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!
DuBois Pioneer Home (DuBois Park)
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.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
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.
Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park/Riverbend Park
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.