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Destination Recreation: John Prince Park Fitness Zone

Welcome to the second 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 to the Fitness Zone inside John Prince Park in Lake Worth, a shaded area that offers 17 pieces of resistance exercise equipment that uses your own body weight to target and train specific muscle groups. The Fitness Zone is a popular, free amenity for people ages 14 and up, and it’s accessible by people of all abilities and fitness levels!

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.

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.

Westgate community celebrated 10 years of family, community and diversity during Celebrate Westgate

A beautiful spring day in April set the scene for the 10th Annual Celebrate Westgate event at Westgate Park and Recreation Center in West Palm Beach. The event took place on Saturday, April 9, from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

DSC_0030Celebrate Westgate is an annual community event that celebrates family, community, and diversity while enjoying a fun-filled day at the park.

As explained by Lee Powell, Manager of Westgate Park and Recreation Center, having such an event is important for the local community.

“It provides an opportunity for them to see all the agencies that are available and it also brings families together to enjoy a day at the park.” explained Powell.

Games, leisure activities, DJ entertainment, a water-splash pad, art tent, mural project, and social and community service exhibits were available for families to enjoy. Free food and drinks were also provided.

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Past Celebrate Westgate themes included “Blast from the Past,” “Safari in the Park,” and “Party in the Park.”  This year marked their 10th celebration, so the theme was 10 years of Celebrate Westgate.

Westgate Park and Recreation Center is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located at 3691 Oswego Avenue in West Palm Beach. Providing for youth enrichment, sports and athletic programming and facilities is one of the department’s core services. For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit www.pbcparks.com.

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New playground, fitness zone now open at Westgate Park & Recreation Center

WestgatePlayground20160319 (15)_Edited.jpgExcitement filled the air on the morning of Saturday, March 19 as hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the grand reopening of Palm Beach County’s Westgate Park and Recreation Center playground, an added fitness zone, and additions to an outdoor garden.

The event began at 10:00 a.m. with a bike rodeo for kids and families to enjoy, in celebration of Florida Bike Month. Children received bike inspections and bike safety presentations courtesy of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and showed off their skills by winding their way around a bicycle obstacle course; PBSO gave away 120 helmets this year, up from 35 last year. Jack the Bike Man was welcomed to the event, a local community member who restores bikes for donation. This year, he gave away bikes to four lucky kids in the community.WestgatePlayground20160319 (75)_edited

To further promote healthy living for the Westgate community, free health screenings were also available to all 200 participants during the event, courtesy of FAU Health Services.

At 11:00 a.m., the excitement continued with a ribbon-cutting ceremony which included County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, other Palm Beach County officials, and Westgate residents to celebrate the recent upgrades.

TWestgatePlayground20160319 (125)he playground, which reopened after a 4-month installation process, features areas for kids ages 2-5 and 5-12. The new playground allows for increased safety – it’s lined with playground grass and engineered mulch, and is accessible for all abilities. The tot swings and belt swings are suitable for both younger and older kids, and the Omnispin for kids ages 2-12 accommodates all physical capabilities.

While kids are playing, adults can enjoy a new 10-piece fitness zone with a view of the playground to keep an eye on their little ones. Designed to look like equipment that can be found in a professional health club, the exercise equipment allows for adults to keep healthy at no cost, regardless of shape, size or fitness level. The equipment is available every day from sunrise to sunset.IMG_7725
Lee Powell, Manager of Westgate Park and Recreation Center, said parents and kids are thrilled about all the new additions. “It provides a multi-faceted family environment… now they can come as a family and really truly enjoy the playground, the splashpark, and the fitness zone,” explained Powell.

Also included in the new upgrades is the outdoor garden, which was expanded to include a U-shaped permanent concrete planter accessible from all sides. Right now, teens and seniors from the Westgate community are tending to the thriving garden, planting tomatoes, beans and other vegetables, and the facility hopes to receive more participation with the garden from community members.

“The improvements at Westgate Park and Recreation Center provide opportunities for families to play, learn and grown healthy and happy together,” said Priscilla Taylor, Palm Beach County District 7 Commissioner.

WestgatePlayground20160319 (20)This event was one of many being held in celebration of Florida Bicycle Month, a month dedicated to encouraging bike safety and to increase commuting via bicycling, carpooling, and other means of transportation to cut down on emissions.

Westgate Park and Recreation Center is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located at 3691 Oswego Avenue in West Palm Beach. Providing for youth enrichment, sports and athletic programming and facilities is one of the department’s core services. For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit www.pbcparks.com.

View photos on Flickr

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Iconic DuBois Pioneer Home now reopen to public

On March 2, 2016, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department hosted its grand reopening of the DuBois Pioneer Home in Palm Beach County’s DuBois Park, located at 19075 DuBois Road in Jupiter.

The home suffered damage during hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, and the historical landmark was closed in 2008 to repair the damage. After interior and exterior renovations, including a new roof, stabilization of Native American Midden, restoration of interior woodwork, among other restorations, the home is reopen to the public, with tours available to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Watch this short video to learn why the iconic Palm Beach County home is a top destination for history lovers.

Palm Beach County Pools welcome College Swimmers

For three weeks in December and January, College Swim Teams from around the country travel to Palm Beach County’s Aqua Crest Pool and North County Aquatic Complex to train for the fall season. The teams travel from as far west as Iowa to as far north as Michigan to escape frigid temperatures that make it difficult to train. As students from Michigan State and New York’s Wagner College explain, Palm Beach County’s palm trees and beaches allow them to take a mental break during the winter.

Aqua Crest Pool and North County Aquatic Complex are owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Providing for athletic programming and facilities is one of the core services of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.

Accomplish your New Year’s resolutions with #pbcParks!

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It’s time to start making lists filled with the goals we want to accomplish in 2016. Some popular aspirations include traveling or reading more often, spending more time with family and friends, or learning new hobbies. But of course, the most popular New Year’s resolutions are health-related.

According to Nielsen, the top two New Year’s resolutions in 2015 were to “stay fit and healthy” and “lose weight.” If the cost of a gym membership is keeping you at a standstill, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department has good news for you – you can accomplish these goals without a gym membership! The key to living a healthier lifestyle in 2016 can be found in a park near your home or job.

The most recent statistics from 2007 by the Florida Department of Health suggest that about 68% of Palm Beach County residents are inactive at work, and only about 36% of residents meet moderate physical activity recommendations.

It’s a core service of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department to facilitate health and wellness opportunities to help our park patrons achieve their health and fitness goals in the coming year!

Walking, running & jogging

If you’re just starting your physical fitness journey, consider talking with your health care provider first and begin by adding walking to your daily routine. Various health organizations indicate there are countless 80380240benefits of walking. Doctors with Mayo Clinic, a medical non-profit and worldwide leader in medical care, research and education, indicate that combined with fewer caloric intake, 30 minutes of brisk walking every day can burn about 150 calories daily. Adding to that, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) reports that walking as little as 30 minutes a day can have more than just physical benefits – including reduced risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and osteoporosis, reduced risk for depression and other mental illnesses, as well as contributing to a reduction in air pollution.

view from towerTake advantage of the many walking paths and nature trails throughout Palm Beach County’s park system. The multiuse paths may be used for walking, jogging, running, skating or bicycling. Or, take it easy with a walk on any of our five nature trails, like the one at Daggerwing Nature Center, you may come across animals like ospreys, butterflies or wood storks. In addition to the physical benefits that come with exercising outdoors, various organizations like the University of Washington report that “green spaces” like these help control mental fatigue, stress and a variety of other mental issues.

Tip: A healthy brain is key to accomplishing all of the other goals on that New Year’s resolutions list!

Have a bike you’d like to pull out in 2016? We provide bicycle paths and off-road bicycle trails, as well as bicycle rentals, at some of our park locations.

Strength training & stretching

Staff at the Mayo Clinic report that strength training can help reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently – a proven method for losing weight, looking and feeling better!

It’s never too late to start strength training! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the benefits of strength training in elderly individuals, reporting the reduction of signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, obesity and others chronic diseases in those who strength-train regularly.00043.MTS.Still001

If you’re looking to add strength training to your exercise plan in 2016, take advantage of the recently-installed Fitness Zone® at John Prince Park. It contains 17 pieces of resistance exercise equipment under the shade – and it’s free to use every day, sunrise-sunset. At other parks, like Loxahatchee Groves and Burt Aaronson South County Regional, you can go through exercise courses and stations to stretch, balance, kick, jump and more. To learn more about the health benefits of stretching from the Mayo Clinic, click here.

Water activities

Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University offers a helpful guide to the benefits of water exercise, like swimming. Among the many benefits of exercising in the water are increased muscular flexibility, circulation and an improvement to the physique.

78032109The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers six aquatic centers where visitors can workout in the water for a low cost. Kids and adults can enjoy water aerobics, lap swimming, water walking and other water-related exercises.

South Florida’s weather is perfect for water activities! In 2016, make it part of your plan to discover Palm Beach County’s beautiful water bodies. Thousands of park-goers already take advantage of boating, canoeing and kayaking opportunities at inland county parks like Riverbend and Okeeheelee, as well as access to the Intracoastal Waterway and ocean from saltwater boat ramps located in parks like Phil Foster and Bert Winters. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available at select locations.

Tip: Canoeing and kayaking allows you to have a relaxing day out, as well as improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility.

Kids’ fitness

Adults aren’t the only ones who may want to improve their physical health in the coming year. Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation offers multiple options to get kids up and moving – including playgrounds, recreation centers and splashparks.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today! Visit www.pbcparks.com and find a county park near you.