Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation. Episode 11 features Emily Briceno, Jemma Currie, and Marina Barto. They’re students who lead a group called Surface 71, a non-profit organization that helps keep our oceans and communities clean by raising awareness of plastic pollution, hosting and participating in cleanup events in parks and beaches, and working to get other students involved in their efforts.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, PBC Parks teamed up with the County’s Environmental Resources Department (ERM), along with other community organizations, to host a weekend beach cleanup event on the morning of Saturday, September 7. The cleanups were prompted by the impacts of Hurricane Dorian, which caused large volumes of plastic, trash and debris to wash ashore.
Groups of at least a dozen hard-working volunteers at each site — DuBois Park, Ocean Reef Park, Ocean Inlet Park, Ocean Cay Park and R.G. Kreusler Beach Park — spent part of their Saturday morning removing all sorts of trash from along the shore and around the park. After two hours of work, they volunteers from all the sites managed to collect hundreds of pounds of trash.
Volunteers will have another opportunity to help keep our beaches clean during the International Coastal Cleanup event on Saturday, September 21 at select beach parks. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help keep Palm Beach County’s shorelines clean and green, for the health and enjoyment of beach visitors and the animals who call them home!
Boynton Beach residents Jessica and Sandy Rowley are a mother-daughter duo, who, for the past 25 years, have made a habit out of cleaning up parks and natural areas around the area to ensure a cleaner, safer community. So naturally, when they heard about Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation’s Skip the Straw Day Beach Cleanup on the morning news, they immediately wanted to be a part of the effort.
“Every little bit helps, we come here all the time, might as well keep it clean,” said Jessica.
On the morning of February 22, roughly a dozen volunteers made their way to Ocean Inlet Park to help rid the popular beach of litter. It was held on National Skip the Straw Day, in an effort to bring attention to the issue of non-degradable litter often found on Palm Beach County beaches. The unofficial holiday encourages people to recognize the harmful effects of non-degradable plastic commonly known to contaminate the ocean and harm marine life.
Volunteers liked the Rowleys filled a 33-gallon trash bag with debris from the beach park. Every volunteer received a bag containing a t-shirt, water, snacks & environmental literature, and pickers, gloves and garbage bags were supplied.
For the mother-daughter team, the cleanup was important because it helps strengthen their appreciation for nature. “We love getting out in nature and enjoying everything and seeing all the animals… and it’s sad to see garbage everywhere,” said Jessica.
For more information about volunteering for the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, visit pbcparks.com.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Palm 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!
- 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.
- Coconut Cove Waterpark is located inside Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton. The waterpark features an 897-foot river ride, lily pad walk, two water slides, a children’s water playground pool, and more.
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, playing 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.
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.
For 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.
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.