HighLights eNewsletter
Broward County > Parks and Recreation > Highlights eNews
February 2014
Recreation. Preservation. Education.
The Renaissance, South Florida-Style
The Renaissance, according to Wikipedia, lasted from roughly the 14th century to the 17th century, beginning in Italy and spreading to the rest of Europe in “a flowering of literature, science, art, religion, and politics, and a resurgence of learning…” Not surprisingly, this period in history when Europe made the transition from the dark ages into the modern era is a topic of great fascination for many people, especially the revelry and excess in costume and cuisine that marked the period.

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 22nd 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.

Irish dancers at Renaissance Festival

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to sunset for six weekends, from Saturday, February 8 through Sunday, March 16, plus President’s Day, Monday, February 17. Admission is $20 for ages 12 and up, $9 for ages 6 to 11, and free for ages 5 and under. Group rates and season tickets 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 Ren-Fest.com. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #14 and #48.

Everglades Holiday Park a Top Florida Attraction
At the end of 2013, readers of USA TODAY Travel and its 10Best.com Website announced the results of their Readers’ Choice Awards, and in the category of 10 Best Florida Attractions, Everglades Holiday Park came in No. 3. The park is the only South Florida attraction to place in the top 10. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium ranked first, followed by Sarasota’s Ringling estate in second place.

Parks Celebrate Black History Year Round
February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month, an annual commemoration that was established in 1976 to highlight the contributions of African-Americans to the cultures of the United States and Canada. The designation was an expansion of Negro History Week, which dates back to 1926 and encompassed the birthdays of both the abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

To learn more about local black history, there’s no better place to start than at two neighborhood parks that represent Broward County’s distinctive pan-African cultural heritage. Across the parking lot from the county’s acclaimed African-American Research Library and Cultural Center – one of only three of its kind in the nation – you’ll find Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park. The park’s namesake was one of Fort Lauderdale’s first black police officers, as well as a community activist, politician, businessman, civil rights leader, and street minister. In 1979, two years after Reverend Delevoe was fatally shot, the park was rededicated in honor of his outstanding contributions. In homage to him and many other notable community figures, an art installation in the park, called Pillars of the Community, displays 84 names of leaders past and present. The project is part of the county’s Public Art and Design program.

Just north of Delevoe Park is Franklin Park, with its brightly colored playground and a thousand-foot-long walkway that runs through the park. The walkway and the benches that line it make up an installation known as The Word Garden, created by Broward artists Angela Curreri and Rick Yasko, that celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa in both Swahili and English. This is also a Public Art and Design project.

Along with these major public art projects, Delevoe Park’s 36 acres feature areas for fishing, a picnic shelter, a playground, a canoe launch, and sports facilities. Franklin Park, at 3.1 acres, offers basketball courts, a playground, picnic shelters, a walking trail, a weight room, and a community center. Both parks are included in the After-School Program and the annual Summer Recreation Program sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Division.

For more information, call Delevoe at 954-357-8801, Franklin at 954-357-7080, or the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center at 954-625-2800. Delevoe and the library/cultural center are accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #11 and #40. Franklin is accessible via Routes #11, #36, and #40.

One Wish at a Time
Nearly 4,500 participants have taken part in the Walk for Wishes 5K Walk/Run, a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida that has generated more than $440,000 in its history – enough to grant the wishes of 88 children. This year the fifth annual event hopes to do even better than its predecessors. The walk/run will take place starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 8, at Markham Park & Target Range in Sunrise. (Registration is at 7:30 a.m.) After the event, stick around for a light breakfast and Family Fun Day activities, which begin at 9 a.m.

Fees go to $30 for adults and $15 for kids the day of the event. A hundred percent of the proceeds from this event benefit the foundation. For fees and further information, visit SFla.Wish.org  or call 954-967-9474, ext. 323, or email NRamirez@SFlaWish.org.   

What's "Rugger"?
The sport known by Americans as football can be traced in part to a 19th-century version of the game played in England, where it’s called rugby or, more informally, rugger. (“Rugger” is also slang for a rugby player.) If you’ve never seen the English version played, you’ll have a chance when Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill hosts the 38th annual Ruggerfest. National and international clubs and teams of all levels will be featured, from high school through collegiate through adult premier, with both genders represented.

The tournament runs from Friday, February 21 through Sunday, February 23, and it’s co-sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale Rugby Football Club, which has been around since 1977. Spectators are admitted 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 tournament information, call the hotline at 954-543-6287, or email coach@ftlrugby.com. Central Broward Regional is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #18, #36, #40, and #81.

Make Your Own Kind of Music
Every second Sunday of the month from October through May, from 2 to 4 p.m., Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek hosts Jammin’, an unplugged jam session for people interested in folk, mountain, and bluegrass music. Participants are welcome to bring instruments if they like (no amplifiers, please), or just to sit and listen. The popular audience-participation event has been led by the same group of volunteer musicians since its inception in the mid-1980s. This month’s session will be on February 9.

If you’re more centrally located in the county, something similar takes place on the fourth Sunday of the month at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, which offers Jamming in the Park. The free program, for ages 16 and up, runs from 1 to 4 p.m. This month the program falls on February 23.

And if you prefer more classically oriented music, there’s a Music Club of Hollywood Free Concert from 3 to 4 p.m., also on Sunday, February 9, at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood.

For more information, call the nature centers at 954-357-5161 (Anne Kolb), 954-357-5198 (Fern Forest) and 954-357-8884 (Secret Woods). Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12, Fern Forest via Routes #31 and #42, and Secret Woods via Route #6.

All Aglow
The disc golf course at Easterlin Park in Oakland Park will again be aglow on Friday, February 14, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. That’s when the park will host the latest installment of its Disc Glow Golf Series, a tournament in which the participants guide themselves through the course using flashlights. (Bring your own flashlights and discs – the park will not provide them.) The program is designed for ages 13 and up, and ages 13 to 17 must have a parent/guardian with them to participate. Fees are $5 per person if you preregister, $8 per person if you wait until the night of the program. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5190. Easterlin is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #14.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
Stock up on native plants, herbs, and vegetable plants when the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood hosts a Go Native in Broward County Plant Sale. The free event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, February 8, and all ages are welcome.

Over at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, you can learn another way to grow plants at the park’s ongoing series of Propagation Classes, which continues from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 1, with installment two, “Cuttings.” Participants will get hands-on instruction in various techniques, and you’re welcome to bring your own cuttings. Secret Woods also hosts a meeting of the Florida Native Plant Society, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12.

For more information, call Anne Kolb at 954-357-5161 or Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12, Secret Woods via Route #6.

Birds of a Feather
Did you know there’s a thriving colony of burrowing owls at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill? Find out more about these enigmatic creatures when the park – which is better known for its sports facilities, corporate pavilions, and water park – hosts a rare volunteer-led Bird Walk, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 15. While other birds may be sighted on the walk, the emphasis is on the park’s population of burrowing owls, and the walk will focus on the park’s natural area and burrowing owl habitat. The walk is free, although the park’s regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.

burrowing owls

Florida burrowing owls, the only ground-nesting owls in the state, are listed as a Species of Special Concern by the state and are also protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act. That’s because the birds are threatened by the loss of habitat and by such urban predators as snakes, opossums, raccoons, and even cats and dogs. When Central Broward Regional was built in 2005, a priority was ensuring that the burrowing owls already living on the site be preserved and protected.

Here are a few interesting tidbits about burrowing owls:

  • They’re sometimes called the “howdy bird” because of their habit of bowing and bobbing when approached.
  • Burrowing owls have 13 distinct calls, more than any other North American owl. One of them mimics the sound of a rattlesnake.
  • Females incubate the eggs while the males stand sentry at the entrance to the nest and hunt for food. A male will bring the food back to the entrance, and the female will take it inside to the owlets.
  • Baby owls emerge from the burrow when they are 10 to 14 days old. Their parents teach them to hunt by bringing them dead or injured insects to pounce on.
  • Males are often lighter-colored than females, thought to be due to sun-bleaching from standing guard while the females incubate the eggs underground.

Another program will be held on Saturday, March 15. The walks last up to two hours, depending on the level of interest of participants and the amount of bird and wildlife activity on view. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5400. Central Broward Regional is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #18, #40, and #81.

Other varieties of owl will hopefully be spotted from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, February 28 at Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie, which will host an Owl Prowl. The program, which starts in the Discovery Room with an overview of the owls of Florida, includes a walk through the woods to look for the park’s resident owls. Preregistration is required; $10/person. For more information, call the park at 954-357-8797.

Last month Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach also resumed its monthly Bird Walks, for ages 8 and up. For February, one is scheduled from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday the first. The fee is $3 per person, payable in advance by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100. Sturdy shoes and binoculars are recommended.

Social Studies

The Broward County Parks and Recreation Division’s Special Populations Section will host a free Friday Night Social, for adult mental health consumers ages 18 and up. The event will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, February 7, at Tree Tops Park in Davie.

Two weeks later, on Friday, February 21, also from 7 to 9:30 p.m., there will be a Teen Social: Sounds of the ’70s, for ages 13 to 21 with developmental disabilities. The free event will be held at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek. Participants are invited to come dressed in vintage 1970s clothing.

Activities for both events include deejay music, dancing, refreshments, and socializing. Preregistration is required at least a week in advance for the Teen Social. To register or for more information on either event, call Special Populations at 954-357-8170 or email SpecialPopulations@Broward.org.

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).

SWIM Central logo

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.

About Broward County Parks
Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and 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 Broward.org/Parks.

Special Attractions
Airboat Rides (Everglades Holiday Park) – Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Bike America (Quiet Waters 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, 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)
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Quote of the Month
In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. - Scottish-born American naturalist John Muir (1838-1914)