“...so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
- L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Pamper your pooches by letting them play at two water parks on dogs-only days, when Broward County Parks and Recreation Division presents K9 Water Festivals, for dogs ages 4 months and up. Barktoberfest at Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach will be held on October 7 and 8. Activities run from 8 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. and include a 50-minute doggie splash time, rescue and nonprofit groups, adoptions, Doggie Market Place, kiddie bounce houses, face painting, and costume contest. There is a $5/dog fee per water session, but the rest of the activities are free. For details, call 954-357-5100.
Castaway Island at T.Y. Park in Hollywood opens the following two consecutive weekends, October 14 and 15 and October 21 and 22, for K9 Splash Days. Admission is $5 per dog per 50-minute session, with sessions beginning on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a designated area for dogs weighing 25 pounds or less for all sessions. For more information, call 954-357-8811.
The regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect at both parks.
Into the Wild
Cheetahs and lizards and (panda) bears, oh my! The family can enjoy an evening of larger-than-life hand-crafted lanterns when Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium is transformed into the spectacular Chinese Lantern Festival. The theme of this immersive experience in Chinese culture is “The Wild,” and the lantern displays will include an assortment of beautifully lit creatures from around the world displayed as lanterns, which have been handcrafted by 20 Chinese artists.
Visitors will walk amid the lantern displays, watch live performances and listen to entertainment, taste authentic Chinese cuisine, purchase handmade gifts by Chinese artisans, and more. Traditional folk artist demonstrations will also be available for an up-close look at clay sculpturing, cartoon portraiture, folk embroidery, Chinese knotting, inside painting, dough modeling, fabric art, paper cutting, and straw weaving. Children will also enjoy puppetry light shows, dinosaur rides, and hands-on ping pong and other activities.
The event runs from Thursdays through Sundays for eight consecutive weeks starting on November 23 and ending on January 14. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. Discount online tickets are now available for $22 per adults and $12.50 for ages 3-17. At the gate you will pay $25 for adults and $15 for ages 3-17. Children under 3 are free, discounts are available for groups of 12 or more, and Thursday evenings are senior discount nights.
For more information, visit the Hanart Culture Chinese Lantern Festival.
Look Up for Art
The next time you are at the escalators in Terminal 2 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, look up – and take in the En Plane Air artwork on display. It is by students, ages 6 to 10, from the Summer Recreation Program at Roosevelt Gardens Park in the Broward Municipal Services District.
The kids worked with teaching artist Toni Doku to create works inspired by the State of Florida.
“We started the project with background limiting colors to ensure a preselected outcome. Each student shows their individuality by using variations of colors,” Doku explains.
The new installation is a collaboration among Broward County’s Aviation Department, Parks and Recreation Division, Cultural Division, and the Municipal Services District. The artwork will be on display through the end of 2017.
Change of Season
Visit Tradewinds Park & Stables from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, when the park will host a variety of autumn games and activities to celebrate the change of season with its annual 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; other regular park activities are fee-based. The roster of activities includes arts and crafts, hayrides, food trucks, bounce houses, train rides, farm tours, rock wall, car show, and pony rides. The park has a regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) that will be in effect. Profits from this event help fund the feeding and care of the retired horses at Tradewinds Park & Stables through the nonprofit Tradewinds Farm Hands. For more information, call the park at 954-357-8870. Tradewinds is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34 and Coconut Creek North and South lines.
Eat, Drink, & Be Scary
There are conflicting theories on whether the holiday we now know as Halloween has pagan or religious origins. There is no question, however, about its perennial popularity in the United States, where more than two-thirds of Americans hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. In 2016, total Halloween spending jumped to nearly $8.5 billion.
Halloween is hot in our parks, too, where the emphasis is on fun for kids. This year Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie looks to be the “Halloweeniest” park of all, with activities going on all month long. Things get under way with two Nature Crafts for Kids programs built around the theme “Fall & Halloween Crafts.” They are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 7, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 8. Ages 3 to 10 are welcome, at a fee of $5/child, and no reservations are required. For more info, call the park at 954-357-8797.
Next up are the Monsters of Nature programs at Long Key, also geared to ages 3 to 10, who can learn about bats, snakes, spiders, and toads through games, crafts, and storytelling. Times are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15, and the fee is $5/child. Then, on Friday, October 20, there is a Things That Go Bump in the Night Hike, from 7 to 8 p.m., also at a cost of $5. It is suitable for all ages, and preregistration is required one day in advance by calling 954-357-8797.
Finally, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, October 27 and 28, Long Key presents Trick-or-Treat Family Fun Night, with such activities as games, crafts, and a naturalist-led trip out onto the trails. Again, 3-to-10-year-olds are the target audience. The fee is $5/child, and reservations are suggested but not required.
Elsewhere in our parks, Hallo-Green returns to Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood for an eco-friendly celebration, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 21. The event, which costs $2/person, features games, arts and crafts, and other environmental-themed activities. Call 954-357-5161 for more details.
Another longtime favorite is Ghosts & Goblins Family Fun Night at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 27. The event, for ages 2 to 11, includes a costume parade, games and prizes, arts and crafts, and an age-appropriate storytime; nominal fees apply to certain activities. For additional information, call the park at 954-357-5198.
The next day, Sunday, October 29, Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach will host A Creature’s Trick-or-Treat, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event, for ages 2 and up, will take participants out onto the trails to learn about the creatures they see while grabbing a treat or two along the way. The fee is $5/child. Call 954-357-8884 for more info.
What could provide more good old-fashioned fun than a campfire you can sit around and roast marshmallows to make smores? Find out what such simple pleasures are all about when several parks host their Family Hayride and Campfire Series, for all ages, on various Fridays throughout the fall and winter. The campfire is free, although the optional hayride and a bag of fixings for the smores will set you back $3.50 per person for ages 3 and up. Additional refreshments will also be available for purchase at these events, which are from 7 to 9:30 p.m. (except at T.Y., where the times are 6 to 9 p.m.).
Advance tickets are required and can be bought in person at the relevant park office. T.Y. does not require preregistration and accepts cash only on the night of the event. The schedule is as follows:
- Oct. 13, Dec. 8, Feb. 2 – Easterlin Park in Oakland Park (954-357-5190)
- Oct. 27, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, Jan. 19 – Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach (954-357-5100)
- Jan. 5, Mar. 16 – Reverend Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park in Fort Lauderdale (954-357-8801)
- Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, Jan. 19, Feb. 16 – T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park in Hollywood (954-357-8811)
- Jan. 12, Jan. 26, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, Mar. 9 – Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek (954-357-8870)
Parks Foundation of Broward County
The Parks Foundation of Broward County is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2014 in support of Broward County Parks and Recreation Division. The foundation welcomes individual membership and corporate partnerships at all levels to help promote our parks and programs, preserve our natural areas, and provide more green space for our community.