The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers many opportunities to take part in a variety of traditional activities like hiking, biking, jogging and more – but families can also enjoy lesser-known, more adventurous activities in PBC Parks! Check out the many different ways you and your family can enjoy the outdoors in some non-traditional ways in PBC Parks.
There are a few different ways kids and parents can work on their bow and arrow skills and even learn the sport of archery!
Okeeheelee Nature Center offers “Archery for Beginners” and “Archery Open Range” classes on select Saturdays each month. Be sure to subscribe to Leisure Times Online for full information about these two classes, including schedules and fees.
- Archery for Beginners: Learn the basics of archery from safety to shooting and develop a great new skill during this 2-hour program. Equipment is provided, and space is limited. Please wear close-toed shoes, and bring water and sun protection.
- Archery Open Range: Here is the chance to practice those new-found archery skills! This expansion of the archery program will offer participants new challenges and allow them to work on precision and accuracy with a compound bow. Equipment is provided, and space is limited. Please wear close-toed shoes, and bring water and sun protection.
For those interested in becoming part of an archery club, the Gold Coast Archery Club has a permit and operates a standard target range and a 3D range in West Delray Regional Park. The club encourages guests to attend all their events and meetings. Information is available through Gold Coast Archers’ website. Applications for membership are also available in a mailbox at the entrance to the range.
Kayaking and Canoeing are great ways to get out onto the water, discover new plants and animals, make new friends, and stay physically active. It’s also a great bonding activity for parents and kids to enjoy the water and get a great workout.
Canoes, kayaks, and other non-motorized vessels may be launched along any shoreline unless it is closed for a special event or private use if it can be carried without using a trailer to back onto the beach or grass area. Bring your own canoe/kayak and explore 20 PBC Parks.
- Okeeheelee Park: Rent a canoe, kayak, or pedal boat on weekends and holidays from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Bicycle rentals are also available (helmets are provided). Visit kayakkingwatersports.comor call for more information.
- Riverbend Park: Canoe and kayak rental is available Thursday through Monday(reservations are recommended). Bicycle rental is also available. Visit canoeoutfittersofflorida.com or call for reservations and more information.
Either way, you’ll have a blast exploring new areas or returning to your favorite kayaking or canoeing spot for more adventure.
Parents and kids can participate in BMX, a cycle sport that exposes adventurers to a thrill-packed good time. There are two PBC park locations to take part in or watch BMXers perform a variety of stunts on their bikes:
- The Okeeheelee BMX Track, located in Okeeheelee Park, west of West Palm Beach, is operated by the Okeeheelee BMX Parents Council, and is open to all members of the National Bicycle League. Membership in the league is open to anyone interested in joining the fun! For more information, call 561-642-6774 or visit www.okeeheeleebmx.com.
- The Loggers’ Run BMX Jump Course, located in Loggers’ Run Park in Boca Raton, is operated by Drop In Action Sports Complex, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, visit www.dropincomplex.org.
The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach hosts a number of equestrian shows throughout the year, like The Ridge Farm Series, PBC Mounted Posse Shows, Barrel Points and more. The world-class equestrian center is a great venue for these events, featuring a covered arena, show arenas and a range of amenities for competitors. Families can head to JBEC to experience and appreciate this sport.
Or, ride select PBC Equestrian trails and enjoy the scenery via horseback (*note PBC Parks does not offer horse rentals):
There are nine miles of equestrian trails located at the JBEC. Three other PBC park locations also offer miles of scenic equestrian trails:
Grab your hobby airplanes, boats, cars and helicopters and head to West Delray Regional Park and Dyer Park to race them, or just practice controlling them! Discovering radio-controlled fun can help parents and kids bond through learning while having fun doing something new.
The following radio-controlled fun devices can be operated in our parks:
Radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters (by permit only) – Watch radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters take off, fly, and do stunts in the air at West Delray Regional Park and Dyer Park!
Radio-controlled boats (by permit only) – There is a radio-controlled boat lake located at West Delray Regional Park where patrons can watch the boats sail past each other, and set their boats to sail on the lake!
Radio-controlled car tracks – no permit is required to operate radio-controlled cars on tracks located at West Delray Regional Park, so bring out the cars and kids and practice on these unique tracks!
Planning a visit to a Palm Beach County-operated park? Check out these tips to help make your visit a happy, healthy one.
- Lock your car & store your belongings properly:
Park Rangers and Law Enforcement are present at select county parks for your safety; however, if you’ll be traveling by vehicle, leave your valuables at home. Don’t leave bags, boxes, cell phones and other electronics and money on display in your vehicle. If you cannot take these items with you into the park, be sure to lock them safely in your trunk, where they’re out of view, before you arrive. Finally, lock all your doors and windows upon leaving your car.
- Use sun protection & stay hydrated:
Sun protection and hydration are especially important in South Florida’s climate. Follow these tips for proper sun protection:
- The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am-4pm, so be especially cautious during these times.
- If you run out of water, most county parks have drinking fountains located near restroom buildings.
- Apply and re-apply sunscreen. Coconut Cove Water Park and select Palm Beach County beach parks offer sunscreen dispensers so patrons have access to free sun protection.
- Wear protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants, when possible.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Wear flip flops or shoes when walking on sand.
- Know ‘Trash In, Trash Out’ locations:
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation has identified a number of parks that have “trash in, trash out” policies, including Riverbend Park, and many neighborhood parks. We ask park visitors to dispose of any waste they may carry into the park, outside the park. This ensures a clean habitat for the animals living in our parks and helps maintain an aesthetic environment for park visitors, while reducing maintenance costs.
- Coexist with animals:
Hundreds of animal species call our parks “home”. From wild birds to tortoises and bobcats to alligators, every animal plays an important role in each ecosystem. Disturbing the animals in our parks may do harm to them and their ecosystems, yourself, or the people around you. Please maintain a safe distance and do not approach animals when you come across them.
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation discourages feeding wildlife as it reduces the animal’s natural fear of humans and may create safety issues. Please take notice of signs in many of our parks denoting safety recommendations for areas which may be home to alligators.
See our blog for a video on coexisting with our parks’ animals: https://pbcparks.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/tips-on-coexisting-with-our-parks-animals/
- Know where you can bring your dog:
Dogs are permitted in most county parks as long as they’re on a leash no longer than six feet. Dogs are not allowed on county beaches, pools, water parks, splash parks, and these other locations.
PBC Parks operates three spacious and well-maintained dog parks for your furry friends to run, jump and play! Whether they’re big or small, your pooch will have fun at these three dog parks.
- Stay on the designated paths:
PBC Parks and Recreation makes it easy for you to explore our natural areas with park and trail maps. Veering off these paths and into areas not meant for exploration may disturb the animals and plants that live in the areas and may pose a safety risk to you and your family. Please observe these areas from the designated trails and paths, using maps and guides for assistance.
As the saying goes, #pbcParks asks that you “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time” to fully enjoy our parks.
Park Ranger information:
Park Rangers are nearby to greet and assist you, answer questions, and watch out for your well-being. If you have a question for a Palm Beach County Park Ranger, you can give them a call at 561-262-1714 or email email@example.com.
Animals 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 Palm 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 to 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 programs, 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 #pbcParks
- 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!
For more about spotting and interacting with animals in our parks and nature centers, visit pbcParks.com.
At a number of Palm Beach County Parks, kids and families can experience the unique culture and history of South Florida and Palm Beach County. Check out these parks where families can learn and explore together!
The DuBois Pioneer Home is located inside Palm Beach County’s DuBois Park in Jupiter. Built in 1898, by Harry DuBois for his wife Susan, the DuBois Pioneer Home is one of the last remaining historic homesteads of its type in northern Palm Beach County. Located along the Jupiter Inlet in DuBois Park, the DuBois Pioneer Home is more commonly known as “the house on the hill,” where parents and kids can walk into an excellent example of a self-sufficient South Florida Pioneer homestead. Inside, visitors will not only find original relics that belonged to one of Jupiter’s most notable pioneer families in the early 20th century, they’ll also experience what life was like for a Florida pioneer.
Built atop a Native American shell rock midden by the DuBois Family, this unique homestead is rich in both historic and archeological value. Originally over 600 feet long and 20 feet high, the hill is a remnant of one of the last coastal shell mounds in southeast Florida. Artifacts dating back several thousand years have been discovered at this site; at one point, the entire park was a thriving village where ancient Floridians lived. Signage in front of the house indicates the midden was built by the Jeaga, a tribe of Native Americans Johnathan Dickinson once wrote about.
There are two cannons located inside DuBois Park; one located in front of the DuBois Pioneer Home and the other located near the children’s swim lagoon. The shipwrecked cannons and anchor were recovered in 1987, and are linked to the Spanish vessel named “San Miguel De Archangel” that was bound for Spain; in 1659, the San Miguel foundered and wrecked off what’s known today as the Jupiter Inlet.
Visit pbcParks.com for a more information about the DuBois Pioneer home, including a complete tour schedule – tours are free!
Pineapple House (DuBois Park)
Now located inside Palm Beach County’s DuBois Park, The Pineapple House was once located on a piece of property near present day U.S. Highway 1, on a plot of land where Harry DuBois farmed pineapples. The little shed was built to store the harvested crops, and for a while it was also a rental house. DuBois later purchased a plot of land, now DuBois Park, as the site of the home where he would bring his new bride, Susan. DuBois floated the Pineapple House up the river to DuBois Park, and lived in it while he constructed what is now the DuBois Pioneer Home atop the shell midden. According to DuBois’ son, John, the Pineapple House is one of the oldest wooden structures still remaining in Palm Beach County today, and it pre-dates the DuBois house by at least several years.
Internationally recognized as one of South Florida’s most significant Japanese culture hubs, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is located in Delray Beach. Since it’s opening in 1977, the Morikami has been a center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida. With rotating exhibitions, tea ceremonies performed monthly, educational outreach programs, and Japanese traditional festivals celebrated for the public several times a year, there’s always an opportunity at Morikami to expand your horizons and gain an appreciation for the living culture of Japan.
Besides the museum, where parents and kids can experience multiple exhibitions that feature historical and contemporary Japanese culture, including more than 7,000 Japanese art objects and artifacts, the Morikami boasts expansive Japanese gardens with strolling paths, a world-class bonsai collection and lakes teeming with koi and other wildlife. A visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens will give families a unique sense of culture and appreciation.
For more information about the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, including rates, hours and location, visit http://www.morikami.org.
Located in Jupiter, Palm Beach County’s Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park and Riverbend Park are adjacent to one another. Both parks are unique historic sites in Palm Beach County, perfect for exploring as a family.
The Gateway to the Loxahatchee River, prehistoric and historic habitation has occurred along the Loxahatchee dating as far back 5,000 years ago. Two battles of the Loxahatchee have taken place in Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park – including Powell’s Battle and Jesup’s Battle, both in 1838. Parents and kids can read about both battles in Riverbend Park, where Florida Historical Markers have been installed for each battle. Visitors to this park can still experience a sense of “Old Florida” that’s unique to this park setting.
At historic Riverbend Park, kids and families can take a step back in time and enjoy walking, biking, riding or canoeing. From the ancient Indian middens, through the Seminole War Battles, visitors have the opportunity to see Florida as the first settlers did. Stroll along the Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River, visit the Cracker Farmstead, and picnic in the shade under a Seminole chickee.
There are a number of free events offered throughout the year where parents and kids can not only experience battle reenactments, but will also get an idea of what life was like in the 1800’s in this region; in January, visitors can experience a Loxahatchee Battle Reenactors Muster in Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park. During this two-day event, families can watch battle reenactments in a historical setting while learning about the battles and era from historians and re-enactors. In November, a Pioneer Farmstead Day is held at Riverbend Park. Definitely a family event, visitors can spend the day on the “Turn of the Century Farmstead” and enjoy crafters, activities, the Sawmill, roping and riding demos, and more.
The goal of Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation is to preserve and protect these cultural resources, while providing education and passive recreation opportunities for the public to experience this beautiful place and its history.
Palm Beach County’s Limestone Creek Park is a neighborhood park in Jupiter – the park itself is less than an acre, but much can be learned about the history surrounding the Limestone Creek Community through a visit to the park. A Florida Historical Marker was installed inside the park in 2016 to commemorate the community’s vast history. The marker explains how the Limestone Creek Community opened their own “Jupiter Colored School” inside the local church, despite racial tensions and segregation laws, more than 100 years ago. Kids and parents can learn how the community came together in the name of education and equality after the 1928 hurricane destroyed the church, by reading the Historical Marker. A visit to Limestone Creek Park will no doubt bring kids and parents a sense of culture and community, along with an educational experience.
For more about the Florida Historical Marker in this park, take a look at our blog post: https://pbcparks.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/limestone-creek-community-celebrates-florida-historic-marker/
In addition to being a popular saltwater fishing site and beach park, Ocean Inlet Park is also a location of a Florida Historical Marker that commemorates the South Lake Worth Inlet, which was constructed between 1925 and 1927. The inlet has been the site of a number of historically significant moments; it was the site of the world’s first fixed sand bypassing plant in 1937; during World War II, the Mar Lago Hotel, which overlooked the inlet, was used by the U.S. Coast Guard as a lookout post for enemy submarines.
Today, kids and families can visit the park to stroll the beach, take a swim, have a picnic, and take a gander at the Historic Marker to appreciate the inlet’s historical significance.
At Canal Point Community Center, parents and kids stop at a kiosk right outside the facility to learn more about the vast historical significance that the Glades region holds for Palm Beach County. Go through a timeline of the historically significant events in the region, and learn about the importance agriculture plays in the community.
South Bay RV Park – historic railroad worker’s cottage
Inside South Bay RV Park, parents and kids can experience a number of recreational opportunities, like biking, boating and camping. Located inside the park is the 1,656 square foot historic railroad worker’s cottage, a 1920’s era frame vernacular cottage, which was originally a FEC Railroad’s section foreman’s house located along a railroad spur in downtown South Bay. The railroad cottage is one of the only two structures left in South Bay which pre-date the 1928 hurricane that brought destruction to the Glades area. Although tours are not being given at this time, the historic railroad worker’s cottage still sits inside South Bay RV Park, and is an interesting sight for parents and kids to experience.
John Stretch Memorial Park – retired machinery
Situated in Clewiston near Lake Okeechobee with access to the lake, John Stretch Park was named after John Stretch, Recreation Director for the Central and South Florida Control District until 1970. In the park, visitors can see a number of old machinery on display, including a Nordberg Manufacturing Company two-stroke diesel radial engine that was formerly used as part of a flood control facility for Lake Okeechobee. Several diesel engines, valves, and pipes that were once part of the flood control facility are also on display inside the park.
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. They achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.
In October, Palm Beach County’s West Jupiter Recreation Center hosted their “Lights On Afterschool” event, where students, parents and faculty celebrate the importance of afterschool programs.
WJRC offers an afterschool program for about 40 kids – the kids play different sports, learn about healthy eating, help grow a garden, do arts and crafts and more.
“We just make them a better person, we build their self-esteem,” said WJRC Afterschool Director Rico Adona. Watch this video to see the benefits of the afterschool program at West Jupiter Recreation Center!