Tag Archives: palm beach

Looking to head “off the beaten path”? Look no further than #pbcParks!

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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.

Archery

Archery_Okeeheelee.JPGThere 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

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.Kayaking_Riverbend_2.jpg

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.

Or, rent a kayak at Okeeheelee or Riverbend Park, as vendors are on-site (schedules vary):

  • 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.

BMX

BMX_Okeeheelee_1.JPGParents 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.
Equestrian

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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:

Radio-controlled fun

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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!Remote Helicopter_West Delray_1.jpg

1,000+ enjoy first ever Outdoor Adventure Day at John Prince Park

More than 1,000 kids, teens and adults from the Lake Worth and surrounding area enjoyed kayaking, archery, rock climbing, fishing and other activities during the first ever Outdoor Adventure Day at John Prince Park.

This event was a partnership between PBC Parks and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It’s the first time the two agencies are bringing these outdoor activities together to promote them to the Lake Worth and surrounding communities. It’s also part of a new initiative by PBC Parks to expose outdoor activities to urban youth who may be interested in nature and the environmental sciences, but may not have access to resources to study the environment or have opportunities to take part in similar outdoor activities to gain an appreciation for nature.

Watch the video to learn 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.

For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.

#pbcParks Builds Communities

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers countless opportunities to create and maintain bonds that help communities thrive and unite for good causes. In our more than 80 parks and recreation facilities, friendships are sparked through simple, every day encounters that bring together neighbors and communities. Regardless of age, gender, or ability, playtime is for everyone – so come explore, achieve and recharge in a PBC Park in or near your community!

The Office of Public Engagement created this 60-second public service announcement to portray the many community-building opportunities patrons have by visiting PBC Parks. The video includes original artwork and animation created by intern Carlos Duenas, Jr. with a voice over by Public Relations Specialist Bibi Baksh.

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.

For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.

First Ever Battle of the Loxahatchee at Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park

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Credit: Andrew Foster

Blog written by: John Welch, Riverbend Park Naturalist

The morning silence was broken the morning of Saturday, January 28th with the sound of artillery erupting from the battlefield here as we began a special event that recognizes the two battles that occurred at the site of Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park in January of 1838.

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Credit: Andrew Foster

The event itself spread out over two days with Friday being an educational day for schools to visit and get a new view of what the battles were about and who was involved. By noon on Friday, 230 students had cycled through the battlefield and visited a US Army camp, interacted with Seminole re-enactors as well as representatives from the Seminole Nation Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki museum and an exhibit on pioneer life in Florida. The students came away with a better idea of what the Second Seminole War was about, who the Seminole were, what life was like as a soldier in the field and on the battlefield and how the army moved about. Pioneer life exhibitor Gina Sauber gave them a better idea of family life in Old Florida. Two artillery/weapons demonstrations ensured that they were ready to return for the re-enactment on Saturday.

Saturday was the main exhibition day for the public. Exhibitors and guest speakers addressed the crowd covering topics from the interaction that occurred between Jesup and Lauderdale to battlefield archaeology to pioneer Florida. Weapons demonstrations and battlefield tours provided a glimpse into the engagements that occurred here and food trucks filled empty bellies.

This was the very first actual re-enactment attempted in the park and anticipation was high. This was indicated by the steadily growing attendance from early morning until re-enactment time at 2:00 pm. The re-enactment started as the Seminole moved out and fired on Jesup’s advancing troops who were approaching from the Northwest. Narration was provided by Guy Bachmann, president of the Loxahatchee Battlefield Preservationists who kept the crowd informed about what was taking place on the field. The Seminoles held down the Tennessee Volunteers until General Jesup, (Dick Kazmar, Loxahatchee Preservationist member), advanced to urge the troops on only to have his spectacles shot off his face. The battle raged on until Colonel Harney outflanked the Seminole and they gathered up their families, ( Girl Scouts Troop 20646), and retreated South.

By re-enactment start, the cars were lined up through the park all the way to Indiantown Road. The day ended with Mr. Bachmann giving a talk on the aftermath of the battle which was followed by a weapons demonstration.

A day of beautiful weather added to the success of the event. Both regular visitors as well as first timers in the park all reported that they had a great day.

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Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and is located at 9060 Indiantown Road, Jupiter. Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park is one of the most significant multi-level historic sites in Palm Beach County. Gateway to the Loxahatchee River, prehistoric and historic habitation has occurred along the Loxahatchee dating as far back as the Archaic Period over 5,000 years ago. The primary goal of the park 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. For more information on this park, and to view other parks and upcoming events, visit www.pbcparks.com.

Tips for enjoying #pbcParks

Planning a visit to a Palm Beach County-operated park? Check out these tips to help make your visit a happy, healthy one.

  1. 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.

  1. Use sun protection & stay hydrated:

Sunscreen Dispenser.jpgSun 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.
  1. 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.

  1. Coexist with animals:

Hundreds of animal species call our parks “home”. From wild birds to tortoises aDeer in Riverbend Park.JPGnd 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/

  1. Know where you can bring your dog:

Dogs are permitted in most county parks as long as they’re on a leashDog Park.jpg 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.

  1. Stay on the designated paths:

Bicyclists on Trail_Riverbend Park.JPGPBC 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 pbcparkrangers@pbcgov.org.

Westgate Recreation Center Teen Room Renovated

 Renovation to be featured on NBC show, “Billion Dollar Buyer”

In September, Palm Beach County’s Westgate Recreation Center received a much needed renovation to their teen room, thanks to two community organizations – ADT Always Cares and PBSO’s Police Athletic League.

The facility received new furniture, a new paint job, a new flat screen TV, and more. The kids and teens from the Westgate community now have more opportunities to play, learn and study after school.

The renovation will be featured on the NBC show, “Billion Dollar Buyer” in January 2017 – watch this short video for more!

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. Visit pbcParks.com for more information.

Okeeheelee Nature Center assists with Gray Fox release

In September, three Gray Fox kits were released into the wild at Palm Beach County’s Okeeheelee Nature Center in Okeeheelee Park, as part of a joint effort between Palm Beach County and the South Florida Wildlife Center.

View Flickr Gallery

The Gray Fox Kits

Before arriving at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC), the three fox kits were taken in as orphans by the South Florida Wildlife Center (SFWC).

Two of the foxes were sisters, arriving at SFWC in May 2015 from Hollywood Hills High School at just a month old and weighing about 300 grams each. They were bright, alert and responsive. The other fox was picked up – also at a month old – from Pelican Harbor Seabird Station in June, having been found at an unknown location in Miami-Dade County. He had a degloving wound on his tail, whereby the skin and fur are essentially torn off the bone. The wound was treated for about a month. All of the foxes were treated for parasites, vaccinated and hydrated.

During their 6-month stay in the rehabilitation facility at SFWC, the foxes learned essential survival skills  in their enclosure and were regularly vaccinated. Human contact was very limited to avoid imprinting, which is a serious problem when wild animals become accustomed to humans and lose their fear of people. Imprinted animals cannot be released into the wild and must spend the rest of their lives in captivity.

The Soft Release

View Flickr Gallery

The fox kits were 7 months old when they arrived at ONC in September 2015. They were released that same month in an area on the nature center’s 90-acre preserve. The release was coordinated by SFWC’s Release Specialist, Shelby Proie, as well as ONC’s Manager, Callie Sharkey.

The “soft release” process involved putting a temporary enclosure in the area where the fox kits were located, and feeding them for two to three days. During this time, the kits became accustomed to their new surroundings, allowing them to easily establish a territory soon after the doors open.

Wildlife trap cameras were put up inside the enclosure, as well as on a nearby tree in order to track the fox kits’ activities. When the doors opened, the foxes left after about 15 minutes. One fox returned three days later to observe the space, but didn’t stay. Volunteers and staff have seen tracks in the area, but not the actual foxes – which is a very good sign of their successful transition into the wild.

A release of this kind was a first for Okeeheelee Nature Center. Okeeheelee’s pine flatwoods habitat made it an ideal location for the fox release, since it’s reasonably protected and there’s plenty of food for the foxes to hunt and forage to survive on their own.

Okeeheelee Nature Center is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and features 2.5 miles of trails winding through 90 acres of pine flatwoods and wetlands. Highlights of the center include hands-on exhibits, animal encounters, and more. Guests can marvel at birds of prey, touch a live snake or prowl for owls during one of the many programs scheduled throughout the year for families, youth and adults.

This was a pre-approved and joint effort by the South Florida Wildlife Care Center, which is affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States. Palm Beach County’s three nature centers DO NOT serve as rehabilitation centers, nor can they accept injured or stray animals on site. Please contact the South Florida Wildlife Care Center directly [954-524-4302] if you find an injured or stray animal.