Category Archives: Nature

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.

Have a family picnic in a #pbcPark!

Picnicking is a great family activity! It’s a great opportunity to get away from the traditional setting of a dinner table and head out to a natural environment.

Benefits of picnicking:
  • Spend time outdoors in a serene setting: being outdoors has been proven to boost moods, reduce stress levels, and improve overall mental wellness. This is a chance for you and your family to be away from the stresses of every day life and enjoy a natural setting. 
  • Bond with family members: because many people live fast-paced lifestyles, there aren’t many opportunities to slow down and spend meaningful time with the people who matter. Play games, get up and walk, or simply sit still and bond over a good meal. 
  • Communicate more effectively: small talk, or even deep conversations, are essential to any good picnic. Head out and learn more about what’s going on with your family members – whether it’s school, work or friends – this is a great opportunity to connect with the people you care about and encourage effective communication skills in kids. 
  • Develop healthy eating habits: instead of buying a pre-made meal to enjoy on a picnic, try preparing a meal for your next picnic trip. Meals prepared at home are typically healthier and more nutritious than pre-made meals. Make sure you include all the basics for a full, healthy meal. 
  • Encourage active lifestyles: having group or family picnics consistently can allow families to form traditions that are passed down from generation to generation; make picnics a habit and turn it into an outing! Bring supplies for games like tug-of-war, soccer or football and encourage the kids to get up before eating to fit in some physical activity during the picnic. 
Where to picnic at #pbcParks:

Picnic areas are available at no charge from sunrise until sunset on a first-come, first-served basis at the following park locations. Visit this page fore a list of all picnicking locations in our parks:  http://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Amenities/Picnicking.aspx.

Check out municipal parks in or near your town or city for additional picnicking locations.

————————————————————————

Note: please do not feed wild or stray animals. Animals that are fed can become aggressive and harass people. Wild or stray animals can become extremely territorial and bite the hand that feeds them. This can transmit disease. Animals that become used to human contact are susceptible to disease, injury, and random acts of violence.  The survival skills of wild animals are threatened when they lose the ability to forage naturally for food. This can happen when they are fed by hand or when they eat food left out for stray or abandoned pets. Stray animals hunt and kill native wildlife, even when well fed.

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.

Keep America Beautiful Grant, UPS Foundation Help Plant Trees in Stub Canal Park

New trees, plants, and mulch are now in Palm Beach County’s Stub Canal Park, thanks to a $5,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful and UPS Foundation volunteers.

The trees and plants were planted in early October at the West Palm Beach park, which includes green space and a boat ramp popular among skiers.

“Trees are probably the best fight that we have against things like climate change and also provide a wonderful canopy for the recreational users of our parks here in Palm Beach County,” said Lourdes Ferris, Executive Director of Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful.

For more about this wonderful volunteer project, watch this short video!

The mission of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is to 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. Visit pbcParks.com for more information.

Summer Travels: Into the Land that is Japan \(^.^)/

By Gina Musick, Education Intern for Summer Tour Plus 2016 Program via Summer Travels: Into the Land that is Japan \(^.^)/ — Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

img_1878-e1475684583921

Hello everyone! My name is Gina Musick and I am a new volunteer, but as a seasoned Morikami member and Elementary Education major in college, I saw an amazing opportunity in front of me when I read about a posting for an Education Intern for their Summer Tour Plus program. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a tour! A wonderful tour where both docents and volunteers come together in order to create a fun, interactive, and educational experience for visiting camps of all ages into the land of Japan in South Florida.

Imagine visiting another country for almost the whole summer with nothing but the clothes on your back…without leaving your home state! “Impossible!” is what some may say, but that’s exactly how it felt for me. Walking up the steps to the museum alone is a stunning view, surrounded by a preview of the gardens and a small koi pond. Morikami creates a one-of-a-time experience that children of all ages and backgrounds are able to participate in.

Here is what a day in the Summer Tour Plus 2016 program looked like:

1. Japanese Game Show: the volunteers engage the campers in a slideshow of various Japanese tools and objects, guessing their true meanings of utility, after watching a clip from a real live game show!

2.Art Gallery Tour: the docents give the campers a unique and peaceful tour of Hiromi Moneyhun’s paper cut exhibition, where they learn about her unique art style and its main elements – metamorphosis and symmetry.

3. Shadow Art: Kirigami: the volunteers teach the campers how to create the own paper cuts (known in Japanese as kirigami)! The campers use scissors and hole-punchers to create unique designs and patterns into their canvas’, which is a moth – a strong representation of both symmetry and metamorphosis.

4. Docents’ Choice: the docents choose an activity of their own discretion to educate the campers about! For instance, during the week of the Star Festival (also known as Tanabata), which occurs on July 7th, the children learned about the history behind the festival and wrote a wish on a strip of paper attached to string (known as tanzaku) and then tied them to a bamboo tree for the wish to come true! Click here to learn more about Tanabata.img_1743

Each camp that visited Morikami participated in all four of these activities at some time or another during their day. In each rotation, the campers were motivated and supported by volunteers and docents alike to pursue a passion in learning to appreciate the very diverse and beautiful culture of Japan. The Summer Tour Plus Program created by Morikami strongly reflects the museum’s mission to the community…”to provide authentic Japanese cultural experiences that entertain, educate, and inspire.”

I thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer experience as a summer intern at Morikami, as it was everything I expected it to be and more! It was amazing to see children of all ages and cultural backgrounds learning about a very historic and unique culture through different activities, and excel at participating in every way. Such a successful experience does not go without thanking all of the staff, docents, and volunteers involved in creating such an enriching and lasting experience!

img_1880-e1475684592620Morikami is always looking for volunteers to help out on a day-to-day basis, as well as for festivals or a variety of programs. During the time we waited for the camps to arrive, we volunteers would work on creating decorations for upcoming festivals. We made paper chains, tissue paper flowers, and paper lanterns all to help prepare for the upcoming Lantern Festival: In the Spirit of Obon! If you have a passion for education, culture, or anything Japan, I highly recommend you take an opportunity and offer your time to this amazing non-profit institution. You will receive a timeless experience for the time that you give! Click here to find out about your possible opportunities~!  \(^.^)

さようなら。! (Sayōnara!)

One Penny Sales Surtax: Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation

What would the One Penny Sales Surtax mean for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Facilities? What this video for the facts.

For more information on the One Penny Sales Surtax, visit OneCountyOnePenny.org.

The mission of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is to 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.

How local parks can help families bond

Families who visit any of our 84 parks and facilities may find themselves experiencing a variety of mental, physical and social benefits that allow for greater bonding experiences. ”Families who play together, stay together,” is an important philosophy when it comes to enjoying our park system as a family. Check out exactly how a trip to our parks can improve your family’s well-being!

Physical

With thousands of acres of park land available for roaming, running and discovering, riverbend_kayaking_2parks allow for plenty of physical activity for both kids and adults. Whether you’re a family that enjoys water activities like swimming at any of our six pools and aquatic facilities, splashing and sliding at our two water parks, snorkeling at Phil Foster or DuBois Parks – or if you’re a land family who prefers strolling along boardwalks and trails at our nature centers, mountain biking at three trail locations, or simply enjoying some daytime play on our colorful and interactive playgrounds, there are so many ways parents and kids can get moving together. The physical activity opportunities available in our parks are so fun, the kids won’t even know they’re exercising! Among the many benefits of physical activity are increased fitness levels and a lower risk of obesity, and healthier bodies lead to healthier minds. Getting exercise at our parks and facilities will not only benefit the bodies and minds of adults, but will be setting a trend for children to continue the lifestyle as they age.

Mental

CoralCoveBeach.jpgAccording to the Florida Department of Health, there are a variety of mental health issues that both adults and kids in Palm Beach County face on a daily basis, including poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, tension and stress. However, studies show physical activity and interacting with nature can improve your quality of life. By simply walking through the many trails and green space offered at parks like Riverbend, Okeeheelee, John Prince and more, families have the opportunity to escape from the pressures of everyday life that they face at school, work and even home. Our parks allow for tranquil getaways with the ones you love. For instance, Palm Beach County is the perfect location for beach days and evenings, and we offer 16 beach locations [Peanut Island and Phil Foster are located in the Intracoastal] where you and the kids can feel the ocean breeze on your face and watch the waves crash, putting your minds at ease. Mental health also plays an important role in one’s ability to maintain good physical health, make better health decisions, and live as healthy, productive citizens. To watch a short video on the mental health benefits of visiting our local parks, click here.

Social

If you and your family are looking for opportunities to bond on a social level, look no further than the Palm Beach County park system. Discovering new parks, trails, lakes and more will create a curious mindset in children. For instance, when visiting Okeeheelee, Green Cay or Daggerwing Nature Centers, kids can discover all sorts of animals and plants – and parents will have a blast learning along with their kids. Parents have the opportunity to teach and learn alongside their children, creating a bond kids will remember. There are so many opportunities to learn new things at our parks, from biking and kayaking to cultural and historical experiences, participating in these activities allow for asking and answering new questions, as well as unique chances for both parents and children to interact on a whole new level.

For park locations, visit www.pbcparks.com.southcounty_playground