Category Archives: Water Activities

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.

Burt Aaronson South County Regional ParkSouthCounty_CoconutCoveWaterpark.JPG

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.

 

 

 

 

Tips: Tourist and Visitor Safety on our Beaches

 

Beaches are the number one reason visitors come to Palm Beach County – and #pbcParks wants to keep every visitor safe – on the sand and in the water.

Watch this short video for everything you need to know about staying safe while enjoying our 16 county-operated beach parks – from rip currents and lifeguard flags to sun exposure and more!

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.

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

Palm Beach County in top 100 family-friendly places to boat and fish

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Lake Okeeheelee in Okeeheelee Park (Courtesy: FWC)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department scored two local spots on a recent list of the nation’s best fishing and boating locales. Lake Osborne in John Prince Park and Okeeheelee Fish Management Area in Okeeheelee Park made the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns’ 2016 Top 100 Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in the U.S. list. The Top 100 list was released leading up to National Fishing and Boating Week.

Cooperatively managed by the FWC and Palm Beach County, both sites provide great access and good recreational fishing for casual family outings and serious anglers alike. Fishing piers, boat ramps, fish attractors and fish feeders are combined with fish stocking and habitat enhancement to create productive angling that is easy to access. This collaboration allows both agencies to offer better recreational opportunities for their mutual constituents.

“These areas are readily available for residents and visitors alike and are known for producing some great angling opportunities,” said FWC regional Freshwater Fisheries administrator Barron Moody.

Lake Osborne is a 356-acre lake in suburban Lake Worth, with much of the shoreline incorporated in John Prince Park. It is easily accessed via John Prince Park, which offers ample shoreline access, fishing access from piers, and a two-lane paved boat ramp in excellent condition with an additional boat ramp located within the John Prince Lake

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Lake Osborne in John Prince Park (Courtesy: FWC)

Osborne in John Prince ParkPark Campground. The lake provides above-average fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish, channel catfish and exotic Mayan cichlid. Other species include black
crappie (specks), sunshine bass stocked by the FWC plus peacock bass. Some outstanding largemouth bass fishing can be found there, with fish exceeding 8 pounds.  A brochure with map are at MyFWC.com/fishing, click “Freshwater,” “Sites & Forecasts,” “South Region” and “Lake Osborne.”

Okeeheelee FMA is a 157-acre lake conveniently situated in West Palm Beach. This site offers fishing from the shoreline as well as piers. Okeeheelee FMA contains an abundance of native sunfish and hatchery-raised catfish. The catfish are stocked each year to maintain a steady supply of fish for anglers. FWC fisheries biologist John Cimbaro has been co-managing the lake with Palm Beach County for over 15 years.

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Lake Okeeheelee in Okeeheelee Park (Courtesy: FWC)

“While Okeeheelee bass average less than 14 inches, their abundance here offers plenty of action and fun on light fishing tackle or fly fishing gear,” said Cimbaro. “This is also a perfect spot for someone who is learning to fish for bass to get lots of practice.”

Gasoline motors may not be used on boats at Okeeheelee, making it a peaceful site to fish from kayak or canoe. A brochure with map are at MyFWC.com/fishing, then click on “Freshwater,” “Sites & Forecasts,” “Fish Management Areas” then “Lake Okeeheelee.”

Along with fishing enhancements, both sites offer abundant parking, lakeside trails, playgrounds, picnic pavilions, restrooms and other amenities for a great family trip. Both Okeeheelee and John Prince Park are owned by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, and ensuring access to beaches and water bodies are a core service of their department.

The RBFF’s Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns held a nationwide vote to provide families with a recommended list of locations to visit. Criteria for these top locales included not only the quality of fishing and boating, but proximity to urban areas for easy access and the presence of amenities that contribute to a fun family outing.

National Water Safety Month: staying safe in #pbcParks

Swim Lessons
Enroll your child in swimming lessons at a county pool or park.

As the summer months sneak up on us, our department is making sure our park patrons are staying safe in our many aquatic-themed parks and facilities.

As April was proclaimed Water Safety Month in Palm Beach County, and earlier this year, Governor Scott signed a proclamation supporting the month of May as Water Safety Month for the State of Florida, it’s clear that Florida is one of the states where water safety is most critical. In fact, this week (May 21-27) is Boating Safety Week – and Palm Beach County’s parks and beaches are popular locations for not only boaters, but swimmers, fishermen, kayakers, paddle-boarders, surfers, divers, and many others who enjoy our beautiful county pools, parks and beaches.

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Lifeguards protect patrons at 14 oceanfront and inlet parks.

While our department’s Ocean Rescue staff at beaches, water parks and pools work diligently to prevent water-related incidents, we want to make sure park patrons are aware of water safety-related resources that are available to make sure all preventable incidents are avoided.

In 2014, Palm Beach County had 43 unintentional drowning deaths. Our staff is committed to providing safe environments for kids and adults to enjoy the water. Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent water-related incidents at pools, beaches and other water-themed parks & facilities:

  • Enroll children in swimming lessons at a county pool or water park: Palm Beach County makes it easy for adults and children to learn simple skills that may turn out to be life-saving.
    • All classes are taught by American Red Cross certified Water Safety instructors.
    • Because there are so many aquatics-related recreational activities available to Palm Beach County residents and visitors in our parks & facilities, knowing proper swimming techniques is key in easily preventing water-related incidents.
    • Swim lessons include training in basic water safety and helping others in an emergency.
  • Adults – keep an eye on children and avoid distractions – sometimes it helps to put the phone or tablet down!
  • Never swim alone – use the buddy system
  • Use proper boating safety techniques – wear a life vest!
  • Follow the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) Top 10 Beach and Water Safety Tips.
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June 5-12 is National Beach Safety Week.

June 5 – 12 is National Beach Safety Week! Throughout the summer, we will keep you informed on more water safety tips – including Beach Safety from our lifeguards – so keep following our blog for more helpful tips to make our parks & facilities even more enjoyable!

We operate more than 80 regional, district, community, beach, and neighborhood parks, spanning several thousand acres. Our mission 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. This is achieved by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

Visit www.pbcparks.com for more information.