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Focus on Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center
Find Excitement – At a Broward County Water Park
Bicycle Month Returns
Water of Life
Two Spring-Break Alternatives
Listen To Learn
Buggin’ in Broward
Renaissance Revisited
Find the Stars – And Not Just on the Red Carpet
A Few Good Causes
Top o’ the Morning
Walks on the Wild Side
A Dog’s Life
Advisory Board/Public Participation Forum Notice
Quote of the Month
Special Attractions
Mission Statement
Your Opinion Counts!
SWIM Central
Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Focus on Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center

At 157 acres, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, in the Town of Davie, is one of the largest natural areas managed by the Parks and Recreation Division. The site is well known as the former location for the Kapok Tree Inn restaurant and the Pioneer City theme park. The nature center, which opened on March 14, 2008, was built using funds from the 2000 Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond Referendum.

As recently as a century ago this elevated oak hammock was part of a series of islands surrounded by Everglades marshes. Long Key encompasses some of the most significant archaeological, historical, and ecological resources in the county, as the area was inhabited by the ancient Tequestas and the more modern Seminoles.

Long Key’s magnificent live oak hammock has served as an important habitat for wildlife and is one of the largest remaining stands of upland hardwood forest in Broward. Typical trees found in the hardwood forest include live oak, red bay, paradise tree, strangler fig, and the occasional cabbage palm and gumbo limbo. Among the diverse plants you can see are many species of epiphytic bromeliads and ferns that abundantly line the limbs of the oaks.

Additional features include a 14-acre orange grove, a remnant of a once-active citrus industry; restored wetland marshes, which have become a haven for a variety of migratory and resident birds; several man-made ponds and canals; and an active bird roost/rookery. The site is also a refuge for butterflies and a variety of mammals, including foxes and bobcats. The property’s Baez House is a restored 1940s farmhouse that received a 2007 award from the Broward County Historical Commission, which recommended that the house be designated an Archaeological and Historical Cultural Resource Site. (Group tours are available by reservation; call the park for details.)

The centerpiece of the park is the 18,050-square-foot nature center building, which includes an assembly hall (the Oak Hammock Hall, available for rentals), an exhibit hall, a classroom (the Discovery Room), a small theater, offices, a catering kitchen, and restrooms. A bridge spanning an educational pond connects the nature center to nature trails totaling about three-quarters of a mile, and an equestrian trail runs through the site and connects with the Davie Multipurpose Trail that runs along the perimeter.

The nature center’s grounds include a major Public Art and Designinstallation by artist Lorna Jordan called Island Garden. One of the artist’s concerns is the idea of the garden as a framework for enhancing habitat, and in that context this work heightens the visitor’s experience of the nature center’s topography. Pathway mosaics make reference to the sedimentary layers that have created the aquifer’s layers of limestone, sand, and sandstone; pools and planters reveal the interaction between water and plants; and benches and a trellis system provide a contemplative place to experience shade and the coolness of water.

For more information, call Long Key at 954-357-8797.

Find Excitement – At a Broward County Water Park

Our four aquatics facilities reopen for the season in March. From Saturday, March 10 through Sunday, March 18, the following water parks will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m.: Paradise Cove at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines; Tropical Splash at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill; Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach; and Castaway Island at T.Y. Park in Hollywood. The water parks will be open the same hours on Saturdays and Sundays only from March 24 through April 29.

For water park fees and additional information, call C.B. Smith at 954-357-5170, Central Broward Regional at 954-357-5400, Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100, or T.Y. at 954-357-8811. C.B. Smith is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #3, #5, #7, #23, and 95 Express; Central Broward Regional via Routes #18, #36, #40, and #81; Quiet Waters via Routes #14 and #48; and T.Y. via Routes #3, #12, and #17.

Bicycle Month Returns

When a week’s worth of events proved popular with the public, the organizers of Bicycle Week opted to expand it to Bicycle Month in 2008. Florida Bicycle Month 2012, returning after a two-year hiatus, now includes more than 30 events and activities from March 1 through 31. The purposes of this special month are to promote bicycle safety and education; to provide leisure and recreational bicycling opportunities for all ages and abilities; and to offer competitive/challenging cycling opportunities throughout Broward County within both the public and the private sectors.

Bicycle Month 2012 is made possible by Broward County, along with Broward Cycle, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, CycleMobility, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Velodrome Association, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, the South Florida Bike Coalition, and South Florida Commuter Services. Together these organizations have committed to hosting bicycle rodeos, recreational rides, bike-to-work challenges, nature bike hikes, lunchtime rides, bicycle scavenger hunts, and tandem rides for the visually impaired. Times, fees, locations, and registration requirements vary. Our Website features a calendar detailing the month’s activities.

Water of Life

Water is an integral component of the quality of life to both residents and visitors alike in Broward County. This month two major events in parks attest to the importance water holds in our lives, in terms of both recreation and daily life.

The county’s largest environmental event, the 35th Annual Waterway Cleanup, returns to Broward from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 10. The event is organized by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) in cooperation with civil, public, and private partners to promote environmental awareness and responsibility. This year nearly two dozen sites will participate, including the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood, Franklin Park and Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park in Fort Lauderdale, and Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach.

Last year the event attracted 1,180 volunteers to work at waterfront locations and on floating sites on the Intracoastal Waterway. Approximately 18.6 tons of trash and debris was collected from the county’s roughly 300 miles of navigable waterways, canals, and shorelines.

Participants should wear clothes that they don’t mind getting dirty, as well as gloves and shoes. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and drinking water are also recommended. For more information, call MIASF at 954-524-2733, visit www.waterwaycleanup.com, or e-mail waterwaycleanup@miasf.org. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12; Franklin via Routes #11, #36, and #40; Delevoe via Routes #11 and #40; and Secret Woods via Route #6.

The second event that will focus on water quality and conservation is Water Matters Day, also scheduled for Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tree Tops Park in Davie. Now in its 10th year – the theme is “A Decade of Difference” – the county’s signature water event educates residents on what they can do to protect our drinking-water supplies. Among the relevant topics covered will be water conservation techniques, smart irrigation, and native landscaping.

This family-oriented event features live music (environmental folk singer Grant Livingtston), approximately 40 educational booths and exhibits, giveaways (including native plants), hands-on activities, children’s workshops, and more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners, Broward Workshop, the School Board of Broward County, and the South Florida Water Management District partner for the event.

Admission to Water Matters Day is free, although Tree Tops’ regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. For more information, visit www.broward.org/watermatters.

Two Spring-Break Alternatives

Don’t let your spring-breaker squander all his or her time when there are other possibilities out there. For horse enthusiasts, for example, there’s the Spring Break Equestrian Camp at the stables at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek. The camp, for ages 9 to 16, runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Monday, March 12 through Thursday, March 15, and the cost is $75 per day.

Instruction includes breeds and colors of horses; anatomy of the horse; appropriate riding equipment, tack, and general care of the horse in the show ring and on the trails; nutrition and feeding; and horse care – routine, preventive, and therapeutic maintenance. Other activities include videos, indoor/outdoor games, and farm activities. Children must provide their own lunches and snacks. Long pants and closed-toe shoes are required, and participants should also bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a towel. Preregistration is required, and fees must be paid and a release and waiver of liability completed and signed at the time of registration. For more information, call Tradewinds at 954-357-8870 or the park’s stables at 954-357-8720.

Or you could take your kid(s) on a camping trip without going far from home. The School’s Out – Camp Out! Special at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, which also runs March 12-15, offers a special rate of $17.50 per campsite per night for up to four campers. Add up to two more campers for $3 each per night. You can even bring up to two pets for $1 each per night.

You don’t even have to bring a tent – the park’s Rent-a-Tent campground has platform tents and tepees already set up and ready to move into. Each site has water, electricity, a picnic table, a grill, and a fire ring. Other park amenities nearby include mountain bike trails, a marina with boat rentals, lakes for fishing, and Ski Rixen USA cable water-skiing. For more information, call Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100.

Listen To Learn

The Lunch-and-Learn Nature Series lecture program that has been so popular at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood concludes this month with a presentation from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 9. The topic is “Ensuring the Survival of Florida’s Coral Reefs: Historical Perspectives and Forecasting the Future,” and the guest lecturer is Abby Reneger, a marine biologist with the National Coral Reef Institute.

Preregistration is required a week prior to the event. A $5 donation to the Friends of the Anne Kolb Nature Center volunteer group gets you in and gets you lunch. For more information, call Anne Kolbat 954-357-5161. The nature center is accessible via Broward County TransitRoute #12.

Also drawing to a close this month: the Propagation Lecture series at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach. The final installment focuses on “Grafting” and features a lecture and hands-on instruction in various techniques. The program is for ages 12 and up and runs $5/person. For more information, call Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

Buggin’ in Broward

Parks and Recreation offers three opportunities to find out more about the insect world this month. From 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach will conduct Insectigations, a look at our six-legged friends (and sometimes enemies) presented by the University of Florida’s Paul Bardunias, who will bring in some of his favorite creatures for participants to observe. The program is free and for all ages.

The next day, Sunday, March 25, from noon to 12:30 p.m., also at Secret Woods, Delightful Flight will introduce you to some of South Florida’s butterflies and share information on what to plant to attract them. The fee is $1.50 per person.

That still leaves you time to get over to Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center on Sunday, March 25, for a 2 p.m. presentation called Bugged Beyond Belief, featuring entomologist, photographer, and composer John Lampkin. He’ll use his new book of insect macrophotography as a starting point for an educational, visually artistic, and entertaining look at the bugs in our back yards. Lampkin has been the compiler for the North American Butterfly Association’s counts in Rockland County, New York, for the past decade, and coincidentally, he has written a woodwind quartet, Insects: A Musical Entomology in Six Legs, that won the grand prize at the 2001 Composers Guild international competition. The program is free.

For more information, call Secret Woods at 954-357-8884 or Long Keyat 954-357-8797. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

Renaissance Revisited

Each year the Florida Renaissance Festival brings a taste of the Renaissance to Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, and this year the celebration marks its 20th anniversary. Visiting kings and queens will all claim land for their respective countries, and the festival’s makeshift village will be packed with artisans and crafts people selling and demonstrating their wares, not to mention rides, nearly a dozen stages featuring continuous entertainment, and hearty food and drink of the time.

The festival, now in its final days, runs from 10 a.m. to sunset on Saturdays and Sundays through March 11. Admission is $20 for ages 12 and up, $7 for ages 6 to 11, and free for ages 5 and under. Group rates are also available. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50 per person (children 5 and under free) will also be in effect.

For additional information, call Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100 or the festival at 954-776-1642, or visit www.ren-fest.com. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #14 and #48.

Find the Stars – And Not Just on the Red Carpet

Hollywood may turn out every year for the Academy Awards, but another kind of star – the heavenly kind – inhabits the South Florida sky every night. And every quarter the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) gets together at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek to discuss all things astronomical.

The free program is called An Evening With the Stars, and the latest installment starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 9. Speakers will cover basic telescope techniques and general astronomy information. For more information, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.

The SFAAA also opens the Fox Observatory at Markham Park in Sunrise every Saturday evening, weather permitting, from dusk to midnight. For more information on the SFAAA, call 954-384-0442 or e-mail info@sfaaa.com.

A Few Good Causes

When Meggan Morency, a high school junior who loved horseback riding, was fatally injured in an equestrian jumping accident on February 13, 2003, a young life was cut short. That life is now commemorated annually with the Meggan Morency Ride-a-Thon, which raises money for scholarships in the equine-assisted therapeutic riding program sponsored by Horses and the Handicapped. This year the event, now in its ninth year, will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek. Horses and the Handicapped was founded in 1981 to provide therapeutic horseback riding and other equine activities for children and adults with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Admission is free, although the park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. For more information, call 954-974-2007. Tradewinds is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.

A week later, on Saturday, March 10, Vista View Park in Davie will host the Fight Like a Guy 5K Run/Walk, a Miles for Hope fundraiser in support of research to cure brain tumors. Registration is at 8 a.m., followed by the run/walk at 9 a.m. The fee is $25/participant, and the park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect for spectators. For more information, call Miles for Hope at 727-781-4673, e-mail info@MilesForHope.org, or visit www.BrainTumorEvents.org/FightLikeAGuy

In 2007 a South Florida girl named Kendra had just turned 4 when she died of a cancerous brain tumor. Two years later, the Kendra’s Kisses Memorial 5K Run/Walk was launched as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Kendra Vermont Foundation, which provides social, emotional, and financial support to families and caregivers of children with cancer. This year’s chip-timed event, the fourth annual, will take place on Sunday, March 25 at Markham Park in Sunrise. Refreshments, food, and entertainment will be provided immediately following the event, and awards will be given in several categories. For more information, visit the event Website, www.kendraskisses.org. Markham Park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #23.

End the month on a high note on Saturday, March 31 with the 2012 Broward County Walk To Cure Diabetes, sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Registration for the event, at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill, starts at 7:30 a.m., with the three-mile walk getting under way at 9 a.m. For more information, call 954-565-4775. Central Broward Regional is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #18, #36, #40, and #81.

Top o’ the Morning

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until March 17, but you can get a head start on the fun by participating in (or watching) the St. Paddy’s 4 Miler, scheduled for Saturday, March 10 at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek. The run/walk begins at 7 a.m., followed by the Youth Mile at 7:45 a.m. and the Munchkin Dash (ages 12 and under) at 8 a.m. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect for spectators.

For more information, contact Tradewinds at 954-357-8870 or visit the Greater Fort Lauderdale Road Runners Club Website, www.gflrrc.com. Tradewinds is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.

Walks on the Wild Side

Hikes and nature walks are the most basic way to enjoy our parks and nature centers. This month offers a variety of such opportunities.

Get the month going with a Mangrove Adventure Hike, from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood. Participants will learn about the park’s highly varied mangrove ecosystem as they hike one of the trails and encounter wildlife along the way. The program is for all ages and costs $3 per person.

On Saturday, March 10, beginning and advanced birders alike will get a chance to see the avian life at Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach when the park hosts a volunteer-led Bird Walk. It’s from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and costs $3 per person. Space is limited and preregistration is required.

Explore the sloughs and back country of Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach by going Off the Beaten Path, from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 11. Closed-toe shoes, drinking water, a walking stick, and the willingness to get wet are prerequisites for this rigorous hike, which costs $6 per person and is designed for ages 6 and up.

Back at Anne Kolb that same day, a Trail Stroll, from 1 to 1:45 p.m., introduces visitors to the mangrove wetland by taking them on a guided boardwalk tour. The program is free and for all ages.

For more information, call Anne Kolb at 954-357-5161, Secret Woods at 954-357-8884, or, for Deerfield Island, Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12; Deerfield Island via Routes #48 and #50; and Secret Woods via Route #6.

A Dog’s Life

You know how much your dog likes to ride in the car, so load him or her up on Saturday, March 10 and head on over to Markham Park in Sunrise, where you’ll find South Florida’s K9 Outdoor Games taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spectators and participants are both welcome at this event, which includes such activities as a Frisbee dog competition, a lure course, flyball demos, vendors, rescue groups, and much more. For more information, e-mail henno29@aol.com, airk9s@hotmail.com, or ppupsinc@aol.com. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.

Advisory Board/Public Participation Forum Notice

Once a year the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division invites the public to provide suggestions, voice concerns, and ask questions about recreation needs in the county park system. In order to encourage attendance at this meeting, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board reschedules its meeting to 6 p.m. instead of the customary 7:30 a.m. meeting time. Accordingly, the next Public Participation Forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 1 at Plantation Heritage Park (1100 S. Fig Tree Lane, Plantation 33317; 954-357-5135), immediately after the 6 p.m. advisory board meeting. Plantation Heritage is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #30.

Events Calendar

Quote of the Month

“Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.” – American writer John Updike (1932-2009)

Special Attractions

Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Butterfly World (Tradewinds Park) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park) – Exhibit Halls (Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, Fern Forest Nature Center, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, Secret Woods Nature Center) – Golf Facilities (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Multipurpose Athletic Fields (Brian Piccolo Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Tradewinds Park) – Observatory (Markham Park) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park) – Target Range (Markham Park) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park)

Mission Statement

The Parks and Recreation Division is dedicated to providing a countywide park system with diverse facilities and recreation opportunities, along with natural area conservation and research-based educational outreach, to enhance the well-being of residents, businesses, and visitors.

Your Opinion Counts!

We’d like to know what you think about our programs and facilities. Please take a moment to tell us how we’re doing by filling out this survey.

SWIM Central

Broward County Commission's primary resource and referral service for available swim programs in cooperation with various cities and nonprofit organizations. Call 954-357-SWIM (7946).

Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation manages nearly 6,500 acres, encompassing 18 regional parks and nature centers, six neighborhood parks, and 21 natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities. Hours and fees vary by location. For more information, visit www.broward.org/parks. 

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in County programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Sue Gunzburger
Dale V.C. Holness
Kristin Jacobs
Chip LaMarca
Ilene Lieberman
Stacy Ritter
John E. Rodstrom Jr.
Barbara Sharief
Lois Wexler

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Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.