Focus On Crystal Lake and Highlands Scrub Natural Areas
Find Thrills & Chills
Emphasis on “Abilities”
For the Birds
An Exercise in Forgiveness
Festive Fall Fun
Find History – At Deerfield Island
Quote of the Month
Your Opinion Counts!
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
Focus On Crystal Lake and Highlands Scrub Natural Areas
Two of Broward County Parks’ prime natural areas celebrate an anniversary this month: Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub, which opened to the public 10 years ago, on October 21, 2002, and Highlands Scrub, which opened almost five years later, on October 5, 2007. Both sites were purchased by the county through the 1989 Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond Issue, with Highlands Scrub later supplemented by additional acreage obtained through the 2000 Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond Referendum.
Both natural areas will celebrate their “birthdays” with an Open House and Scavenger Hunt, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 7 at Highlands Scrub, and on Sunday, October 21 at Crystal Lake. Each event also includes a free Guided Nature Hike at 10:30 a.m., with preregistration required by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100.
The two comparably sized sites – Crystal Lake is 24.2 acres, and Highlands Scrub is 34.27 acres – represent one of the rarest and most ecologically sensitive communities in South Florida, the sand pine scrub. Urban development has left less than two percent of Broward County’s original sand pine scrub, a type of community unique to Florida, making it a plant community that is difficult to recognize today.
The “scrub” is home to many species of plants and animals, many of which are rare or endangered. Crystal Lake contains a variety of scrub plant species such as sand pine, saw palmetto, tallow-wood, and several types of scrub oak. Understory plants include rosemary, prickly pear cactus, gopher apple, scrub mint, and spike moss. Highlands Scrub is characterized by loose white sand with a canopy of sand pine and scrub oak, and a subcanopy of saw palmetto, gopher apple, and prickly pear. Among the resident wildlife of both sites are the common gray fox, five-lined skink, six-lined racerunner, zebra swallowtail butterfly, and gopher tortoise (a protected species).
After acquisition, site restoration at both natural areas was initiated, including large-scale trash removal, exotic plant eradication throughout, and placement of protective fencing to stop destructive entry. Thanks to these efforts, the sites have been healing themselves over time.
Today, amenities at the sites include informational kiosks, interpretive signage, seating areas, and shelters (one per site). Highlands Scrub also offers picnic tables. Each site features more than 2,200 feet of paved and unpaved trail.
For more information, call the North District Office at 954-357-8700. Crystal Lake is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #20, while Highlands Scrub is accessible via Route #50.
Celebrate Halloween a few days early at a Hallo-Green Special Event, at Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood. The event, which charges $1 per person, includes environmentally friendly activities, games, and arts and crafts. It’s from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 20. For more information, call Anne Kolb (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12) at 954-357-5161.
Then on Friday, October 26, from 6 to 8 p.m., Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek will host its Ghosts and Goblins Family Fun Night. The popular annual event, for ages 2 to 11 accompanied by an adult, includes a costume parade, games and prizes, arts and crafts, photos in the Pumpkin Patch, and an age-appropriate storytime. Refreshments will also be available for purchase. The overall event is free, although there are nominal fees for arts and crafts and photos in the Pumpkin Patch. For more information, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.
On Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28, at 7 and 8:30 p.m., Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach offers its own prelude to Halloween with Spooky Woods, a thrilling and slightly chilling tour of the history of Halloween. The program is designed for ages 6 and up and may not be suitable for younger children. The fee is $5 per person, and preregistration is required. Call Secret Woods (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6) at 954-357-8884 for additional information.
For a completely different take on pre-Halloween festivities, sign up for the ninth annual Spooktacular 5K, a run and walk at T.Y. Park in Hollywood, presented by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Road Runners Club. It’s on Saturday, October 27 from 7 a.m. to noon. For more information, call the park at 954-357-8811, or visit www.gflrrc.org. T.Y. is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #3, #12, and #17.
The dog days of summer may be long gone, but you can still pamper your pooches during the lingering heat of a South Florida fall by letting them frolic at two water parks on dogs-only days. One of Broward County Parks and Recreation’s most popular programs for the past dozen years, the K9 Water Festivals, returns this year with three weekend events in October and one more in November.
The series kicks off on October 6 and 7 at Castaway Island at T.Y. Park in Hollywood, then runs again on October 20 and 21. Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach follows on October 27 and 28 and then again on November 10 and 11.
Admission is $5 per dog per 50-minute session, with sessions beginning on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only dogs weighing 25 pounds or less will be permitted for the final session of each day. Donations of dog and cat food, treats, blankets, and toys will be accepted on behalf of the homeless animals at Broward County shelters.
A few rules apply: All dogs must be off leash when inside the facility and must be sociable and well behaved. Proof of current rabies vaccination and county license tag are required. Other than lifeguards, no humans will be allowed inside the water playgrounds. Finally, dogs are limited to no more than two sessions per day, and dogs must be at least 4 months of age to participate.
For more information, call the park of your choice: Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100, or T.Y. at 954-357-8811. The parks’ regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect for these events.
What could provide more good old-fashioned fun than a campfire you can sit around and roast marshmallows to make s’ mores? Find out what such simple pleasures are all about when several parks host their Family Hayride and Campfire Series, for all ages, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on various Fridays throughout the fall and winter. The campfire is free, although the optional hayride and a bag of fixings for the s’ mores will set you back $3.50 per person for ages 3 and up; you can also buy a series pass covering all 12 events for $21. Additional refreshments will also be available for purchase at these events.
Advance tickets are required and can be bought in person at the relevant park office. The schedule is as follows:
If you’re more interested in such events in the southern portion of Broward County, T.Y. Park in Hollywood will offer its own series from 6 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Dec. 7, Jan. 4, and Feb. 1. The fee is also $3.50 per person per event. For more information, call the park at 954-357-8811.
Learn about services, resources, products, and information for individuals with disabilities at the 2012 DisAbilities Expo. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 6 at Nova Southeastern University at the Don Taft University Center.
Event highlights include children’s activities, a resource fair with more than 60 exhibitors, an art exhibit, fun and games, live entertainment, educational forums, a fashion show, wheelchair basketball, and demonstrations.
Visit Parks and Recreation in the atrium at the Don Taft University Center during this event. For more information, call the Parks Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170, or visit www.DisAbilitiesExpo.com.
Plantation Heritage Park in Plantation doesn’t host a Bird Walk often, so when the park does it’s a special occasion – and especially when someone like Barbara DeWitt is leading it. Not only does DeWitt have three decades’ worth of worldwide birding experience, she’s also a Master Naturalist, a Master Gardener, and a National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward. Did we also mention that she knows a thing or two about butterflies, having coordinated counts in Broward for the North American Butterfly Association? In other words, DeWitt’s an ace when it comes to things that fly. Don’t miss her free program from 8 to 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 28. Call the park at 954-357-5135 for more information. Plantation Heritage is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #30.
Monthly Bird Walks also get under way again this month at Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach, with the first volunteer-led walk scheduled for 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 13. Participants must be at the dock at Sullivan Park by 8 a.m. to catch the boat shuttle to the island, and tour space is limited, so preregistration is required by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100. The fee is $3 per person. Deerfield Island is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #48 and #50.
If you’ve never outgrown that childlike fascination with insects, there are two events on Sunday, October 14, that will let you indulge your passion for all things creepy-crawly. From noon to 12:30 p.m., Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach will offer the latest installment of its ongoing program Delightful Flight, which focuses on Florida’s butterflies and how to attract them to your home landscape. The fee is $1.50 per person. For more information, call Secret Woods, which is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6, at 954-357-8884.
Then, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood will kick off its Family and Friends Nature Series with a session called “Bugs Are Cool!” Participants will learn about some of the “freakishly large bugs” found in South Florida, both the beneficial ones and the pests. Light refreshments will be served at this event, which requires preregistration. Admission is a recommended $2-per-person donation to the Friends of Anne Kolb volunteer group. For more information, call Anne Kolb, which is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12, at 954-357-5161.
For years Plantation Heritage Park in Plantation has been hosting the Broward County Plant Affair, a weekend-long event for the whole family. This popular plant show and sale, with up to 30 vendors, will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.
Admission to the plant sale 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 additional details or vendor information, call the Plantation Historical Museum at 954-797-2722, or the park at 954-357-5135. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #30.
Are you one of those unfortunate folks who has bought or adopted an exotic animal, only to discover you got more than you bargained for? An Exotic Pet Amnesty Day at Tree Tops Park in Davie will give you an opportunity to surrender your exotic pet rather than release it into the wild, where it might create ecological havoc. The innovative program is sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and this local event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 20. There are no charges or penalties involved. You’ll be doing the right thing, and you’ll know your animal will be taken in that same day by an adopter who has been preapproved through the program. For more information about the program or this specific event, or to find out more about how to become an approved adopter, call 1-888-IVE-GOT1 and select the “Pet Amnesty” option, or e-mail Liz.Barraco@MyFWC.com. More program info is also available at MyFWC.com/nonnatives. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.
Visit Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, when the park will host a variety of games and activities to celebrate its Fall Festival. Tickets ranging from $1 per individual ticket to 25 tickets for $20 will let you pick and choose which specialty activities you want to participate in. A hayride, for instance, “costs” three tickets, while two tickets will get you into the bounce house. Other regular park activities are fee-based: a model steam train ride, for example, is $1 per person, and a farm tour is $3 per person.
The extensive roster of activities includes a harvest dash seed, pumpkin bowling, autumn tic-tac-toe, a bean bag toss, a candy corn lollipop pull, a great harvest dig, a pumpkin dash, piñatas, a photo station, arts and crafts, hayrides, a bounce house, deejay music, food trucks, train rides, farm tours, and trail and pony rides.
All proceeds go to the event sponsor, the nonprofit organization Tradewinds Farm Hands. The park’s regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. A car or van with nine or fewer occupants pays $8, and a commercial school bus is charged $20 for admission. For more information, call the park at 954-357-8870. Tradewinds is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.
Pass along your passion for pedaling when Markham Park & Target Range in Sunrise hosts Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 6. There are approximately 10 miles of trails at the park, so introduce your kids to the joys of mountain biking. For more information, call Markham at 954-357-8868, or contact the sponsor at 954-478-3332 or tkmbd.broward.@gmail.com.
And if you enjoy those 7.1 miles of novice and intermediate mountain biking trails at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield, consider chipping in to keep them shipshape. There’s a Mountain Bike Trail Maintenance Day, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 13. Ages 6 and up are welcome to participate, although they must be registered as volunteers and present a valid photo I.D. For more information, call Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100.
For safety purposes, both parks require mountain bike riders of all ages to watch a safety video and complete a release and waiver of liability. Riders under the age of 17 must watch the safety video and have the waiver signed by a parent/guardian.
Few corners of Broward County’s park system are as rich in history as the 53.3 acres that make up Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach. A link with gangster Al Capone in the early 1930s, for instance, led to the land being labeled Capone Island – even though Capone himself never actually owned it, and the area at that time was a peninsula, not an island.
This is the sort of tidbit you might pick up when the park, which opened in September 1980, resumes its monthly Intracoastal History Tours. The first one will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 28. The cost is $5 per person, and boat transportation to the island is provided, although you must be at the Sullivan Park dock by 9:30 a.m. to catch the shuttle.
Space is limited, so preregistration is required and can be made by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100. Deerfield Island is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #48 and #50.
…to the Alpha Omega Cross-Country Invitational, a series of running events that will take place at Vista View Park in Davie from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 13. The competitions, geared to elementary and middle school students, are sponsored by Alpha Omega Elite Track Team & Fitness, a nonprofit, community-based health, fitness, behavior modification, educational, and character-development organization that works primarily with young people. Fees vary by age, and registration is ongoing now at www.aoett.org. For further information, contact Alpha Omega at 786-252-4035. Spectators are welcome and will pay the park’s regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free).
“Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content.” – American writer Louis L’Amour (1908-1988)
Airboat Rides (Everglades Holiday Park) – Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Butterfly World (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park & Target Range, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park & Target Range) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – 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 & Velodrome, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Observatory (Markham Park & Target Range) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park & Stables, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Target Range (Markham Park & Target Range) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park)
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.
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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 19 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, visitwww.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.
Dale V.C. Holness
John E. Rodstrom Jr.
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Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.