Focus on Everglades Holiday Park
By Popular Demand
Find Your Getaway
Beating the Heat
Find Daily Excitement – At a Water Park Near You
Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Fun
Advisory Board Notice
Quote of the Month
Your Opinion Counts!
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
June 3 marks one year since management of this 29-acre park officially transferred from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) back to Broward County. A lot has happened in that year: restroom renovations, improvements in energy efficiency, new accessibility ramps, repaired decks and roofing in picnic areas, a renovated fishing pier, parking lot improvements, and new fencing around the gator pit and the entrance to Science Eye. Through it all, Everglades Holiday Park stayed open 24/7, although the campground remains temporarily closed until necessary renovations can be completed.
The property that now makes up the park was deeded to Broward County in 1964 by Davie Farm Lands, with the stipulation that the sole use of the land be for “public recreation purposes.” The following year the county entered a long-term agreement to lease the site to FWC. In succeeding years FWC sublet the park’s concession services to private vendors, including, since 1992, Bridges Everglades LLC, which remains the primary concessionaire.
The park sits at the western terminus of Griffin Road, with the portion of Broward County that is developed to the east and the Everglades to the west. Large-capacity airboats with covered compartments take visitors on ‘Glades tours, with experienced guides providing information on the history and the flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem. Each approximately one-hour airboat expedition concludes back at the park with an alligator show. (TV’s Gator Boys uses the park as a base.)
Boaters are welcome to bring and launch their own boats or to rent 14-foot johnboats, which are available from sunrise to sundown for fishing or Everglades sightseeing. Licensed fishers can fish from the park’s docks as well. With 36-hour advance notice, visitors can arrange for a professionally guided fishing trip that includes the boat, rods, and artificial bait.
Among the park’s other amenities are a deli/food concession with takeout window (picnic tables are nearby), and a general store stocked with prepackaged snack foods, sodas, beer, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, boating gear, ice, and other items. Bait and tackle and fishing and game licenses are also for sale there, as well as tickets for airboat rides. A gift/souvenir shop adjacent to the general store offers such merchandise as T-shirts, jewelry, and gator-related novelty items.
For more information on Everglades Holiday Park, call the park office at 954-357-8101.
The annual Sea Turtles and Their Babies program at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood doesn’t get under way until July, but if you wait until then to try to reserve a spot you’ll probably be out of luck – the long-running program regularly sells out well in advance. This year’s installment will run on Wednesdays and Fridays from Friday, July 5 through Friday, August 30, starting at 8 p.m.
This educational series on some of South Florida’s most endangered species covers a variety of topics related to the beleaguered marine reptiles and their plight. Following an hourlong video presentation and lecture, participants will accompany a naturalist on a hatchling release to see what these tiny creatures face during their first crucial minutes of life. You’ll also learn to identify the species of sea turtles found in South Florida, their habitat, breeding and nesting, identification of crawls and nests, conservation efforts, past exploitation, and current management problems now facing sea turtles.
Space is limited and no walk-ins are accepted. The fee is $8 per person, and prepayment is required. Participants should also bring quarters for metered parking at the release site. The program is also subject to rescheduling or cancellation if weather conditions are not favorable.
For more information or to preregister, call the nature center at 954-357-5161. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12.
Looking to get away without going far away? For a fun, affordable “staycation” close to home, look no farther than our three regional parks with summer camping specials starting June 1: Easterlin Park in Oakland Park, Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, and T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park in Hollywood.
The Family Fun Package offers a two-night stay (Fridays and Saturdays only) for four campers for $50; two more campers can be added at $3 each per night. The Escape Special, which runs from Sundays through Thursdays, offers a one-night stay for four campers for $20 per site per night; two additional campers can join you for $3 each per night. These two specials are available at Quiet Waters through September 30 and at Easterlin through October 31. Campers at Quiet Waters also receive special rates on admission to the Splash Adventure water park, boat rentals at Lakeview Marina, bike rentals and merchandise at Bike America, and group lessons at Ski Rixen USA cable water-skiing.
At T.Y. Park through August 31, the Castaway Getaway offers campsites for $30 per site per night, which includes admission for four registered campers to the park’s Castaway Island water park.
For additional information, call Easterlin at 954-357-5190, Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100, or T.Y. at 954-357-8811.
Summer’s almost here, according to the calendar. But as you’ve probably noticed, subtropical heat and humidity are already here. That’s no reason to stay cooped up indoors – not when you can take refuge in our North Broward Natural Areas, some of which will host Beat the Heat Hikes, every other weekend starting on June 2 and running through September. These hourlong naturalist-led hikes will take you through scrub, pine flatwood, and cypress habitats as you learn about how plants and animals adapt to summer heat.
Saturday hikes (this month on June 15 and 29) will be at Highlands Scrub Natural Area in Pompano Beach, 8 to 9 a.m. Sunday hikes (this month on June 2, 16, and 30) will consist of two morning hikes – one at Helene Klein Pineland Preserve in Coconut Creek (which also includes a side trip to nearby West Creek Pineland Natural Area), from 8 to 9 a.m., and another at Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Participants are encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring drinking water. Please note that restrooms are available only at Hillsboro Pineland. The hikes are free, although preregistration is required by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100.
This month Broward County Parks offers seven free opportunities to find out more about what’s in the South Florida night sky, weather permitting. From roughly dusk to midnight on Saturdays, June 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) opens the Fox Observatory at Markham Park in Sunrise.
This nonprofit organization, which has been around since the mid-1960s, has a variety of telescopic equipment at its disposal, and its members will teach you the ropes. The group also meets at the Fox at 7:30 p.m. on the first Thursday, which this month falls on June 6. Markham Park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #23.
The SFAAA also hosts quarterly gatherings called An Evening With the Stars at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek. This quarter the event is on Friday, June 21, starting at 7 p.m. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5198. Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.
Our four aquatics facilities continue their season, going to a daily schedule on Thursday, June 6. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. at these water parks: Paradise Cove at C.B. Smith Park; Tropical Splash at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium; Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park; and Castaway Island at T.Y.(Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park. Sessions will be in effect on Saturdays and Sundays at Splash Adventure and Tropical Splash. Details on the schedule from July through September (October at Paradise Cove) are available on our water park Web page, where you’ll also find information on our seasonal aquatics passes for individuals and families.
For daily water park fees and additional information, call C.B. Smith at 954-357-5170, Central Broward Regional at 954-357-5400, Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100, or T.Y. at 954-357-8811. C.B. Smith is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #3, #5, #7, #23, and 95 Express; Central Broward Regional via Routes #18, #36, #40, and #81; Quiet Waters via Routes #14 and #48; and T.Y. via Routes #3, #12, and #17.
A love of science doesn’t equal geekdom, as your kids will learn if you sign them up for Science Eye Safari Camp at Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie. Campers are immersed in the roles of a scientist making observations, conducting experiments, engaging in field studies, and more. By participating in fun, interactive, hands-on projects, they’ll learn to explore the world around them to gain new insights and become aware of why it’s important to take care of the environment.
Each day is a new adventure at this day camp for ages 7 to 12, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily the weeks of June 17-21, June 24-28, July 8-12, and July 29-August 2. The fee is $300 per child per week, with after-care from 4 to 5 p.m. available for an additional fee.
For more information, call 954-680-7977, email email@example.com, or visit scienceeye.com.
Eye patches, peg legs, and hand hooks are optional when Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach hosts Splash Ahoy! this month on Fridays, June 14 and 28. Fun is mandatory, however, thanks to such activities as a bounce house, games, a movie, and splash time in the park’s Splash Adventure water playground. The events run from 6 to 10 p.m. and cost $6 per person. Refreshments will also be available for purchase. Space is limited, and advance ticket purchase is required by calling the park at 954-357-5100. Quiet Waters is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #14 and #48.
If you think you know football just because you’re familiar with the American version, think again. Australian rules football is a whole other game, and you can learn more about this rough-and-tumble sport when Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill hosts the inaugural Australian Football Stadium Classic, on Saturday, June 22. The all-day round-robin tournament pits the host team, the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids, against the Florida Redbacks, the Dallas Magpies, and an invitational team (the Conquistadors) made up of players from around North America.
Australian football is believed to have been first played according to standardized rules in 1859 in Melbourne and has grown to encompass more than 2,500 clubs worldwide. While it is the most popular spectator sport Down Under, it is still establishing a foothold in the U.S., which currently has 36 clubs.
The tourney marks the first time a United States Australian Football League (USAFL) competition will be played at the facility, an International Cricket Council-approved stadium (the only one in the country) that was built with cricket and Australian football in mind. The park and the USAFL co-host the event with the Fort Lauderdale Australian Football Club (FLAFC).
Call Central Broward Regional at 954-357-5400 for times and additional information. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. Central Broward Regional is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #18, #36, #40, and #81.
For years Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek has been stimulating young minds with Nature Detectives, a weeklong summer day camp for ages 8 to 11. This summer the popular program has sessions running from 9 a.m. to noon daily June 17-21 and July 15-19. Each day will focus on a different theme, as participants explore the nature center’s habitats through hands-on experiences, crafts, and other activities.
The fee is $75 per camper for the week, and preregistration is required. For more information, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.
A reminder: Kids 9 through 16 can learn how to saddle up at the annual Summer Horse Camp at Tradewinds Park & Stables in Coconut Creek. The program starts on June 10 and ends on August 15, and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Riding instruction (weather permitted) and many other activities are featured. This year the camp is offered in one-day, two-day, and four-day sessions. Fees range from $75 to $400. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Fees must be paid and a release and waiver of liability signed at registration.
For further information, call the park at 954-357-8870. Tradewinds is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.
The public is invited to the next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Friday, June 7. The meeting will take place at Fern Forest Nature Center, 201 Lyons Rd. South, Coconut Creek 33063; 954-357-5198.
“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” – American President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)
Airboat Rides (Everglades Holiday Park) – Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Bike America (Quiet Waters Park) – Butterfly World (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park & Target Range, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park & Target Range) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – 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 & Velodrome, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Observatory (Markham Park & Target Range) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park & Stables, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Target Range (Markham Park & Target Range) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park)
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.
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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 Division manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and 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 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.
Dale V.C. Holness
Martin David Kiar
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Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.