Do you have a toddler or preschooler in your household? Don’t worry – we have you covered with facilities and activities appropriate for the pintsize set. And remember, children 5 and under are always admitted free to our regional parks on weekends and holidays.
- Barkham at Markham – Let your preschooler frolic with Fido (under adult supervision, of course) at the dog park at Markham Park & Target Range. Fees are $25 per household for an annual pass, or $5 for a daily pass (both fees subject to sales tax). The three-acre, fenced-in area includes sections for dogs both large and small. For more information on Barkham, call 954-357-8868.
- Butterfly World – Admission is free for ages 2 and under at this world-famous attraction at Tradewinds Park & Stables, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.). Walk freely among hundreds of butterflies, or visit aviaries, tropical gardens, and an insect museum - what kid isn't fascinated by bugs? For more information, call Butterfly World directly at 954-977-4434.
- Knee-High Naturalist – A program for ages 3 to 5, in which a naturalist teaches the tots about nature using games, nature walks, hands-on activities, and outside adventures. Themes vary by month. The fee is $5 per child, and preregistration is required by calling Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center at 954-357-8797.
- Model Steam Train Rides – Offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays the third full weekend of the month, year round, at Tradewinds Park & Stables. Rides are $1.50 per person on one-eighth life-size trains, which run on a half-mile track along a scenic lake. For more information, call 954-357-8870.
- Nature Tots – Ages 2 to 4 learn about nature through stories, songs, arts and crafts, and more at this long-running program, which costs $5 per child. Themes vary by month. Offered from 10 to 11 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776), third Tuesday at West Lake Park (954-357-5161), second Thursday at Fern Forest (954-357-5198), and fourth Thursday at Secret Woods (954-357-8884). No November program at Secret Woods and no November and December programs at Fern Forest.
- Playgrounds – Most of our regional and neighborhood parks have at least one playground, most of them protected from the sun by shade structures. At Vista View Park (954-357-8898), one of the two playgrounds is fully accessible to all ages and levels of ability. Admission is free, although there is a $1.50/person weekend gate fee at most regional parks (children 5 and under admitted free).
- Pony Rides – What kid doesn’t love a pony? Ages 9 and under can ride one for $3 (plus tax) on Saturdays and Sundays at Tradewinds Park & Stables (954-357-8870), from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The rides are offered at the park’s educational farm complex, which has weekend tours with animal encounters at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., also at $3/person. Animals onsite include goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, cattle, and a miniature donkey. Call 954-357-8870 for more info.
- Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn – An exploration of nature through such activities as games, hands-on projects, crafts, storytelling, songs, and a nature walk or animal encounter. Themes vary by month at this program for ages 3 to 5, offered the second Thursday of the month at Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, 954-357-8797. The fee is $5 per child; preregistration is required.
- Water Parks – Our aquatics facilities, open seasonally (roughly March through September), feature water playgrounds especially designed with children in mind, including 12-inch-deep pools with small waterslides and other interactive play elements. Castaway Island is at T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park (954-357-8811), Paradise Cove is at C.B. Smith Park (954-357-5170), Splash Adventure is at Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100), and Tropical Splash is at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium (954-357-5400). Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., and fees vary by park.