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, canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are available from the Marina at West Lake, where you can rent daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last boat departing the marina at 3:50 p.m. Rates are $14 per hour, $24 for two hours, and $30 for four hours; U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are included. Certain restrictions apply, so contact the marina in advance of your visit. The marina is also currently participating in a two-for-one special, offered in conjunction with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Through October 15, pay for a two-hour boat rental and get an additional two-hour rental free, either to use at the same time (bring a friend!), or to use on another date while the special is in effect.
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 Saturday, June 3, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.; a Moonlight Paddle on Friday, June 9, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.; and a Paddling EcoTour on Sunday, June 25, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Each class costs $35 per person (plus sales tax), and 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.
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 9, the park holds a guided Twilight Forest Stroll. The cost is $5 per person. A week later, on June 16, 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: a Night Hike, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16, at Saw Palmetto Natural Area in Coconut Creek, at a cost of $3 per person. Reservations are required by calling 954-357-5100.
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:
- Tues., June 6, 10 a.m.-noon – Nature Tots (ages 2-4) – Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Tues., June 6, 3:30-5 p.m. – K-2 Nature Kids (ages 5-7) – Miramar Pineland
- Thurs., June 8, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots (ages 2-4) – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198)
- Thurs., June 8, 10-11 a.m. – Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn (ages 3-5) – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797)
- Mon., June 12, 10-11 a.m. – Tot Walk (ages 2-4) – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
- Fri., June 16, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Fun Friday (ages 3-10) – Long Key
- Mon.-Fri., June 19-23, 9 a.m.-noon – Nature Detectives Day Camp (ages 8-11) – Fern Forest
- Tues., June 20, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots (ages 2-4) – West Lake Park (954-357-5161)
- Thurs., June 22, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots (ages 2-4) – Secret Woods
- Wed., June 28, 10-11 a.m. – Knee-High Naturalist (ages 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.
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 in July and August (ending on September 1), 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.
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.
Crazy for Crabs
The common crustaceans known as crabs typically move in a very distinctive manner – hence the terms “to crab,” which can mean “to scurry sideways,” and “crabwise,” also meaning “sideways.” This is just one fact about crabs, which are the focus of Crawling Crabs, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach.
This program for all ages will feature a presentation and hands-on activities, followed by a trail stroll to look for the crabs that make their home at the park, including blue land crabs, fiddler crabs, and mangrove tree crabs. It’s all free and no reservations are required, although you can call the nature center at 954-357-8884 for additional information. Secret Woods
is accessible via Broward County Transit
...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 2, 12:15-12:45 p.m. – Bite-Sized Learning Lunch – Easterlin Park (954-357-5190)
- Sat., June 3, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Sat., June 3, 9 a.m.-noon – National Trails Day Event – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198)
- Sun., June 4, 8-10 a.m. – Bird Walk – Tall Cypress Natural Area (954-357-5100)
- Sun., June 4, 10-10:45 a.m. – Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Sun., June 4, 3-4:30 p.m. – Music at the Mangrove: Harp Society Concert – Anne Kolb
- Fri., June 9, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – West Creek Pineland Natural Area (954-357-5100)
- Sat., June 10, 9-10:30 a.m. – Scrub-a-Dub-Dub Cleanup & Hike – Highlands Scrub Natural Area (954-357-5100)
- Sat., June 10, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workdays – Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100), Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
- Tues., June 13, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters
- Sat., June 17, 8:30-11 a.m. – Science Eye Nature Program – Everglades Holiday Park (954-357-8101)
- Sat., June 17, 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Geocaching Adventure Series – Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub (954-357-5100)
- Sat., June 17, 10-11 a.m. – Mangrove Adventure Hike – Anne Kolb
- Tues., June 20, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Easterlin
- Fri., June 23, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters
- Sat., June 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. – Celebrate Pollinators Event – Anne Kolb
- Sun., June 25, 10-11 a.m. – Guided Nature Hike – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797)
- Sun., June 25, 1-4 p.m. – Jamming in the Park – Secret Woods
- Tues., June 27, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Military Trail Natural Area (954-357-5100)
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. 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.