Gateway to the Everglades - An Update
June 3 marks three years since management of Everglades Holiday Park officially transferred from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) back to Broward County.
A lot has happened in those years: restroom renovations, improvements in energy efficiency, new accessibility ramps, repaired decks and roofing in picnic areas, a renovated fishing pier, parking lot improvements, and new fencing around the gator pit and the entrance to Science Eye. More recently, the main building has gotten a new roof, and there’s a new wooden walkway surrounding a native plant garden as you enter from the overflow parking lot. (The campground remains temporarily closed; the restroom shower facility has been renovated, but other necessary renovations remain to be completed.)
The 29 acres that now make up the park were deeded to Broward County in 1964 by Davie Farm Lands, with the stipulation that the sole use of the land be for “public recreation purposes.” The following year the county entered a long-term agreement to lease the site to FWC. In succeeding years FWC sublet the park’s concession services to private vendors, including, since 1992, Bridges Everglades LLC, which remains the primary concessionaire.
The park sits at the western terminus of Griffin Road, with the portion of Broward County that is developed to the east and the Everglades to the west. Large-capacity airboats with covered compartments take visitors on ‘Glades tours, with experienced guides providing information on the history and the flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem. Each approximately one-hour airboat expedition concludes back at the park with an alligator show. (TV’s Gator Boys
uses the park as a base.)
Boaters are welcome to bring and launch their own boats or to rent 14-foot johnboats, which are available from sunrise to sundown for fishing or Everglades sightseeing. Licensed fishers can fish from the park’s docks as well. With 36-hour advance notice, visitors can arrange for a professionally guided fishing trip that includes the boat, rods, and artificial bait.
Among the park’s other amenities are a deli/food concession with takeout window (picnic tables are nearby), and a general store stocked with prepackaged snack foods, sodas, beer, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, boating gear, ice, and other items. Bait and tackle and fishing and game licenses are also for sale there, as well as tickets for airboat rides. A gift/souvenir shop adjacent to the general store offers such merchandise as T-shirts, jewelry, and gator-related novelty items.
For more information on Everglades Holiday Park
, call the park office at 954-357-8101 or the park’s concessionaire at 954-434-8111.
A reminder: Starting on June 4, our four water parks will be open daily through August 23. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. at Paradise Cove at C.B. Smith Park (954-357-5170) in Pembroke Pines; Tropical Splash at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium (954-357-5400) in Lauderhill; Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100) in Deerfield Beach; and Castaway Island at T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park (954-357-8811) in Hollywood. And in case you haven’t heard, there are four new five-story-high waterslides called Paradise Pipeline at C.B. Smith.
Another reminder: Kids 9 through 16 can learn how to saddle up at the annual Summer Horse Camp at Tradewinds Park & Stables in Coconut Creek. The program starts on June 8 and ends on August 13, and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Riding instruction (weather permitted) and many other activities are featured. For the second year the camp is offered in one-day, two-day, and four-day sessions. Fees range from $75 to $400. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Fees must be paid and a release and waiver of liability signed at registration.
Also on June 8, 9, 10, and 11, the park will offer a Junior Farmer's Camp, for ages 5 to 8. This new day camp is available in morning (8:30 a.m.-noon) and afternoon (12:30-4 p.m.) sessions, at $40 per session.
For further information, call the park at 954-357-8870. Tradewinds is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.
Every summer Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek offers weeklong summer day camps for ages 8 to 11. This year Nature Detectives
will run from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays, June 22-26 and August 3-7. Each day focuses on a different theme, with participants exploring the nature center’s habitats through hands-on experiences, crafts, and other activities. The fee is $75 per camper for the week, and preregistration is required. For more information, call Fern Forest
at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit
Routes #31 and #42.
A love of science doesn’t equal geekdom, as your kids will learn if you sign them up for Science Eye Safari Camp
at Tree Tops Park
in Davie. Campers are immersed in the roles of a scientist making observations, conducting experiments, engaging in field studies, and more. By participating in fun, interactive, hands-on projects, they’ll learn to explore the world around them to gain new insights and become aware of why it’s important to take care of the environment. Field trips are included on Fridays.
Each day is a new adventure at this day camp for ages 7 to 12, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily the weeks of June 22-26, July 13-17, and August 3-7. The fees are $300 per child for one week, $575 for two weeks, and $850 for all three weeks. Preregistration is required by the Friday prior to the first day of camp. The fees include field trips on Fridays, along with lunch and a snack daily. After-care is available from 4 to 5 p.m. for an additional fee.
For more information, call 954-680-7977, email Camp@ScienceEye.com
, or visit ScienceEye.com
What kid doesn’t like playing superhero? Let your youngster(s) enjoy the fantasy and
cool off in a water park this summer when Splash Adventure
at Quiet Waters Park hosts a series of Superhero Splash Bashes
. Activities include a bounce house, games, a movie, prizes, and splash time in the water playground. The dates are June 26, July 10 and 24, and August 7; rain dates, should they be necessary, are the Tuesdays following the regularly scheduled events. The events run from 6 to 10 p.m. and cost $6 per person (plus sales tax). Refreshments will be available for purchase. Space is limited, and advance ticket purchase is required by calling the park at 954-357-5100. Quiet Waters
is accessible via Broward County Transit
This month you have half a dozen chances to find out more about what’s going on in the South Florida night sky. From roughly dusk to midnight on Saturdays, June 6, 13, 20, and 27, weather permitting, the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) opens the Fox Observatory at Markham Park in Sunrise.
This nonprofit organization, which dates back to the mid-1960s, staffs the Fox and brings along its own telescopic equipment as well. Group members assist the public in how to use the gear. The SFAAA also meets at the Fox at 7:30 p.m. on the first Thursday, which this month falls on June 4. Markham Park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #23.
also hosts popular quarterly gatherings called An Evening With the Stars
at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek. This quarter the event is on Friday, June 19, starting at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5198. Fern Forest
is accessible via Broward County Transit
Routes #31 and #42.
Here are some group walking/hiking opportunities this month. Nominal fees apply for some programs – typically $3 to $5, plus, when applicable, the parks’ regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free). Solo walking is also popular at most of our parks. Visit Broward.org/Parks for a complete list.
- Sunset Nature Walk: The Secret Language of Leaves – Wed., June 3, & Sun., June 7, 7:30 p.m. , Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Trail Stroll – Sat., June 13, 10 a.m., Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Bird Walk – Sun., June 14, 7:30 a.m., Tall Cypress Natural Area (954-357-5100)
- Nature at Night Hike – Fri., June 19, 8 p.m., Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797)
- Broward Nature Bike & Hike – Sat., June 27, 4 p.m. Turtle Run Park in Coral Springs (call Quiet Waters Park for details, 954-357-5100)
The annual Sea Turtles and Their Babies program at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood doesn’t get under way until July, but don’t wait until then to reserve a spot – the long-running program usually sells out well in advance. This year’s installment will run on Wednesdays and Fridays from Wednesday, July 1 through Friday, August 28, starting at 8 p.m.
This educational series covers a range of topics relating to the beleaguered marine reptiles and their plight. Following an hourlong presentation and lecture, participants will accompany a naturalist for, pending hatchling availability, a hatchling release on the beach.
Space is limited and no walk-ins are accepted. The fee is $10 per person, prepaid, and you should also bring quarters for metered parking at the release site. The program is subject to rescheduling or cancellation if weather conditions are not favorable. Also new this year, preregistration will be online. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5161, ext. 0. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12.
|Quote of the
"Never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. People will take you very much at your own reckoning." - English novelist Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)