The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department offers many opportunities to explore a variety of traditional activities, such as hiking, biking, jogging and more. But families also can try lesser-known, more adventurous activities in our parks. Check out the many ways your family can enjoy the outdoors in some non-traditional ways.
Here are a few ways that children and parents can work on their bow-and-arrow skills and learn the sport of archery.
Okeeheelee Nature Center west of West Palm Beach offers Archery for Beginners and Archery Open Range classes on select Saturdays each month. Be sure to subscribe to Leisure Times Online for more information about these two classes, including schedules and fees.
- Archery for Beginners: Learn the basics of archery from safety to shooting and develop a new skill during this two-hour program. Equipment is provided, and space is limited. Wear close-toed shoes and bring water and sun protection.
- Archery Open Range: This is the chance to practice those newfound archery skills. This expansion of the archery program offers participants new challenges and allows them to work on precision and accuracy with a compound bow. Equipment is provided, and space is limited. Wear close-toed shoes and bring water and sun protection.
For those interested in an archery club, the Gold Coast Archers Club has a permit and operates a standard target range and a 3D range in West Delray Regional Park. The club encourages guests to attend their events and meetings. Information is available through Gold Coast Archers' website. Applications for membership also are available in a mailbox at the entrance to the range.
Kayaking and canoeing are great ways to get out on the water, discover new plants and animals, make new friends and be physically active. It’s also a great bonding activity for parents and children to enjoy the water and get a good workout.
Canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized vessels may be launched from any shoreline (unless closed for a special event or private use) if it can be carried without a trailer back onto the beach or grassy area. Bring your own canoe/kayak and explore 20 Palm Beach County parks. Or, rent a kayak at Okeeheelee west of West Palm Beach or Riverbend Park in Jupiter, as vendors are on-site (schedules vary):
- Okeeheelee Park: Rent a canoe, kayak or pedal boat on weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bicycle rentals also are available, and helmets are provided. Visit www.kayakkingwatersports.com or call 561-304-1344 for more information.
- Riverbend Park: Canoe and kayak rental is available Thursday through Monday. Reservations are recommended. Bicycle rental also is available. Visit www.canoeoutfittersofflorida.com or call 561-746-7053 for reservations and more information.
Either way, you’ll have a blast exploring new areas or returning to your favorite kayaking or canoeing spot for more adventure.
Parents and children can participate in BMX, a cycle sport that exposes adventurers to a thrill-packed good time. There are two Palm Beach County parks where you can participate or watch BMXers perform stunts on their bikes:
- Okeeheelee BMX track in Okeeheelee Park, west of West Palm Beach, is operated by the Okeeheelee BMX Parents Council and is open to members of the National Bicycle League. Membership in the league is open to anyone interested in joining the fun. For more information, call 561-642-6774 or visit www.okeeheeleebmx.com.
- Loggers' Run BMX jump course in Loggers' Run Park, west of Boca Raton, is operated by nonprofit Drop In Action Sports Complex. Visit www.dropincomplex.org for more information or call 954-295-9894.
Skate parks are popular among kids and teens who enjoy skateboarding, freestyle biking and inline skating in a more action-packed environment. Kids and parents can make new friends, learn new tricks and work on their skills inside these recreational environments.
- The Drop In Action Sports Complex (mentioned above) is located inside Loggers’ Run Park in Boca Raton and is not operated by the county.
- West Boynton Skate Park is located inside West Boynton Park. Call 561-355-1125 for more information.
The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach hosts a number of equestrian shows throughout the year, such as The Ridge Farm series, Palm Beach County Mounted Posse Horse Shows, Barrel Point Show and more. The world-class equestrian center is a great venue for these events, featuring a covered arena, show arenas and a range of amenities for competitors.
Or, ride select Palm Beach County equestrian trails and enjoy the scenery via horseback. Please note that Palm Beach County parks does not offer horse rentals.
Jim Brandon Equestrian Center offers 9 miles of equestrian trails. Three other Palm Beach County parks also offer miles of scenic equestrian trails:
Grab your hobby airplanes, boats, cars and helicopters and head to West Delray Regional Park and Dyer Park in West Palm Beach to race them, or just practice controlling them! Discovering radio-controlled fun can help parents and children bond through learning while having fun doing something new.
The following radio-controlled devices can be operated in our parks:
• Airplanes and helicopters (by permit only): Watch radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters take off, fly and do stunts at West Delray Regional Park and Dyer Park.
• Boats (by permit only): At the radio-controlled boat lake at West Delray Regional Park, you can watch the boats sail past each other or launch your boat on the lake.
• Car tracks: No permit is required to operate radio-controlled cars on tracks at West Delray Regional Park, so bring out the cars and kids and practice on these unique tracks.
Bibi Baksh is public relations specialist for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.