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 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 broward.org/parks.
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 54th annual one, returns to Brian Piccolo Park on the afternoon of Saturday, April 27, 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 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.
The third annual Deerfield Beach Wine & Food Festival will run Friday-Sunday, April 26-28, at Quiet Waters Park. Wine connoisseurs, food aficionados, and adventurous novices will be able to sample more than 75 artisan wines, craft beers, and gourmet food from South Florida’s top chefs. The event also includes cooking demos, live music, and a retail market. The theme is “A Blue Wave Affair.” Highlights include:
· VIP Dinner Under the Stars (Friday, 7-10 p.m.)
· Vineyard Party (Friday, 7:30-10 p.m.)
· VIP Grand Tasting (Saturday, 6-10:30 p.m.)
· Grand Tasting (Saturday, 7-10:30 p.m.)
· Jazz Bubbles & Brunch (Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.)
Ticket prices vary by activity, and advance tickets are required. Call 561-338-7594, or visit DeerfieldBeachWineAndFoodFestival.com. Quiet Waters’ regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect on Saturday and Sunday.
Our four aquatics facilities reopened for the season late last month: 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. This month they’re open Saturdays and Sundays only, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. Sessions will not be in effect. Details on the schedule from May through September 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 other 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.
The Anne Kolb Nature Center, known for its mangrove wetlands and its Mangrove Hall event facility, joins forces with the Music Club of Hollywood this month for two tuneful programs. On Saturday, April 13, Music at the Mangrove will feature scholarship auditions open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by a professional piano recital by Kwan Yi from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Then, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, there will be a Harp Concert. Both programs are free. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5161. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12.
Reptiles get a bad rap sometimes, but not at Broward County Parks, where we’re committed to educating the public about these strange, fascinating creatures. This month Secret Woods Nature Center offers Turtle Time, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 14. The family-oriented free program includes a presentation and activities such as crafts. Secret Woods is also the site for a regularly scheduled Wonderful Reptiles program, from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 20. It’s also free and for all ages. Call Secret Woods (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6) at 954-357-8884.
The next day, Sunday, April 21, Fern Forest Nature Center hosts a Nature Lecture: Snakes, from noon to 1 p.m. A $5 donation to the Fern Allies volunteer group is requested for the lecture, which is followed by a question-and-answer session. There will be live animals used for the presentation, although the public will not be expected or allowed to handle them. (Another lecture, “Spiders,” will be offered on Saturday, April 27, also from noon to 1 p.m.) Call Fern Forest (Routes #31 and #42) at 954-357-5198.
The disc golf course at Easterlin Park will again be aglow on Saturday, April 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. That’s when the park will host the final 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, plus Florida sales tax.
Also on April 6, the park will also offer a Lichen Love Affair program, for ages 6 and up, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Participants will meet at the office, then process to the Woodland Trail to take a look at lichens under the glow of a black light. Preregistration is required for this program, which is $5 per person plus Florida sales tax. 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 info on the disc golf event, call Easterlin (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #14) at 954-357-5190. For details on the lichen event, call Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100.
Help Celebrate the season with a free Spring Fling Dance, on Friday, April 19 at the Sunrise Civic Center in 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 at least a week in advance.
For more information, contact the Parks Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or SpecialPopulations@broward.org.
The 7.1 miles of novice and intermediate mountain bike trails at Quiet Waters Park 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, April 13, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call the park at 954-357-5100 to find out more about how you can help.
Whether you’re in northern or central Broward County, we’ve got you covered this month as far as butterflies are concerned with Butterfly Gardening Workshops at two parks. The first is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park South. The workshop is free with paid admission to the world-famous attraction. 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 information, call Butterfly World at 954-977-4400.
Then, on Sunday, April 28, Secret Woods Nature Center will host its own workshop, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is $10 plus Florida sales tax, and preregistration is required for the program, which is for ages 16 and up. For more information, call Secret Woods (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6) at 954-357-8884.
Check out the avian life at Fern Forest Nature Center on Sunday, April 14, when the park hosts The Early Bird Catches…The Bird! This guided bird walk will be led by wildlife biologist and ornithologist John Hutchison and starts at the early-bird hour of 7 a.m. The program will be repeated on Wednesday, April 17, also at 7 a.m. The fee is $3 plus Florida sales tax. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5198. Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.
Did you know that, according to the Humane Society of the United States, more than 36 percent of U.S. households have at least one dog? That translates to nearly 70 million dogs. If you’re one of those households and your beloved pooch presents problems big or small, keep in mind that half a dozen 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 pagefor more details on what’s available.
· Markham Park & Target Range– PlayTrain
· Plantation Heritage Park– Oh Behave
· Quiet Waters Park– K-9 Charm School
· Sunview Park– American IDogs
· Tradewinds Park & Stables– A Dog’s Best Friend
· T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park– K-9 Charm School
Fire burn, and caldron bubble. The witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth conjured up a hellish mix that included “Eye of newt, and toe of frog / Wool of bat, and tongue of dog.” Don’t expect to come up with anything quite that exotic when Secret Woods Nature Center offers Concoctions, Potions, Blends, and Brews: Extractions, a combination lecture/workshop. But you will learn how to make a variety of herbal extractions. The program, for ages 18 and up, runs from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, and the fees are $10 Florida sales tax for the lecture and a separate $10 requested donation to the Friends of Secret Woods volunteer group to cover the cost of supplies. For more information, call Secret Woods (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6) at 954-357-8884.
April is a busy month for a variety of causes. These events are scheduled for our parks:
· Race To Erase Child Abuse & Neglect 5K Run/Walk – Sat., Apr. 6, 6:30 a.m. – Markham Park & Target Range – lifeabundantlyfree.org
· First Annual Paralyzed Veterans of America Awareness 5K Run, Walk & Roll – Sun., Apr. 7, 7 a.m. – Tradewinds Park & Stables – pvaf5k.com
· Bobby Resciniti Healing Hearts Angel Walk – Sun., Apr. 7, 10 a.m. – Tradewinds Park & Stables – angelbobby.org
· Broward 2013 Walk To Cure Diabetes – Sat., Apr. 20, 7:30 a.m. – Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium – jdrf.org
· Art Walk 4 Autism – Sat., Apr. 20, 11 a.m. – Plantation Heritage Park – artwalk4autism.com
· 10th Annual Sprint for the Cure – Sun., Apr. 21, time TBA – Markham Park & Target Range – floridabraintumor.com
Most of these events include refreshments, entertainment, and other activities. For more information, visit the Websites indicated above. In most cases, the parks’ regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.
“The customer doesn’t expect everything will go right all the time; the big test is what you do when things go wrong.” – British businessman Colin Marshall (1933-2012)
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.
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.
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.