December 2016
Recreation. Preservation. Education.
Nature & the Arts - A Winning Combination
Maybe you don’t think of parks when you think of the arts. Maybe you should.

This month, the Anne Kolb Nature Center’s latest Family Fun Nature Series concludes with a lecture on “Art and Nature,” featuring a presentation by artist and Friends of Anne Kolb volunteer Kathy Hinman. The program is from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. A $2 donation to the Friends is requested for admission.

violin and sheet music

It’s been nearly four years since the nature center started offering Music at the Mangrove concerts in conjunction with the Music Club of Hollywood. The free concerts, in the park’s Mangrove Hall, have been wide ranging, from folk to pop, from chamber music to opera. This month, the series features a Holiday Jazz Concert, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 11.

artist's palette

The nature center has also hosted free Gallery Exhibits for close to two decades. Since 1998, well over two hundred individuals and groups of artists have had their work in all media shown in the exhibit hall, with the shows usually staying up for a month and often including receptions. There is no admission charge to view the exhibits.

For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5161. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #4 and #12.

Holiday Hours

holiday wreath

All Broward County regional and neighborhood parks, nature centers, and natural areas will be closed on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, which is now the only day we are closed all year. All parks will be open on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2017.

Twinkle, Twinkle
Don’t assume that you can’t go stargazing because of all the ambient nighttime light in South Florida. The stars, the planets, and more are visible – with the right equipment. On a quarterly basis, the nonprofit South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) brings telescopes to Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek for the free astronomy program An Evening With the Stars. The last installment of 2016 will be on Friday, December 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. Participants will get a glimpse of what’s going on in the sky this season, and speakers will cover basic telescope techniques and general astronomy information.

telescope and night sky

The SFAAA also opens the Fox Observatory at Markham Park & Target Range in Sunrise every Saturday evening, weather permitting, from dusk to midnight. Admission is free, although the park’s regular weekend gate fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) is in effect.

For more information, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198 or Markham at 954-357-8868, or email

Also this month, on Tuesday, December 13: Moonlight Paddle (ages 13+) at West Lake Park (954-357-5161), 5 to 7:30 p.m., and Supermoon Hike (all ages), Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797), 7-8 p.m. Call for fees and other info.

Crafts or Krafts?
Remember when you were a kid and making crafts for the holidays was a childhood rite of passage? This month there are two nature center programs that offer your youngster an opportunity to get crafty. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie invites ages 3 to 10 to create projects using natural and recycled materials for the Nature Crafts for Kids program. The theme is “Nature’s Gifts.” The fee is $5 per child, and no preregistration is necessary. For more information, call Long Key at 954-357-8797.

kids making nature crafts

Then, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach will host the latest installment of Krafting With Kay. Kids ages 9 to 12 will explore traditional crafts in nontraditional ways. A $2 donation to the park’s volunteer group, the Friends of Secret Woods, is requested for each child participating, and preregistration is required by the Monday before the program. For additional info, call the nature center at 954-357-8884. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

Holiday Hiatus

Are you weary of the crowds and commercialism of the holiday season? Do you long for something to do other than shop? Look no farther than a Broward County nature center or natural area for alternatives.

nature panorama from inside shelter

  • Have a picnic – Most sites have shelters, tables, benches, or other areas where you can sit and nosh while enjoying the scenery.
  • Take a hike/walk – There are nature trails at all locations, and some offer bird walks, night hikes, and other adventures.
  • Go on a photo safari – From large to small, every park has abundant flora and fauna just waiting to be discovered.
  • Learn more about nature – All four of our nature centers have exhibit halls featuring static and/or interactive displays.

For more information and ideas, visit our nature centers’ home pages: Anne Kolb (accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #4 and #12), Fern Forest (Routes #31 and #42), Long Key, and Secret Woods (Route #6). For links to our natural areas' Web pages, visit the Website.

Nature Fun for the Little Ones

At Broward County Parks, we’re committed to the idea that a healthy respect for and love of nature begin at an early age, and toward that end we have several programs designed for preschoolers. Activities may include storytelling, songs, arts and crafts, hands-on projects, and nature walks. All programs are from 10 to 11 a.m.; the cost is $5 per child accompanied by an adult, and preregistration is required.

nature storytime for tots

  • Knee-High Naturalist – Ages 3-5. Fourth Wednesdays at Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797)
  • Nature Tots – Ages 2-4. First Tuesdays at Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776); Second Thursdays (except November and December) at Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198); Third Tuesdays at West Lake Park (954-357-5161); Fourth Thursdays at Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
  • Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn – Ages 4-5. Second Thursdays at Long Key
  • Tot Walks – Ages 2-4. Second Mondays at Secret Woods

Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42; Miramar Pineland via Route #2; Secret Woods via Route #6; and West Lake via Routes #4 and #12.

Chip in to Help Parks

There are three types of people: those who can’t wait to get rid of their Christmas trees once the holidays have passed, those who leave their trees up well into the new year, and those who fall somewhere in between. One way or another, we’ve got you covered with our Chip-a-Tree initiative. The annual event runs from the day after Christmas (Monday, December 26 this year) through Martin Luther King Day (Monday, January 16, 2017).

The free program requires Broward County residents to remove all decorations from their trees (no exceptions), then drop them off at a participating park for recycling. Last year we recovered more than 5,100 trees, representing tons of material that would have otherwise gone into landfills. The chipped trees are used for landscaping throughout our park system.

holiday trees being chipped

There’s a limit of two trees per vehicle, artificial trees are not accepted, and no commercial vehicles or garbage trucks are allowed. And remember, the regular weekend and holiday gate fee is never in effect for recyclers, so there’s no excuse not to do the right thing. Hours vary; call the park of your choice for details:

...And Everything Else

Other nature-related programming at Broward County parks in December. Many programs require fees and/or preregistration; contact the relevant park for details.

  • Thurs., Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m. – Friends of Anne Kolb MeetingAnne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
  • Thurs., Dec. 1, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Sierra Club MeetingFern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198)
  • Sat., Dec. 3, 8:30-10:30 a.m. – Bird Walk (ages 8+) – Deerfield Island Park (954-357-5100)
  • Sat., Dec. 3, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Fern Forest, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797), Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
  • Sat., Dec. 3, 10-11 a.m. – Plankton-a-Plenty Hike – Anne Kolb
  • Sun., Dec. 4, 7:30-10:30 a.m. – Bird WalkTall Cypress Natural Area (954-357-5100)
  • Sun., Dec. 4, noon-1 p.m. – Nature Lecture: Dangerous Plants, Animals, & Insects – Fern Forest
  • Thurs., Dec. 8, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Florida Trail Association Meeting – Fern Forest
  • Sat., Dec. 10, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer WorkdayQuiet Waters Park (954-357-5100), Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
  • Sun., Dec. 11, 10-10:45 a.m. – Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb
  • Sun., Dec. 11, 2-4 p.m. – Dan Barrow Memorial Bluegrass Jam – Fern Forest
  • Mon., Dec. 12, 9-11:30 a.m. – Basic Kayak Class (ages 13+) – West Lake Park (954-357-5161)
  • Mon., Dec. 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Nature Lecture SeriesEasterlin Park (954-357-5190)
  • Wed., Dec. 14, 7-9 p.m. – Florida Native Plant Society Meeting (ages 16+) – Secret Woods
  • Sat., Dec. 17, 8-11 a.m. – Science Eye Saturday SafariEverglades Holiday Park (954-357-8101)
  • Sat., Dec. 17, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday (ages 13+) – Anne Kolb, Deerfield Island
  • Sat., Dec. 17, 10-11 a.m. – Saturday Stroll & Learn: Ferns – Fern Forest
  • Sat., Dec. 17, 2-3 p.m. – Dirt & Fert (ages 13+) – Secret Woods
  • Sun., Dec. 18, 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Team/Family Shutterbug Photo Hunt – Fern Forest
  • Sun., Dec. 18, 5-7 p.m. – Twilight Jammin’ – Fern Forest
  • Tues., Dec. 20, 9-11:30 a.m. – Paddling EcoTour (ages 13+) – West Lake
  • Mon.-Fr., Dec. 26-30, 10-11 a.m. – Mangrove Adventure Hikes – Anne Kolb
  • Wed., Dec. 28, 6-7 p.m. – Pineland at Night Hike – Miramar Pineland

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Parks Foundation
The Parks Foundation of Broward County is a 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2014 in support of the 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. Donations are accepted at


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