatic Complex.
  1. Pioneer Park Aquatic Center: Belle Glade’s Pioneer Park Aquatic Center is open from May to September, and features a 25 yard pool with tipping water buckets for the kids and water slides.
  1. Santaluces Aquatic Complex is located in Lantana, is open from May to September. A 25-meter pool, diving boards, and a children’s wading pool are located at the facility.
Waterparks

Calypso_Bay_Waterpark_1Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation operates two waterparks, both of which close for the Winter season. Each waterpark offers an affordable opportunity to get the kids outside and into the water. Check out what you can enjoy at these waterparks which open in March for Spring Break!

  1. Calypso Bay Waterpark is in Royal Palm Beach inside Seminole Palms Park. This waterpark also offers a nearly 900-foot river ride, lily pad walk, four-story high water slides, water playground, as well as a lap pool with diving boards and more.
  1. Coconut Cove Waterpark is located inside Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton. The waterpark features an 897-foot fiver ride, lily pad walk, two water slides, a children’s water playground pool, and more.
Beaches

Beaches are the number one reason people visit Palm beach County – and Palm Beach County operates 16 beach parks from Tequesta to Boca Raton. Palm Beach County’s South Florida location means any day can be the perfect beach day – for free! Kids and families can spend time basking in the sun (with adequate sun protection), building sand castles, Beach_2playing catch on the beach, or swimming in the ocean.

Palm Beach County’s Ocean Rescue lifeguards protect swimmers at fourteen oceanfront and inlet parks to ensure beachgoer safety. For an accessible beach experience, beach wheelchairs are available at several parks.

For helpful beach safety information, watch this video.

Splash parks

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Splashparks are a great, free way for kids to cool off in the water! Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation operates three brightly colored, interactive splash parks for kids to run and jump in.

The splashparks are located inside John Prince Park in Lake Worth, Westgate Park & Recreation Center in West Palm Beach, and Glades Pioneer Park in Belle Glade. The splashparks in Glades Pioneer Park and Westgate Park are open seasonally; however the John Prince Park location is open year-round!

All three of the splashparks offer interactive features for kids, including rotating spray cannons, ground-level water jets, and animals like frogs and whales. Shade sails are provided at splashpark locations for sun protection. Kids will have a blast splashing around in these water playgrounds, while soaking their friends!

Splashparks are free to use, however for groups of ten or more, weekday reservations are required at Westgate and John Prince Park and a nominal fee must be paid. Please contact each park or facility for more information on reserving the splashpark for a group of ten or more.

Swimming lessons

Swim_Lessons_2For parents and kids living in Palm Beach County, it’s a necessary skill to know how to swim, or, know the basics of water survival. That’s why Palm Beach County pools and aquatic facilities offer swim lessons for people of all ages.

For specific schedules, rates and class information please check with the facility.

For Palm Beach County water-related activities, visit pbcsplash.com.

Visit pbcparks.com for information on all Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation facilities.

20th Annual West Fest brings Glades community together

Our partner, VSA Florida – Palm Beach County, an organization dedicated to providing, supporting and championing arts education and cultural experiences for and by people with disabilities, hosted their 20th Annual West Fest in the Glades area on February 10, 2017!

More than 400 elementary school students of all abilities, school faculty and high school volunteers from the Glades area enjoyed a day of hands-on art projects, music, and special performances.

VSA Volunteer Chairman Jayna Smith says the event brings the community together through art, and creates bonds between all students, regardless of ability.

“They are realizing that there are people in their communities who do have special needs and so therefore when they see them in the community they can say oh hey I saw you, it’s not just that you’re staring because that person looks different,” said Smith.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.

Staff plant Farmstead Garden at Riverbend Park

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The farmstead at Riverbend Park is home to a sawmill, sugarcane press, and now a garden. The farmstead garden is a recent project between park staff Michael Sylvester, Dane Rypma, Cretzer Barthelus and Kyle Krakow and Palm Beach County Extension, Arthur Kirstein. The plants were donated by PBC Extension and park staff planted them and continues upkeep of the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, Swiss Chard lettuce and eggplant are currently in the garden.

dsc_0037_editedThe garden is designed to represent a late 19th century to early 20th century garden that a family would have for subsistence. The plants were typically grown in “hills” – soil brought up around the base of the plants – which made weeding and watering easier and more efficient. In addition to this, there is an heirloom variety of cane on the farm. The earlier cane was a chewing cane. Cane like this had to be crushed, strained, boiled and rendered down and could be made into a number of different products and sold.

The farmstead interprets a period that runs from the latter 1800’s to the 1930’s. Certain areas on the property were cleared for the growing of citrus. The area became known for the quality of the oranges that came out of it. Later, cattle were a focus. (ie: Cowpen’s Lake.)

First Ever Battle of the Loxahatchee at Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park

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Credit: Andrew Foster

Blog written by: John Welch, Riverbend Park Naturalist

The morning silence was broken the morning of Saturday, January 28th with the sound of artillery erupting from the battlefield here as we began a special event that recognizes the two battles that occurred at the site of Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park in January of 1838.

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Credit: Andrew Foster

The event itself spread out over two days with Friday being an educational day for schools to visit and get a new view of what the battles were about and who was involved. By noon on Friday, 230 students had cycled through the battlefield and visited a US Army camp, interacted with Seminole re-enactors as well as representatives from the Seminole Nation Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki museum and an exhibit on pioneer life in Florida. The students came away with a better idea of what the Second Seminole War was about, who the Seminole were, what life was like as a soldier in the field and on the battlefield and how the army moved about. Pioneer life exhibitor Gina Sauber gave them a better idea of family life in Old Florida. Two artillery/weapons demonstrations ensured that they were ready to return for the re-enactment on Saturday.

Saturday was the main exhibition day for the public. Exhibitors and guest speakers addressed the crowd covering topics from the interaction that occurred between Jesup and Lauderdale to battlefield archaeology to pioneer Florida. Weapons demonstrations and battlefield tours provided a glimpse into the engagements that occurred here and food trucks filled empty bellies.

This was the very first actual re-enactment attempted in the park and anticipation was high. This was indicated by the steadily growing attendance from early morning until re-enactment time at 2:00 pm. The re-enactment started as the Seminole moved out and fired on Jesup’s advancing troops who were approaching from the Northwest. Narration was provided by Guy Bachmann, president of the Loxahatchee Battlefield Preservationists who kept the crowd informed about what was taking place on the field. The Seminoles held down the Tennessee Volunteers until General Jesup, (Dick Kazmar, Loxahatchee Preservationist member), advanced to urge the troops on only to have his spectacles shot off his face. The battle raged on until Colonel Harney outflanked the Seminole and they gathered up their families, ( Girl Scouts Troop 20646), and retreated South.

By re-enactment start, the cars were lined up through the park all the way to Indiantown Road. The day ended with Mr. Bachmann giving a talk on the aftermath of the battle which was followed by a weapons demonstration.

A day of beautiful weather added to the success of the event. Both regular visitors as well as first timers in the park all reported that they had a great day.

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Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located at 9060 Indiantown Road, Jupiter. Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park is one of the most significant multi-level historic sites in Palm Beach County. Gateway to the Loxahatchee River, prehistoric and historic habitation has occurred along the Loxahatchee dating as far back as the Archaic Period over 5,000 years ago. The primary goal of the park is to preserve and protect these cultural resources, while providing education and passive recreation opportunities for the public to experience this beautiful place and its history. For more information on this park, and to view other parks and upcoming events, visit www.pbcparks.com.

Destination Recreation: Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens

Welcome to the first episode of Destination Recreation! We take you through different Palm Beach County parks and facilities in each episode – giving you a unique peek at what you can experience at our more than 80 locations throughout the County.

Travel through the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in our first episode – we walk you through the museum exhibits, tranquil Japanese Gardens and show you how you can get a taste of Japan.

Don’t miss an episode – follow pbcParks on WordPress or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see each episode of Destination Recreation, which is released monthly.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.

Tips for enjoying #pbcParks

Planning a visit to a Palm Beach County-operated park? Check out these tips to help make your visit a happy, healthy one.

  1. Lock your car & store your belongings properly:

Park Rangers and Law Enforcement are present at select county parks for your safety; however, if you’ll be traveling by vehicle, leave your valuables at home. Don’t leave bags, boxes, cell phones and other electronics and money on display in your vehicle. If you cannot take these items with you into the park, be sure to lock them safely in your trunk, where they’re out of view, before you arrive. Finally, lock all your doors and windows upon leaving your car.

  1. Use sun protection & stay hydrated:

Sunscreen Dispenser.jpgSun protection and hydration are especially important in South Florida’s climate. Follow these tips for proper sun protection:

  • The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am-4pm, so be especially cautious during these times.
  • If you run out of water, most county parks have drinking fountains located near restroom buildings.
  • Apply and re-apply sunscreen. Coconut Cove Water Park and select Palm Beach County beach parks offer sunscreen dispensers so patrons have access to free sun protection.
  • Wear protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants, when possible.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Wear flip flops or shoes when walking on sand.
  1. Know ‘Trash In, Trash Out’ locations:

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation has identified a number of parks that have “trash in, trash out” policies, including Riverbend Park, and many neighborhood parks. We ask park visitors to dispose of any waste they may carry into the park, outside the park. This ensures a clean habitat for the animals living in our parks and helps maintain an aesthetic environment for park visitors, while reducing maintenance costs.

  1. Coexist with animals:

Hundreds of animal species call our parks “home”. From wild birds to tortoises aDeer in Riverbend Park.JPGnd bobcats to alligators, every animal plays an important role in each ecosystem. Disturbing the animals in our parks may do harm to them and their ecosystems, yourself, or the people around you. Please maintain a safe distance and do not approach animals when you come across them.

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation discourages feeding wildlife as it reduces the animal’s natural fear of humans and may create safety issues. Please take notice of signs in many of our parks denoting safety recommendations for areas which may be home to alligators.

See our blog for a video on coexisting with our parks’ animals: https://pbcparks.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/tips-on-coexisting-with-our-parks-animals/

  1. Know where you can bring your dog:

Dogs are permitted in most county parks as long as they’re on a leashDog Park.jpg no longer than six feet. Dogs are not allowed on county beaches, pools, water parks, splash parks, and these other locations.

PBC Parks operates three spacious and well-maintained dog parks for your furry friends to run, jump and play! Whether they’re big or small, your pooch will have fun at these three dog parks.

  1. Stay on the designated paths:

Bicyclists on Trail_Riverbend Park.JPGPBC Parks and Recreation makes it easy for you to explore our natural areas with park and trail maps. Veering off these paths and into areas not meant for exploration may disturb the animals and plants that live in the areas and may pose a safety risk to you and your family. Please observe these areas from the designated trails and paths, using maps and guides for assistance.

As the saying goes, #pbcParks asks that you “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time” to fully enjoy our parks.

Park Ranger information:

Park Rangers are nearby to greet and assist you, answer questions, and watch out for your well-being. If you have a question for a Palm Beach County Park Ranger, you can give them a call at 561-262-1714 or email pbcparkrangers@pbcgov.org.

Where to See and Interact with Live Animals in #pbcParks

 

Riverbend_Park_1.JPGAnimals abound in #pbcParks! As stewards of natural habitats, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation strives to maintain the habitats of a variety of animals that live in and frequent our parks and nature centers. Conserving these habitats makes visitors more aware of the ecosystem in Palm Beach County, and visiting children and families get a fun, educational experience that generates interest in contributing to conservation efforts. Find out where you can see all sorts of animals in our parks & facilities.

Interact with animals in our Nature Centers

  • Okeeheelee Nature Center: OKNC is situated inside Okeeheelee Park in West Palmokeeheelee_nature_center_2 Beach. Parents and kids have a number of opportunities to see and interact with animals inside the facility, and spot plenty of animals around the park and nature center. The nature center offers programs like deer and raptor walks where parents and kids can get a behind-the-scenes look at the center’s deer and raptor compounds, and free guided nature walks through the Pine Flatwoods Forest to learn about the plants and animals living there. Reptiles, raptors and deer are just a few of the animals kids and parents can learn about while visiting OKNC exhibits, as well as while talking to our passionate naturalists.
  • Daggerwing Nature Center: Venture out to Daggerwing Nature Center in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, west of Boca Raton, and explore the grounds Daggerwing_Nature_Center_9.JPGto spot the famous Daggerwing Butterfly, turtles, birds, snakes and more, in and around the facility. Inside, visit the exhibit hall, where you can see live reptiles and more, a bee theater, leaf rubbings and a nature video. Outdoors, gaze at the Florida Federation of Gardens Certified Butterfly Garden, where you’ll find a variety of the beautiful winged creatures. There is also a 40-acre nature preserve outside the facility, as well as a 0.6-mile boardwalk and observation tower, which is a great opportunity to spot wild birds, turtles, insects and others in their natural habitats.
  • Green Cay Nature Center: Located in Boynton Beach, Green Cay Nature Center is similar to Daggerwing and Okeeheelee Nature Centers. In addition to the animals you can see and interact with at the facility’s exhibits and during special GreenCay_Nature_Center_4.jpgprograms, the mile-long Chickee Hut Trail and 1/2 mile-long Tropical Hammock Trail allows visitors to spot all sorts of wildlife livingin marsh, open water pond areas, forested wetlands, and tree islands. Waterfowl, diving birds, moorhens, sparrows and more thrive in these environments, and bobcats have been found hiding within the shrubbery. Visit Green Cay Nature Center’s Bird Checklist on pbcparks.com, and you’ll find there are dozens of birds to be discovered in and around the facility.

Live animals in popular #pbcParksRiverbend_Park_2.JPG

  • Riverbend Park: A massive 665-acre park located in Jupiter, a trip to Riverbend Park will always be accompanied by a plethora of different animal species. Walk, bike or jog through the many trails where you and your family can spot deer, rabbits, turkeys, as well as other wild birds, insects and reptiles. Adjacent to Riverbend Park is Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, where you’ll be able to see much of the same wildlife. Choose to go kayaking at Riverbend Park, and you’ll most likely spot some interesting fish, turtles, and other water wildlife.
  • Regional Parks: regional parks such as John Prince Park in Lake Worth, Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach, and Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton provide the perfect opportunities to spot squirrels, lizards and wild birds, which can all be spotted from safe distances. Walk through paved trails at each of these parks and find all sorts of beautiful and interesting creatures!jpp_squirrel

For more about spotting and interacting with animals in our parks and nature centers, visit pbcParks.com.