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Focus on Tall Cypress Natural Area
The Renaissance, South Florida-Style
Parks Celebrate Black History Year Round
One Wish at a Time
Birds of a Feather
New to YouTube
What’s “Rugger”?
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Maintenance Matters
By Land, By Water, and By Air
All Aglow
Make Your Own Kind of Music
Social Studies
Quote of the Month
Special Attractions
Mission Statement
Your Opinion Counts!
SWIM Central
Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Focus on Tall Cypress Natural Area

A decade and one year ago – on February 7, 2002, to be precise – Broward County and the City of Coral Springs turned a dream into a reality for Save What’s Left, an environmental conservation group originating at Coral Springs High School. Tall Cypress Natural Area, a 66-acre site rich in natural resources, opened on that date, and the grass-roots school organization had been instrumental in saving the natural area from development. Today Tall Cypress – one of the last remaining stands of basin swamp and pine flatwoods in the county – is jointly owned by the city and Broward County, which manages it.

The site contains a dense, continuous canopy of cypress trees that transitions to slash pines. Interspersed within this canopy are shallow willow and pond apple depressions, sabal palm heads, red maples, and strangler fig trees. The understory of sword and leather ferns, saw palmetto, swamp lily, soft-leaved wild coffee, beautyberry, and other basin swamp plants is so thick that it is extremely difficult to traverse this urban forest by foot – hence the 2,090-foot elevated boardwalk with two covered overlooks that enables visitors to experience the natural area without disturbing it.

In terms of animal species, the site is one of the most diverse purchased through the 1989 Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) Bond program. Due to the density of vegetation and the lack of disturbance, the site is ideal habitat for heavily forested woodland species. Resident and migratory birds documented here include the great horned owl, pileated woodpecker, great egret, little blue heron, cardinal, bluejay, and many species of warbler. Among the plentiful reptiles are the Florida box turtle, Florida softshell turtle, cornsnake, eastern garter snake, and green anole lizard. The site is also home to many species of butterflies, including white peacock, malachite, gulf fritillary, and Julia.

Along with the boardwalk, Tall Cypress also includes among its amenities a concrete trail, restrooms, interpretive signage, seating areas, an amphitheater, and a small parking lot.

For more information about this natural area, contact Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100 or email NaturalAreas@broward.org. Tall Cypress is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.

The Renaissance, South Florida-Style

The Renaissance, according to Wikipedia, lasted from roughly the 14th century to the 17th century, beginning in Italy and spreading to the rest of Europe in “a flowering of literature, science, art, religion, and politics, and a resurgence of learning…” Not surprisingly, this period in history when Europe made the transition from the dark ages into the modern era is a topic of great fascination for many people, especially the revelry and excess in costume and cuisine that marked portions of the period.

Each year the Florida Renaissance Festival brings a taste of the Renaissance to Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, and this year the celebration marks its 21st anniversary. Visiting kings and queens will all claim land for their respective countries, and the festival’s makeshift village will be packed with artisans and craftspeople selling and demonstrating their wares, not to mention rides, nearly a dozen stages featuring continuous entertainment, and hearty food and drink of the time.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to sunset for five weekends, from Saturday, February 9 through Sunday, March 10, plus President’s Day, Monday, February 18. Admission is $20 for ages 12 and up, $7 for ages 6 to 11, and free for ages 5 and under. Group rates and season tickets are also available. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50 per person (children 5 and under free) will also be in effect.

For additional information, call Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100 or the festival at 954-776-1642, or visit www.ren-fest.com. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #14 and #48.

Parks Celebrate Black History Year Round

February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month, an annual commemoration that was established in 1976 to highlight the contributions of African-Americans to the cultures of the United States and Canada. The designation was an expansion of Negro History Week, which dates back to 1926 and encompassed the birthdays of both the abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

To learn more about local black history, there’s no better place to start than at two neighborhood parks that represent Broward County’s distinctive pan-African cultural heritage. Across the parking lot from the county’s acclaimed African-American Research Library and Cultural Center – one of only three of its kind in the nation – you’ll find Reverend Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park. The park’s namesake was one of Fort Lauderdale’s first black police officers, as well as a community activist, politician, businessman, civil rights leader, and street minister. In 1979, two years after Reverend Delevoe was fatally shot, the park was rededicated in honor of his outstanding contributions. In homage to him and many other notable community figures, an art installation in the park, called Pillars of the Community, displays 84 names of leaders past and present. The project is part of the county’s Public Art and Design program.

Just north of Delevoe Park is Franklin Park, with its brightly colored playground and a thousand-foot-long walkway that runs through the park. The walkway and the benches that line it make up an installation known as The Word Garden, created by Broward artists Angela Curreri and Rick Yasko, that celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa in both Swahili and English. This is also a Public Art and Design project.

Along with these major public art projects, Delevoe Park’s 36 acres feature areas for fishing, a picnic shelter, a playground, a canoe launch, and sports facilities. Franklin Park, at 3.1 acres, offers basketball courts, a playground, picnic shelters, a walking trail, a weight room, and a community center. Both parks are included in the After-School Program and the annual Summer Recreation Program sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Division. This year Franklin will screen Black History Month Movies from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays, February 8 and 22, and Delevoe will once again participate in the annual Sistrunk Historical Festival on Saturday, February 23.

For more information, call Delevoe at 954-791-1036, Franklin at 954-791-1037, or the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center at 954-625-2800. Delevoe and the library/cultural center are accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #11 and #40. Franklin is accessible via Routes #11, #36, and #40.

One Wish at a Time

In its first three years the more than 3,100  participants who took part in the Walk for Wishes 5K Walk/Run, a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, generated more than $290,000 – enough to grant the wishes of 58 children. This year the fourth annual event will no doubt add significantly to that number. The walk/run will take place starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 2, at Markham Park & Target Range in Sunrise. (Registration is at 7:30 a.m.) After the event, stick around for a light breakfast and Family Fun Day activities, which run from 9 to 11 a.m.

Registration is $25 for adults (ages 13 and up) in advance or $30 the day of the event; ages 12 and under pay $10 in advance or $15 on event day. The park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) is waived for walk/run participants but in effect for spectators.

Bikes, skateboards, in-line skates, and pets are not permitted on the course, and strollers and wheelchairs are permitted for the walk only, not the run. For more information, visit www.walkforwishes.net or contact the foundation at 888-773-9474.

Birds of a Feather

Did you know there’s a thriving colony of burrowing owls at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill? Find out more about these enigmatic creatures when the park – which is better known for its sports facilities, corporate pavilions, and water park – hosts a rare volunteer-led Nature/Bird Walk, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 16. While other birds may be sighted on the walk, the emphasis is on the park’s population of burrowing owls, and the walk will focus on the park’s natural area and burrowing owl habitat. The walk is free, although the park’s regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.

Florida burrowing owls, the only ground-nesting owls in the state, are listed as a Species of Special Concern by the state and are also protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act. That’s because the birds are threatened by the loss of habitat and by such urban predators as snakes, opossums, raccoons, and even cats and dogs. When Central Broward Regional was built in 2005, a priority was ensuring that the burrowing owls already living on the site be preserved and protected.

Here are a few interesting tidbits about burrowing owls:

· They’re sometimes called the “howdy bird” because of their habit of bowing and bobbing when approached.

· Burrowing owls have 13 distinct calls, more than any other North American owl. One of them mimics the sound of a rattlesnake.

· Females incubate the eggs while the males stand sentry at the entrance to the nest and hunt for food. A male will bring the food back to the entrance, and the female will take it inside to the owlets.

· Baby owls emerge from the burrow when they are 10 to 14 days old. Their parents teach them to hunt by bringing them dead or injured insects to pounce on.

· Males are often lighter-colored than females, thought to be due to sun-bleaching from standing guard while the females incubate the eggs underground.

Another program will be held on Saturday, March 23. The walks last up to two hours, depending on the level of interest of participants and the amount of bird and wildlife activity on view. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5400. Central Broward Regional is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #18, #40, and #81.

New to YouTube

Parks has added a new “you are there” experience to its YouTube channel. The video takes you inside the Splash Adventure water park at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, which reopens in March for its 2013 season.

What’s “Rugger”?

The sport known by Americans as football can be traced in part to a 19th-century version of the game played in England, where it’s called rugby or, more informally, rugger. (“Rugger” is also slang for a rugby player.) If you’ve never seen the English version played, you’ll have a chance when Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill hosts the 37th annual Ruggerfest. National and international clubs and teams of all levels will be featured, from high school through collegiate through adult premier, with both genders represented.

The tournament runs from Friday, February 22 through Sunday, February 24, and it’s co-sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale Rugby Football Club, which has been around since 1977. Spectators are admitted to the tournament free, although the park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. For more tournament information, call the hotline at 954-543-6287, or email coach@ftlrugby.com. Central Broward Regional is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #18, #36, #40, and #81.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Stock up on native plants, herbs, and vegetable plants when the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood hosts a Go Native Plant Sale. The free event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, February 9, and all ages are welcome.

Over at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, you can learn another way to grow plants at the park’s ongoing series of Propagation Classes, which continues from 2 to 3 p.m. the next day, Sunday, February 10, with installment one, “Seeds.” Participants will get hands-on instruction in various techniques, and you’re welcome to bring your own seeds. Secret Woods also hosts a meeting of the Florida Native Plant Society, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13. Future sessions focus on “Cuttings” and “Grafting.”

For more information, call Anne Kolb at 954-357-5161 or Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12, Secret Woods via Route #6.

Maintenance Matters

The 7.1 miles of novice and intermediate mountain bike trails at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach don’t take care of themselves. That’s why the park will host a Mountain Bike Trail Maintenance Day this month. It’s on Saturday, February 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Quiet Waters at 954-357-5100 to find out more about how you can help.

By Land, By Water, and By Air

Whether they live on the ground, swim in the water, or take to the air, several varieties of animals are center stage at Broward County Parks this month. Butterflies are the topic of the Delightful Flight program at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, offering an up-close look at some South Florida species. It’s from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 10, and the fee is $1.50 per person. The focus shifts to Wonderful Reptiles on Saturday, February 16, when visitors will meet some of the nature center’s reptilian residents. The free program is from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Both programs are for all ages. For more information, call Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

All Aglow

The disc golf course at Easterlin Park in Oakland Park will again be aglow on Friday, February 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. That’s when the park will host the latest installment of its Disc “Glow” Golf Series, a tournament in which the participants guide themselves through the course using flashlights. (Bring your own flashlights and discs – the park will not provide them.) The program is designed for ages 13 and up, and ages 13 to 17 must have a parent/guardian with them to participate. Fees are $5 per person if you preregister, $8 per person if you wait until the night of the program. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5190. Easterlin is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #14.

Make Your Own Kind of Music

Every second Sunday of the month from October through May, from 2 to 4 p.m., Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek hosts Jammin’, an unplugged jam session for people interested in folk, mountain, and bluegrass music. Participants are welcome to bring instruments if they like (no amplifiers, please), or just to sit and listen. The popular audience-participation event has been led by the same group of volunteer musicians since its inception in the mid-1980s. This month’s session will be on February 10.

If you’re more centrally located in the county, something similar takes place on the fourth Sunday of the month at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, which offers Jamming in the Park. The free program, for ages 16 and up, runs from 1 to 4 p.m. This month the program falls on February 24.

For more information, call the nature centers at 954-357-5198 (Fern Forest) and 954-357-8884 (Secret Woods). Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42, Secret Woods via Route #6.

Social Studies

The Broward County Parks and Recreation Division’s Special Populations Section will host a free Friday Night Social, for adult mental health consumers ages 18 and up. The event will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, February 8, at Tree Tops Park in Davie.

A week later, on Friday, February 15, also from 7 to 9:30 p.m., there will be a Teen Social: Sounds of the ’70s, for ages 13 to 21 with developmental disabilities. The free event will be held at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek. Participants are invited to come dressed in vintage 1970s clothing.

Activities for both events include deejay music, dancing, refreshments, and socializing. Preregistration is required at least a week in advance for the Teen Social. To register, or for more information on either event, call Special Populations at 954-357-8170.

Quote of the Month

“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” – British statesman Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Special Attractions

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)

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 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.

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Sue Gunzburger
Dale V.C. Holness
Kristin Jacobs
Martin David Kiar
Chip LaMarca
Stacy Ritter
Tim Ryan
Barbara Sharief
Lois Wexler

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Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.