Category Archives: Activities

Nature Ninja Warrior Spring 2018

 

NNW 2 24 18 136 By Pat Rash

Through the vision of our Director, Eric Call, a new department initiative kicked off this spring. The Nature Ninja Warrior Program provides underrepresented middle and high school youth with diverse experiences in parks and recreation. This free program highlights youth development opportunities in park and natural resource management, outdoor experiential learning and environmental recreation, with an emphasis on job and life skills development. Between February 17 and April 14, 2018, 14 middle school youth traveled to John Prince Park in Lake Worth on eight consecutive Saturdays and two days during spring break and set out for adventure and learning in our parks and natural areas.

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Activities included the FAU ropes course, canoeing, archery, fishing, habitat restoration, assisting with Outdoor Adventure Day and geocaching. Students learned about wetlands, prescribed fire, resume building, proper interview techniques, bird adaptations and invasive exotic plants. The program culminated with a graduation ceremony at the CMAA Therapeutic Recreation Center in Lake Worth where family and friends of the participants gathered for presentations and refreshments.

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The program was a huge success thanks to our partners and the parks and recreation professionals that facilitated all components of the program. Partner agencies included: PBC Youth Services, who assisted our department with identifying program participants; Palm Tran, who provided bus passes for participants with transportation challenges; 4-H and UF IFAS Extension, who presented a youth workforce readiness program and the Friends of Green Cay Nature Center, who provided a generous financial contribution to this program. Special thanks to the Parks Natural Resource section, our nature centers, recreation centers, therapeutic recreation and Riverbend Park staff for their support.

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As a result of the Nature Ninja Warrior program, participants not only broadened their access to the parks and recreation field, but also showed significant improvements in eight youth development outcomes. Teamwork, independence, responsibility, competency, problem solving, friendship, exploration and affinity for nature were measured through pre and post testing developed by the American Camp Association. The Nature Ninja Warrior Program will continue in the fall with returning students building upon the skills they learned during the spring. Returning program participants will have a leadership role during the new season and will assist in guiding the new participants through the program. The Nature Ninja Warrior student work experience program will begin in summer 2019. This will provide program graduates with paid work experience in the Parks and Recreation Department.

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For more information on this program, please contact Pat Rash at: prash@pbcgov.org 

 

 

Students learn about “Old Time Florida” at Riverbend Education Day

About 120 students, along with parents and teachers, ventured to Riverbend Park on November 3rd to discover “Old Time Florida” as part of Riverbend’s Education Day, part one of the two-day Pioneer Farmstead Event.

“The idea here is for the schools to come out here and experience a little bit about what they learn in the classroom through the history program – 4th graders are targeted because there’s a big history drive on the fourth grade,” said Naturalist John Welch.

The students learned about sugar cane processing and boiling, growing citrus, cattle and other animals, general pioneer life and more. Welch says the event helps teach kids about the work pioneers did to prosper on the land, “to make them a little more appreciative of how we came to be here, what the challenge was that these people faced, what they did for us and also themselves.”

Riverbend Park is located at 9060 Indiantown Road in Jupiter and is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

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.

Please visit www.pbcparks.com​ for more leisure opportunities available through the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

Destination Recreation 6: Boating

Welcome to the sixth 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.

On this episode, we tell you all about one of the most popular amenities in Palm Beach County — boating! Learn about where to go, what activities you can enjoy, and what you need to do if you’re parking your boat trailer at a PBC Park. Let’s head out on the water!

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.

Pickleball boom: bringing players of all ages together at Caloosa Park

“Pickleball has absolutely exploded in the last eight years!”

Avid Pickleball player Sue Thaler visits Caloosa Park often to play the sport of Pickleball with her husband and friends. As a 30-year racquetball C0012.MP4.00_00_30_10.Still001player, Thaler discovered Pickleball when she and her husband, a 40-year tennis player, wanted a sport that would suit both of them. “We each tried playing each other’s sport, I wasn’t good enough at tennis, he wasn’t good enough at racquetball,” Thaler said. Enter – Pickleball.

Pickleball is a “derivation of tennis and badminton and ping pong,” according to Thaler. It involves hitting a whiffle ball with a paddle on a court that’s about half the size of a tennis court. The game can be played in singles or doubles. Thanks to the structure of the court and the ease of hitting the whiffle ball, Pickleball is easy on the joints, allowing people of all ages to get out on the court. Thaler says it’s an easy game to learn and regardless of whether a player is a novice or an expert, the game can be enjoyed by anyone. Now, there’s no reason not to stay active!

Best of all, Thaler says through Pickleball, she’s met a number of new friends and C0003.MP4.00_00_00_22.Still001teammates, like teammates Leslee Roach and Bob Sumislawski, featured in the video. “We’ve met dozens and dozens of players that we’ve developed friendships with and it’s because of Pickleball – it’s a shared interest that we all have,” Thaler said. Thaler went on to say that during the fall and winter months, the courts are packed with Pickleball players at Caloosa Park who are looking to enjoy the breezier South Florida winter, meet new people, and stay active through a game that’s easy to play and enjoy!

Check out our eight Pickleball courts at Caloosa Park – visit pbcParks.com for more information.

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.

Camping in #pbcParks

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The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department operates three campgrounds throughout the county where families can enjoy the great outdoors together in tents or an RV – John Prince Park Campground in Lake Worth, Peanut Island Campground in Riviera Beach, and South Bay RV Campground in Western Palm Beach County. Families can tell stories around a campfire, make s’mores, explore nature, or just relax near a lake!

There are a number of benefits for kids and adults who go camping:

  • Bonding & socialization: parents and kids have the opportunity to play games together, go on a nature scavenger hunt, pitch tents together, and partake in a number of socializing and bonding activities. Camping allows families to get away from hectic responsibilities of daily lives and bond without the interference of busy schedules that come with work and school.
  • Learn & improve skills: go out and explore natural settings! Camping is the perfect way to educate kids about wildlife and natural resources – families can find and identify species of plants and insects, or get up early and bird watch. Even learning to cook on a campfire allows people of all ages to develop useful skills!
  • Gain an appreciation for nature: kids and adults can develop an appreciation for wildlife and natural resources as they are surrounded by both during a camping experience; learning about and appreciating nature allows for greater interest in preserving and conserving the planet’s natural resources and contributing to protection of species for play vital roles in ecosystems.
  • Fun and relaxation: get away from the stresses of every day life! Whether you’re relaxing in a hammock or relaxing by the lake with a book, camping provides opportunities to forget your daily responsibilities and escape to a natural setting. Camping also allows families to unplug from technology, and in many cases, from the stresses that come with it.
  • Develop healthy habits: camping allows people of all ages to put down technological products that consume time and energy; escaping these distractions may provide for healthier, happier lives. Camping can also help kids and adults learn new, healthier recipes that are easy to make, and will allow families to recognize the health effects of spending time in nature, including reduced risks for heart disease, anxiety and stress.

 

Where to camp in #pbcParks

John Prince Park Campground – 4759 South Congress Ave., Lake Worth, Florida 33461

Trade in your shoes for sandals and come to John Prince Park in Lake Worth to enjoy Palm Beach-style relaxation in a family-friendly atmosphere with playgrounds, exercise trails, and nature walks. The beach is only a ten-minute drive away.

Peanut Island Campground – Intracoastal waterway, near the Lake Worth Inlet, Riviera Beach

Peanut Island Campground is well-situated for swimming, snorkeling, fishing and boating. Located near the Palm Beach Inlet, the island is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway.

South Bay RV Campground – 100 Levee Rd., South Bay, Florida 33493

This is your place to simply relax! South Bay RV Campground is situated next to Lake Okeechobee, and is an ideal spot for boat ramp access. The campground features fire rings, a recreation hall, and WiFi. Spacious paved RV sites include water, sewer, electric, and a picnic table with grill.

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.

Best Parks for Families with Young Children

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The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers many environments for families with young children to spend time together while learning, growing and practicing healthy lifestyles. With more than 80 parks and recreation facilities from Tequesta to Boca Raton and west to Lake Okeechobee, there are a variety of activities parents and young kids can partake in – and all our parks and facilities are inspected to provide safe experiences. Here’s a list of our favorites!

John Prince Park

JohnPrince_FitnessZone_2.JPGJohn Prince Park in Lake Worth will not disappoint the little ones. Kids can enjoy 5 playgrounds throughout the park, including a boundless playground that provides children with and without disabilities a colorful, sensory-rich, accessible experience. Located next to the boundless playground is a splash park where kids can run through a series of spray arches, stand under a giant splashing tail, and more, all under three shade sails that provide sun protection. The park also offers a Fitness Zone® Exercise Area so parents can stay active while their kids play. Adults can work out using 17 pieces of outdoor, resistance exercise equipment that uses one’s own body weight for strength training purposes. The Fitness Zone® is located near a large pavilion and playground.

Okeeheelee Park

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A visit to Okeeheelee Park is a great opportunity for activity and education. The 1,700-acre park features three playgrounds for running, sliding and swinging. After spending some time on the playground, parents can take kids to Okeeheelee Nature Center, located inside the park. At OKNC, families can check out hands-on exhibits, animal encounters and a nature-related gift shop. Admission to OKNC and trails is free. Program participation and bicycle/kayak concession fees are nominal. Time your visit right and experience an equestrian event at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Okeeheelee Park South, on the south side of Forest Hill Boulevard.

Westgate Park and Recreation Center

Westgate_Playground.JPGLocated in West Palm Beach, Westgate Park and Recreation Center features a playground, splash park and fitness station, making it an ideal location for activity for both parents and kids. On a hot day, kids can cool off by splashing through the brightly-colored water playground. When the kids are enjoying the newly-remodeled playground, adults can take the opportunity to work out on a 10-piece exercise station with equipment while watching their kids.

Lake Worth West Neighborhood Park

Lake Worth West Neighborhood Park in Central Palm Beach County recently underwent LakeWorthWest_FitnessStation.JPGa makeover, courtesy of the Office Depot Foundation and Palm Beach County. Now, Lake Worth West residents can enjoy a new playground with accessible equipment for all abilities, as well as a free library, green space, basketball court, and a butterfly garden. With an exercise station located next to the playground, adults can do an array of exercises while watching their kids.

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Whether you’re spending the day at Coconut Cove Waterpark, playing on one of the two playgrounds, or heading to Daggerwing Nature Center to learn about reptiles and insects, there’s something for every member of the family at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park. Coconut Cove Waterpark is a perfect activity for those hot summer days; kids and adults can run on a playground, slide down waterslides or float along a lazy river. At Daggerwing Nature Center, kids can play and learn through interactive exhibits, or venture outside to a boardwalk and tower where families can watch and learn about wildlife. While there is an admission fee for Coconut Cove Waterpark, a visit to Daggerwing Nature Center is free, with the exception of program fees.

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Located in western Palm Beach County, Glades Pioneer Park features a seasonally-operated swimming pool, a baseball field, basketball courts, tennis courts, a 1.25-mile paved multipurpose path, playgrounds for ages 2-5 and 5-12, a splashpark, and picnic areas.

For park locations, visit www.pbcparks.com.

 

 

 

 

Destination Recreation 5: Nature Centers

Welcome to the fifth 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.

On this episode, we take you around all three county-operated nature centersOkeeheelee Nature Center in Okeeheelee Park, Daggerwing Nature Center in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, and Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands just west of Boynton Beach. These facilities are unique places where everyone — from kids to senior citizens — can bond with animals, learn about important ecosystems, and bask in the beauty of natural habitats – right here in Palm Beach County! The best part… they’re free!

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 information about our nature centers, visit pbcNature.com. For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.