Have you met Abel, one of Okeeheelee Nature Center’s Animal Ambassadors? Watch #pbcParks “Animal Encounters” to learn more about him and the behavior of Red Shouldered Hawks!
Did you know that Coontie is part of a classification of plants that’s been around for millions of years? Watch this short video to learn about some unique facts about these interesting plants, including how they’re beneficial by both humans and animals!
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 10 features Rachel Stauffer, she’s a mom of three kids, a 7th generation Floridian and a children’s pastor who frequented parks as a child and with her kids. She reached out to PBC Parks for more information about opportunities for recreation to share with her community.
Lorraine DiFrancisco has been a volunteer at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for the past four years. She serves as a general volunteer and is currently a docent-in-training at the facility.
According to DiFrancisco, being in the docent program with her fellow docents means she can give tours to school groups, clubs, and organizations. She has also been a greeter at the Yamato-kan and main museum, as well as a volunteer at annual festivals, like Oshogatsu and the Lantern Festival.
DiFrancisco’s favorite thing about volunteering at the Morikami is that it allows her “to meet and interact with people from all over the world,” she said. She loves sharing the things she has learned with others so that they can better understand and appreciate all that the Morikami has to offer.
Did you know that native lizards, Green Anoles, can change colors depending on their mood or temperature? Watch #pbcParks “Animal Encounters” to learn some more fun facts about these interesting animals!
Have you seen beautiful, bright purple berries while visiting PBC Parks? Beautyberry can be spotted at a number of our parks! Watch this short video to learn about some unique facts about these stunning plants, including how they’re beneficial to both humans and animals!
The Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) has awarded Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation as the 2019 recipient of the Excellence in Sports Tourism Award given out at the FRPA Annual Conference held in Orlando. This award recognizes the outstanding work done by the Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation department to advance the park and recreation profession in the area of Sports Tourism. To be considered for this award, a department must be an FRPA member in good standing and nominated by a Florida Sports Foundation Industry Partner in good standing (Regional Sports Commission).
“Sports Tourism is dependent upon partnerships such as the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation department and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission working toward the common goal of not only continually bringing in repeat events each year, but increasing the scope of those events where possible and working together to identify new events. This award demonstrates just how important it is to have a great parks and recreation system in place in order to boost sports tourism”, says George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to engaging the Palm Beach County Sports Commission in order to effectively develop, promote and provide outstanding recreational opportunities and amenities for the purpose of sports tourism. In doing so, this partnership annually contributes over $27 million in economic impact and continues to be a premier destination for sports enthusiasts around the world to “Just Bring Their Game” to Palm Beach County.
“I am extremely proud to have been awarded the 2019 FRPA Excellence in Sports Tourism award. The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation department prides itself on being a nationally recognized parks and recreation leader that connects people and parks by being the premier outdoor recreation destination in south Florida. By partnering with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, we ensure that sports enthusiasts from around the world know of, visit and use our parks, and spread the word about the great sporting opportunities here in Palm Beach County.I’m also grateful to the County Commission and our Administration for their unwavering support of the Parks and Recreation Department and the benefits our services generate for the community,” said PBC Parks Director Eric Call.
The Florida Recreation and Park Association annually awards park and recreation agencies, employees, volunteers and partners that have made an impact on their community. Nominees must submit information and details supporting the nomination and a volunteer committee made up of their peers reviews and rates the submissions. The FRPA Awards presentation takes place at the Annual FRPA Conference in August. Winners are presented with a plaque and recognition through the FRPA Journal. More information on the Awards Program can be found at frpa.org/awards.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.