"It's a recognition, passed down from one generation to the next,
that few pursuits are more satisfying to the spirit
than discovering the greatness of America's outdoors."
- Barack Obama, U.S. President (2009-2017)
Eat, Drink, & Be Scary
There are conflicting theories on whether the holiday we now know as Halloween has pagan or religious origins. There’s 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’re 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 is Long Key’s Monsters of Nature programs, 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.
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 and crafts. The target audience is the 10-and-under set, who are encouraged to wear costumes and bring their trick-or-treat bags. The fee is $5/child, and reservations are 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 let participants 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.
Listen & Learn
This month Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood launches another Family Fun Nature Series
, which presents three lectures on widely varied topics. The first installment, on Sunday, October 1, runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and has as its theme “Prehistoric Pottery.” There will be a presentation, by the Florida Public Archaeology Network
, as well as related activities to illuminate prehistoric peoples and their habitats.
Admission is a requested $2 donation to the Friends of Anne Kolb
volunteer group. Preregister by calling the park at least a week in advance at 954-357-5161. Future dates for this program will be November 5 (“Be a Good Angler!”) and January 14 (“Art & Nature”). Anne Kolb
is accessible via Broward County Transit
Routes #4 and #12.
Focus on Nature
Four years ago Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek invited visitors to turn their photographic creativity loose amid the park’s abundant flora and fauna – the park’s 247 acres include 10 plant communities, and more than 30 species of ferns. Team/Family Shutterbug Photo Hunts, held monthly on the third Sunday, are for photographers of all levels, with a $10 fee covering all members of a team or family unit. Participants get a quick guide to basic photography as they explore the nature center’s trails in search of subject matter. A naturalist is on hand to share the natural history of Fern Forest and provide ID cards for many of the plants and animals that can be found there.
This month’s event is from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 15, and preregistration is required by calling the park at 954-357-5198. Participants should bring their own digital cameras that accept standard SD cards; the nature center will provide the SD cards but will retain them after the hunt, so if you want to take copies of your photos home with you, bring a flash drive as well. Fern Forest
is accessible via Broward County Transit
Routes #31 and #42.
...And Everything Else
Other nature-related programming at Broward County parks in October. Many programs require fees and/or preregistration; contact the relevant park for details.
- Tues., Oct. 3, 9-11:30 a.m. – Basic Kayak Class – West Lake Park (954-357-5161)
- Tues., Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-noon – Nature Tots – Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Tues., Oct. 3, 3:30-5 p.m. – K-2 Nature Kids – Miramar Pineland
- Wed., Oct. 4, 10-11 a.m. – Plankton-a-Plenty Hike – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Wed., Oct. 4, 6:30-9 p.m. – Moonlight Paddle – West Lake
- Thurs., Oct. 5, 7-9 p.m. – Friends of Anne Kolb Meeting – Anne Kolb
- Thurs., Oct. 5, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Sierra Club Meeting – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198)
- Fri., Oct. 6, 12:15-12:45 p.m. – Bite-Sized Learning Lunch – Easterlin Park (954-357-5190) - TENTATIVE, CONFIRM WITH PARK
- Fri., Oct. 6, 8-9 p.m. – Full-Moon Hike – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797) - CANCELED
- Sat., Oct. 7, 8:30-11 a.m. – Bird Walk – Deerfield Island Park (954-357-5100) - TENTATIVE, CONFIRM WITH PARK
- Sat., Oct. 7, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Fern Forest, Long Key, Miramar Pineland
- Sat., Oct. 7, 10-11 a.m. - Plankton-a-Plenty Hike - Anne Kolb
- Sun., Oct. 8, 2-4 p.m. – Dan Barrow Memorial Bluegrass Jam – Fern Forest
- Tues., Oct. 10, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100)
- Wed., Oct. 11, 7-9 p.m. – Florida Native Plant Society Meeting – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
- Thurs., Oct. 12, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Fern Forest
- Thurs., Oct. 12, 10-11 a.m. – Knee-High Naturalist – Long Key
- Thurs., Oct. 12, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Florida Trail Association Meeting – Fern Forest
- Fri., Oct. 13, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – West Creek Pineland Natural Area (954-357-5100)
- Fri., Oct. 13, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Fern Forest
- Fri., Oct. 13, 7:30-8:30 p.m. – Family Night Hike – Fern Forest
- Sat., Oct. 14, 9-10:30 a.m. – Scrub-a-Dub-Dub Cleanup & Hike – Highlands Scrub Natural Area (954-357-5100)
- Sat., Oct. 14, 9-11:30 a.m. – Basic Kayak Class – West Lake
- Sat., Oct. 14, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Quiet Waters, Secret Woods
- Sun., Oct. 15, 10-10:45 a.m. – Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb
- Tues., Oct. 17, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Easterlin
- Tues., Oct. 17, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – West Lake
- Tues., Oct. 17, 11 a.m.-noon – Investigate It! – Secret Woods
- Fri., Oct. 20, 7-8 p.m. – Night Hike – Saw Palmetto Natural Area (954-357-5100)
- Sat., Oct. 21, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Deerfield Island
- Sat., Oct. 21, 9-11 a.m. – Science Eye Saturday Safari: Watch the Hand – Everglades Holiday Park (954-357-8101)
- Sat., Oct. 21, 9-11:30 a.m. – Paddling EcoTour – West Lake
- Sat., Oct. 21, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Anne Kolb
- Sat., Oct. 21, 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Geocaching Adventure Series – Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub (954-357-5100)
- Sat., Oct. 21, 10-11 a.m. – Saturday Stroll & Learn: Wetlands – Fern Forest
- Sat. & Sun., Oct. 21 & 22, 10-11 a.m. – Owls Give a Hoot – Secret Woods
- Sun., Oct. 22, noon-1 p.m. – Super Science Sunday – Secret Woods
- Sun., Oct. 22, 1-4 p.m. – Jamming in the Park – Secret Woods
- Sun., Oct. 22, 2-4 p.m. – Music at the Mangrove – Anne Kolb
- Tues., Oct. 24, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Helene Klein Pineland Preserve (954-357-5100)
- Wed., Oct. 25, 10-11 a.m. – Knee-High Naturalist – Long Key
- Wed., Oct. 25, 11 a.m.-noon – Super Science – Secret Woods
- Wed., Oct. 25, 3-5 p.m. - Bat Week Invasive Exotics Removal - Miramar Pineland
- Wed., Oct. 25, 6-7 p.m. - Pineland at Night Hike - Miramar Pineland
- Thurs., Oct. 26, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Secret Woods
- Fri., Oct. 27, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters
- Sat., Oct. 28, 6:30-8 a.m. – Sunrise Paddle – West Lake
To Plant or Not to Plant?
Parks Advisory Board Meeting
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.