Broward County Parks' nature centers are home to exhibit halls that provide historical, anthrophological, and environmental information about our county's natural habitat. These facilities are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of the exhibit hall at Anne Kolb Nature Center, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting October 1, 2021. As before the pandemic, there is never an admission fee to the nature centers or their exhibit halls.
The exhibit halls are as varied as the nature centers they are part of. The oldest is at Fern Forest, which opened in 1985; it is slated for an upgrade pending funding availability. The space, on the ground floor of the nature center building adjacent to the park office, includes interpretive exhibits of Fern Forest's historical and natural history. There are also display cases housing live native reptiles.
At Anne Kolb, which opened in 1996, you'll find some new features dotting the cavernous main exhibit hall, which includes static and interactive displays on the park's mangrove ecosystem. The adjacent Eco-Room offers hands-on nature experiences for all ages, and there's a miniature theater showing a 10-minute video on the nature center's history. For more than a
decade, the hall has also hosted a popular series of monthly art exhibits
featuring the work, often nature-related, of individual artists and groups of
artists based in South Florida.
Secret Woods (which opened in 1978) got its freestanding Monarch Interpretive Center in 2002. The 2,000-square-foot building has interpretive displays and hands-on activities, including three computer kiosks with interactive programs about plant, animal, and marine life, as well as weather and soil. A reptile habitat is home to native snakes, and there are exhibits of Native American artifacts and a large mural depicting Native Americans approaching the historic Stranahan House to trade their wares. A video room offers presentations on the Everglades and other nature-related topics, available by request.
The newest exhibit hall is at Long Key, which opened in 2008. It's a nearly 2,400-square-foot section of the nature center's main building and highlights the history of the Tequesta and Seminole Native Americans on Long Key. Natural history exhibits include a simulated archaeological dig pit; interactive exhibits on vegetation, birds, and birdcalls; and live animals, including reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods. A large black-and-white photo mural was commissioned for the site by nature photographer Clyde Butcher, widely known as the "Ansel Adams of the Everglades."