April 2012 Highlights
Broward County > Parks > The Latest > April 2012 Highlights

We’re Listening
Focus on the Velodrome at Brian Piccolo Park
Find Shelter – At a Broward County Park
Return of the Native
New Moon or No Moon?
Wings and Things
Spring Has Sprung
Look – Up in the Sky!
Celebrate Earth Day
When One Race Isn’t Enough
Wining & Dining
Find Broward’s Only Island Park
Where the “Cooper” in Cooper City Came From
Broward County 4-H Is Looking for Judges
All Things Creepy and Crawly
A Dog’s Life
Quote of the Month
Special Attractions
Mission Statement
Your Opinion Counts!
SWIM Central
Broward County Board of County Commissioners

We’re Listening

Let’s face it: We live in opinionated times. From polls and surveys to social media and more traditional media, everybody wants to know what you think. And we’re no different. The Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, in conjunction with the consulting firm GreenPlay, invites your input at a series of focus groups. At these public forums, you’ll help us assess customer satisfaction and identify potential partnership opportunities and strategic planning issues, as well as provide feedback about your community’s recreational needs. Each meeting emphasizes specific activities or groups.

·         Tues., Apr. 24, 1-2:30 p.m. – Trails & GreenwaysFern Forest Nature Center

·         Tues., Apr. 24, 3-4:30 p.m. – Conservation & Natural Areas – Fern Forest

·         Wed., Apr. 25, 9-10:30 a.m. – Alternative ProvidersSecret Woods Nature Center

·         Wed., Apr. 25, 4-5:30 p.m. – Youth & Schools – Secret Woods

·         Wed., Apr. 25, 7-8:30 p.m. – Public MeetingCentral Broward Regional Park & Stadium

·         Thurs., Apr. 26, 9-10:30 a.m. – Public Safety Forum – Central Broward Regional

·         Thurs., Apr. 26, 5-6:30 p.m. – Athletics & Aquatics – Central Broward Regional

·         Fri., Apr. 27, 8-9:30 a.m. – Business & TourismAnne Kolb Nature Center

For facility phone numbers, addresses, and directions, follow the links, or visit www.broward.org/parks.

Focus on the Velodrome at Brian Piccolo Park

There are currently about two dozen outdoor velodromes in the United States, where cycling is once again beginning to reclaim some of the attention it had in the 1800s, when, according to USA Cycling, it enjoyed the sort of popularity NASCAR racing has today.

The velodrome at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City is the only velodrome in Florida and one of only four in the southeastern U.S. (the other three are in East Point, Georgia; Asheville, North Carolina; and Rock Hill, South Carolina). It broke ground in March 1992 and opened on April 17, 1993. It hosted its first major race that month and today attracts more than 3,500 athletes annually. In 2010 the Florida Velodrome Association friends group was founded by three competitive cyclists with a passion for promoting track cycling. The organization was designed to assist with races and training at the velodrome, as well as with management and maintenance of the velodrome and with program development, including volunteer recruitment, for all velodrome events at Brian Piccolo.

The Brian Piccolo Velodrome is used for both competitive cycling and recreational cycling and in-line skating. The concrete competitive track is 333.3 meters long, with a maximum 30-degree slope at each end. The recreational track in the infield, also concrete, is 200 meters long and has a 10-degree slope. There is a paved concourse for spectators around the perimeter of the elevated outer track.

Bicycles for velodrome cycling have no multiple gears or brakes, which helps maximize speed, reduce weight, and avoid sudden braking. If you don’t have such a bike, they’re available for rent at the facility, along with other necessary equipment. Track passes and youth track passes that include the free use of a track bicycle are also available.

The Brian Piccolo Velodrome offers cycling development programs for both adults and children, as well as developmental classes for beginning, intermediate, and advanced skaters. Evening and weekend sessions are available.

Adjacent to the park’s velodrome and skate park you’ll find the road course, which is open daily for both cyclists and in-line speed skaters. It is a paved course that includes both 500-meter and 800-meter loops. Except for special events, there is no charge to use the facility, although the park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee applies.

For more information, call the velodrome at 954-357-5160. Brian Piccolo Park has a gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) in effect on weekends and holidays.

Find Shelter – At a Broward County Park

More than half a million people a year use picnic shelters or other meeting facilities in Broward County parks. Whether you’re planning a birthday party, wedding or reception, holiday gathering, family reunion, or large corporate or association function, there’s a park to accommodate your needs.

Our 18 regional parks and nature centers offer more than 110 shelters, with capacities ranging from 20 to 400+, as well as a variety of other facilities, including two gazebos, three outdoor amphitheaters, and several conference and meeting rooms. Our neighborhood parks also have community centers available for rental. All shelters have picnic tables, and most include grills. Amenities at indoor facilities vary, with some providing fully equipped catering kitchens. Certain parks may also provide audiovisual equipment.

The same spaces used for meetings and other functions can be “dressed up” for parties and such special occasions as weddings and receptions. Once you’ve selected a room that’s the right size for your event, the only limit is your imagination. We’ll provide the chairs and tables (various sizes and shapes are available) – the rest is up to you. Add some basic tablecloths and a few streamers for a simple look, or go all out with elegant centerpieces, fancy tablecloths, and other theme décor for more dramatic effects. Either way, it’s your party at the park, so express yourself. Our knowledgeable park staff may also be able to provide advice regarding caterers and other county-approved vendors.

There is a weekend and holiday gate entrance fee at most regional parks. Nominal fees are also charged for reserving picnic shelters and meeting rooms based on the size of the facility. Early reservations are recommended, especially for major holidays when the parks are open. There are also separate usage fees for some special park facilities.

For fees and other information about meeting in a Broward County park, call the park of your choice, or visit www.broward.org/parks.

Return of the Native

In subtropical South Florida just about anything you stick in the ground has a good chance of growing, which is why so many plants classified variously as non-native, invasive, or exotic can thrive. Such plants may have been introduced intentionally. Australian pines, for example, were originally planted throughout the region as shade trees and windbreaks; now they’re out of control in many areas. Likewise melaleucas, which were once recommended as ornamental landscape trees but are now considered a nuisance plant.

Other times unwitting home landscapers cultivate the wrong kinds of plants, thanks to misinformation from such seemingly reliable sources as books, friends, nurseries, and the Internet. A home landscape including, say, areca and Chinese fan palms, wandering Jew vines, lantana shrubs, flowering four o’clock and ground orchids, and such trees as schefflera, weeping fig, mimosa, and orchid trees might seem like a good plan, but all these plants wreak varying degrees of havoc on the native environment. Even such fruit trees as mango, guava, and sapodilla come with their own sets of problems. And forget about tossing out houseplants that have outgrown their containers – they can easily take root and spread until they run amok.

That, simply put, is the potential problem. Non-native, invasive, and exotic plants can go wild in our yards, parks, and natural areas and on our roadsides and canal banks. The vast majority pose no serious threat, but some grow out of control, competing with native vegetation and gradually displacing it, forever altering ecosystems that have developed over millions of years.

The most notorious invasive plants – the aforementioned Australian pines and melaleucas, along with Brazilian pepper – have long been targeted by intensive campaigns to curb their spread. But you can also do your part simply by paying closer attention to what you grow in your own yard. Don’t trust older editions of landscaping guides, which may contain outdated information, and don’t buy plants just because they’re pretty or your friends or neighbors recommend them. And by all means don’t put indiscriminate faith in the Internet, which is rife with misinformation.

The key is educating yourself on what you put into the ground and what you do with it once it’s planted, and for help with that you can turn to Broward County parks. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek will have its Spring Into Gardening Native Plant Sale, which emphasizes the right kinds of plants to grow in your home landscape. The event will also include gardening information, displays, and children’s arts and crafts. For more information, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.

New Moon or No Moon?

In astronomical terms, the new moon is the lunar phase in which the moon is not visible to the naked eye – the opposite of a full moon. Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie will take advantage of the darkest night of the month on Friday, April 20, when it hosts a New Moon Hike, from 8 to 9 p.m. Participants will carefully make their way along Long Key’s nature trails, looking for nocturnal animals as they emerge. The hike is $3/person, and preregistration is required by the day before the program. For more information, call Long Key at 954-357-8797.

Wings and Things

What do bats and butterflies have in common? Wings, for one thing. Both are also the subject of a Thursday, April 12 program at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach. It’s called Bat and Butterfly House Class and runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Participants ages 16 and up will learn about bat and butterfly roosting habits in South Florida. They’ll also leave with a hand-built bat or butterfly house to attract the flying creatures to their own back yards. A $20 donation to the Friends of Secret Woods volunteer group is requested, and preregistration is required. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-8884. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

The weekend after the bat/butterfly program, Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park South in Coconut Creek will offer a Butterfly Gardening Workshop, starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 14. Participants will: learn how to identify and attract local butterflies to their yards; learn about the plants best suited to starting a butterfly garden; see nectar and larval host plants for butterflies that are available in South Florida; and receive a free photo guide to help identify butterflies and host plants. No reservations are required, and the workshop is free with paid admission to Butterfly World. For more information, call Butterfly World at 954-977-4434. Tradewinds is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.

Spring Has Sprung

Celebrate the season with a free Spring Fling Dance, on Friday, April 20 at the Sunrise Civic Centerin Sunrise (10610 W. Sunrise Blvd.). The event, for individuals ages 18 and up with developmental disabilities, runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and will include deejay music, dancing, socializing, and refreshments. Preregistration is required a week in advance. For more information, contact the Parks Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or SpecialPopulations@broward.org.

Look – Up in the Sky!

It’s not a bird, it’s a plane – a remote-control model aircraft. And it’s flying at Markham Park, the only county park with its own airfield. The weekend of Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 8, the park and the Markham Park Pilots Association (MPPA) will host National Miniature Pylon Racing Association Gold Cup Series RC Pylon Racing. The 6th will be practice day, followed by two days of racing. Fees vary depending on the type of plane. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on race days, followed by racing at 10 a.m. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect on Saturday and Sunday.

The MPPA was started in 1991 and meets every third Wednesday of the month at the park’s target range clubhouse. For more information, call 954-461-5335 or 305-205-9500, or visit www.mppaonline.net

For more information on Markham Park, call 954-357-8868. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #23.

Celebrate Earth Day

Start your Earth Day observance early when two nature centers offer related activities. The Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood starts the month with a Spring Into Earth Day Event, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 1. Participants will learn about conservation, recycling, and the importance of nature in our lives at the program, which is $1/person.

Then, on Saturday, April 21, the day before the official Earth Day, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek offers a Celebrate Earth Day Guided Walk, from 10 to 11 a.m. It’s free and for all ages. Participants will learn about the native habitats found at the nature center. At 2 p.m. the same day, there will be a Living Green Lecture, with tips on how to live a greener life. It’s also free, although donations are encouraged and appreciated.

For more information, call Anne Kolb at 954-357-5161 or Fern Forest at 954-357-5198. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12; Fern Forest is accessible via Routes #31 and #42.

When One Race Isn’t Enough

Forget marathons – triathlons and duathlons are what’s happening this month. A triathlon, remember, consists of swimming, biking, and running, and a duathlon includes a run, a bike ride, and another run.

Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 7, C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines will host the third annual Egg Hunt Triathlon/Duathlon, and starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek gets into the act with its ninth annual Spring Training Triathlon & Duathlon. Both events are presented by Multirace.com, and you can register and get additional information by visiting www.multirace.comor e-mailing info@multirace.com

C.B. Smith is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #3, #5, #7, #23, and 95 Express, while Tradewinds is accessible via Route #34.

Wining & Dining

The second annual Deerfield Beach Wine & Food Festival will be on Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach. Activities include:

·         VIP Dinner Under the Stars (Friday, 7-10 p.m.)

·         Grand Tasting Launch Party (Friday, 7:30-10 p.m.)

·         Jazz Blues Brunch (Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon)

·         Grand Tasting (Saturday, 6-10 p.m.)

Ticket prices vary by activity, and advance tickets are required. Call 561-338-7594, or visit www.DeerfieldBeachWineAndFoodFestival.com. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect on Saturday.

Find Broward’s Only Island Park

As the county’s only true island park (Snake Warrior’s Island is no longer a true island), Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach has plenty of history and considerable avian life, as two programs this month demonstrate.

There are more than 250 species of birds that make South Florida either their permanent or their temporary home, and more than 200 species have been sighted in Broward County parks and natural areas. Up to 80 species have been spotted at Deerfield Island. Many of these are migratory, however, so while the 53.3-acre park is a good site for a volunteer-led Bird Walk, participants should expect to spot anywhere from a dozen to perhaps two dozen species, depending on the season. The next such walk is scheduled for 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 7, and the fee is $3 per person.

The island park also boasts some of the most colorful history in the county’s park system. A link with gangster Al Capone in the early 1930s, for instance, led to the land being labeled Capone Island – even though Capone himself never actually owned it, and the area at that time was a peninsula, not an island.

This is the sort of tidbit you might pick up when the park, which opened in September 1980, hosts an Intracoastal History Tour, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 29. The cost is $5 per person, and boat transportation to the island is provided, although you must be at the Sullivan Park dock by 9:30 a.m. to catch the shuttle.

Space is limited for both programs, and so preregistration is required and can be made by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100. Deerfield Island is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #48 and #50.

Where the “Cooper” in Cooper City Came From

Every year Cooper City celebrates the man who was instrumental in developing the city. Morris Cooper was a Russian-born businessman who, in the late 1950s, helped transform a few acres of orange grove and cattle land into the community that today bears his name. This year’s Founder’s Day, the 53rd annual one, returns to Brian Piccolo Park on the afternoon of Saturday, April 28, after a morning of activities (including a parade) elsewhere in the city.

The Brian Piccolo part of the day starts at 1 p.m. with a car show and ends with fireworks at 9 p.m. In between there will be baseball games featuring the Cooper City Optimist All-Stars, an arts and crafts show, food booths, bingo, children’s activities, a BSO expo, a youth free-throw contest, and a concert.

For more information, call the Cooper City Recreation Department at 954-434-4300, ext. 233, or visit www.coopercityfl.org. Brian Piccolo’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.

Broward County 4-H Is Looking for Judges

4-H Annual County Events is a day of competitions in four categories: Illustrated Talks & Demonstrations, Public Speaking, Fashion Revue, and Share the Fun talent show. This year’s event will be held on April 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Broward County Extension Education Office and the University of Florida Research Center (across the parking lot from Extension). The competition is open to ages 8 to18. Anyone under the age of 8 may exhibit or share project activities on a participation or feedback level. Those who earn the highest scores in their division will go on to participate in the District Events on May 12, in which Broward 4-H youth compete against youth from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Seniors earning a blue Standard of Excellence ribbon at the district level are eligible to participate in Florida 4-H Congress, which is held at the University of Florida the week of July 25-29. 

If you would like to volunteer to judge any of these events, please contact Rina LaRosa or Erin Daniels at 954-357-5270. The tentative schedule, subject to change depending on the number of participants, is as follows:

·         9:20-9:45 a.m. – Judges’ Orientation

·         10 a.m. -12:30 p.m. – Public Speaking Competition (UF Research Center)

·         10 a.m. -12:30 p.m. – Illustrated Talks & Demonstrations (Extension Auditorium)

·         12:30-1:30 p.m. – Lunch (judges tally scores of morning events)

·         1:30p.m. – Fashion Revue, immediately followed by Share the Fun

All Things Creepy and Crawly

For three successive Sundays this month, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek will offer a Nature Lecture series, from noon to 1 p.m. The topic on April 15 will be “Snakes,” followed by “Spiders” on April 22. The series concludes on April 29 with “Dangerous Plants, Animals, and Insects.” Live animals will be included as part of the presentations, which include question-and-answer sessions, but relax – you’ll be neither expected nor allowed to handle them. The lectures are free, but donations are encouraged and appreciated.

For additional information, call the nature center at 954-357-5198. Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.

A Dog’s Life

Did you know that, according to the Humane Society of the United States, nearly 40 percent of U.S. households have at least one dog? That translates to approximately 78.2 million dogs. If you’re one of those households and your beloved pooch presents problems big or small, keep in mind that nine Broward County parks have dog-training classes of various sorts, so there’s really no excuse for having a misbehaving mutt. For more information, contact the park of your choice, or visit this Web page for more details on what’s available.

·         C.B. Smith Park (954-357-5170) – Humane K9

·         Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium (954-357-5400) – American IDogs

·         Markham Park (954-357-8868) – PlayTrain

·         Plantation Heritage Park (954-357-5135) – Oh Behave

·         Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100) – K-9 Charm School

·         Sunview Park (954-791-1040) – American IDogs and Command Dog Training

·         Tradewinds Park (954-357-8870) – A Dog’s Best Friend

·         T.Y. Park (954-357-8811) – K-9 Charm School

·         Vista View Park (954-357-8898) – Purely Positive Dog Training

Events Calendar

Quote of the Month

“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” – American industrialist Henry J. Kaiser (1882-1967)

Special Attractions

Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Butterfly World (Tradewinds Park) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park) – Exhibit Halls (Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, Fern Forest Nature Center, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, Secret Woods Nature Center) – Golf Facilities (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Multipurpose Athletic Fields (Brian Piccolo Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Tradewinds Park) – Observatory (Markham Park) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park) – Target Range (Markham Park) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park)

Mission Statement

The Parks and Recreation Division is dedicated to providing a countywide park system with diverse facilities and recreation opportunities, along with natural area conservation and research-based educational outreach, to enhance the well-being of residents, businesses, and visitors.

Your Opinion Counts!

We’d like to know what you think about our programs and facilities. Please take a moment to tell us how we’re doing by filling out this survey.

SWIM Central

Broward County Commission's primary resource and referral service for available swim programs in cooperation with various cities and nonprofit organizations. Call 954-357-SWIM (7946).

Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation manages nearly 6,500 acres, encompassing 18 regional parks and nature centers, six neighborhood parks, and 21 natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities. Hours and fees vary by location. For more information, visit www.broward.org/parks

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in county programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Sue Gunzburger
Dale V.C. Holness
Kristin Jacobs
Chip LaMarca
Ilene Lieberman
Stacy Ritter
John E. Rodstrom Jr.
Barbara Sharief
Lois Wexler

Subscribe/Unsubscribe to the Highlights Newsletter
Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.