"Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.'"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American writer/philosopher
Float Your Boat (or Ours)
Whether you’re a novice or a veteran boater, there are several ways you can enjoy the watery wilderness of West Lake Park
/ Anne Kolb Nature Center
, which comprises more than 1,500 acres of coastal mangrove wetland in Hollywood and includes three designated boat trails totaling three miles.
If you’re an experienced boater, you can rent canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards from the Marina at West Lake, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting, with the last boat departing the marina at 3:50 p.m. Rates for single kayaks and paddleboards are $15 per hour, $25 for two hours, and $35 for four hours; for canoes and double kayaks, the rates are $20 for one hour, $30 for two, and $45 for four. U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are included. Certain restrictions apply, so contact the marina in advance of your visit.
Another option for experienced boaters is to bring their own watercraft to launch from the marina’s boat ramp. The ramp is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. No motorized boats of any kind are allowed.
Finally, classes are available for both beginners and experienced paddlers. This month there are three: a Basic Kayak Class on Sunday, June 10, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.; a Paddling EcoTour on Sunday, June 24, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.; and a Moonlight Paddle on Thursday, June 28, from 8 to 10 p.m. Each class costs $35 per person (plus sales tax) with watercraft included, $20 if you bring your own; registration is accepted at the office of nearby Anne Kolb Nature Center (751 Sheridan St., 954-357-5161, ext. 0), which is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
For additional information, contact the West Lake Marina
supervisor at 954-357-5122. The park’s regular gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) is in effect on weekends and holidays.
The scales are tipped in favor of an afternoon of fun learning at Gone Fishy
from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. The free program will start at the Monarch Interpretive Center at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach and is open to all ages, with no preregistration required. Activities will include crafts and a scavenger hunt, followed by a walk down to the New River Overlook in search of the park’s aquatic inhabitants. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-8884. Secret Woods
is accessible via Broward County Transit
Nature After Dark
Our parks take on a whole different aura when the sun goes down. See for yourself this month at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, which will present two night-time programs. From 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 8, the park holds a guided Twilight Forest Stroll. The cost is $5 per person. A week later, on June 15, the nature center hosts its regular astronomy program, An Evening With the Stars, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The free quarterly event is co-sponsored by the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association, which also opens the Fox Observatory at Markham Park & Target Range in Sunrise from dusk to midnight every Saturday. Call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198 or Markham at 954-357-8868 for more information.
Also in June:
Sunset Adventure Paddle
, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, at Deerfield Island Park
in Deerfield Beach, with a fee of $30/person ($15 if you bring your own kayak); call 954-357-5100 for reservations.
, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 15, at Saw Palmetto Natural Area
in Coconut Creek, at a cost of $3 per person; call 954-357-5100 to preregister.
For a Limited Time Only
The annual Sea Turtles and Their Babies program at Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood is on Wednesdays and Fridays starting on July 6 and ending on September 5, but it regularly sells out well in advance, so reserve online now. No walk-ins are accepted. The program starts at 8 p.m. with a video presentation and lecture, followed by a hatchling release at nearby Hollywood North Beach Park. The fee is $10/person prepaid. For more info, call 954-357-5161, ext. 0.
It’s never too soon to nurture a love of nature in your child(ren), and parks provide the ideal place to do just that. Here are some options this month:
Thurs., June 14, 10-11 a.m. – Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn (3-5) – Long Key
Mon.-Fri., June 18-22, 9 a.m.-noon – Nature Detectives Day Camp (8-11) – Fern Forest
Tues., June 19, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots
(2-4) – West Lake Park
Fri., June 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Fun Friday (3-10) – Long Key
Wed., June 27, 10-11 a.m. – Knee-High Naturalist (3-5) – Long Key
These programs, which require preregistration, may include such activities as arts and crafts, games, storytelling, and nature walks. The fee is $5 per child, except for the summer day camp at Fern Forest, which is $75 for the full week.
Let’s Meet in the Park
Our nature centers (and Extension Education) have long provided places for the local chapters of leading nature-related organizations to hold their monthly meetings. These meetings are free and open to the public, although of course each group is always looking to recruit new members.
…And Everything Else
Other nature-related programming at Broward County parks in June. Many programs require fees and/or preregistration; contact the relevant park for details.
Fri., June 1, 12:15-12:45 p.m. – Bite-Sized Learning Lunch
– Easterlin Park
Sun., June 10, noon-1 p.m. – Investigate It! – Secret Woods
Tues., June 12, 11 a.m.-noon – Investigate It! – Secret Woods
Sun., June 17, 11-11:45 a.m. – Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb
Sun., June 17, 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Team/Family Shutterbug Photo Hunt – Fern Forest
Sun., June 17, 3-5 p.m. – Music at the Mangrove: Harp Society Concert – Anne Kolb
Fri., June 22, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters Park
Sat., June 23, 9-10 a.m. – Island History Paddle & Hike – Deerfield Island
Sat., June 23, 9 a.m.-noon – Survivor – Deerfield Island
Sun., June 24, 1-4 p.m. – Jamming in the Park – Secret Woods
Sun., June 24, 2-4 p.m. – Krafting With Kay – Secret Woods
Sat., June 30, 10:30-11:30 a.m. – Exploring Oceans Hike – Anne Kolb
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 memberships 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.