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BLOG: Great annual events celebrate wheelchair rugby, dark skies, local birds and more

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Knock and Roll event. Men playing basketball in wheelchairs.

In addition to the many recreational activities parents and kids can do together at more than 80 Palm Beach County parks and recreation facilities, there are a number of popular events hosted annually in Palm Beach County parks. These events bring together Palm Beach County residents to create an appreciation for different topics, ranging from the environment to fitness and accessible sports.

Here are some popular, FREE events:

1. Dark Sky Festival

Every year, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and Department of Environmental Resources Management “celebrate the night and turn down the lights” by hosting their Dark Sky Festival at Okeeheelee Nature Center. The event is held at night, typically from the hours of 5-10 p.m. in February.

The Dark Sky Festival aims to expose residents to the marvels of astronomy and the importance of protecting dark skies for the benefit of human health and wildlife.

Parents and kids can:

  • Stargaze with local astronomers
  • Enjoy exhibits and nature walks
  • Enjoy a children’s activity area
  • Make s’mores by a campfire
  • Learn night-time photography tips
  • And more!

2. Outdoor Adventure Day

The first ever Outdoor Adventure Day was held in John Prince Park on March 4, 2017! PBC Parks partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to bring Lake Worth and the surrounding community an event where youth and adults could safely experience outdoor recreation opportunities like canoeing, fishing, archery, rock climbing and more.

The event helped get people outside and encouraged them to be active – creating a more dynamic community. The event also exposed parents and children to unique sports they can do together. By sharing the joys of these sports with our community (at no cost), they learn to be more active in their every day lives and appreciate being in natural settings.

3. Family Fun Fests

There are a number of Family Fun Fests in PBC Parks every year, from Family Fitness Fun Day at West Boynton Recreation Center to the Glades Family Fun Fest at Glades Pioneer Park.

The aim of Family Fun Fests is to allow parents and kids to get active through dance, bounce houses, rock climbing, and team sports like soccer. These family friendly activities are intended to get everyone active and moving, from the youngest member in the family to the oldest.

Health and wellness partners present at these events, giving community members a chance to get important information and free resources, as well as free health screenings.

4. Migration Celebration

The annual Migration Celebration at Green Cay Nature Center welcomes adults, kids and bird lovers alike to the event to learn about migratory birds returning to the wetlands and become familiar with other animals, like reptiles, living at the facility. The Migration Celebration exposes people of all ages to a unique nature center inside Palm Beach County, while enlightening them on topics related to wildlife conservation and environmental protection.

Kids can take part in animal-related activities like interactive puppet shows and arts & crafts, all with education and conservation themes. Parents and kids can both enjoy watching for dozens of different birds at the nature center.

The county’s other nature centers also host annual events celebrating Earth Day. At Daggerwing and Okeeheelee Nature Centers, guests can explore the natural grounds, connect with nature, and participate in conservation events and efforts.

5. Knock and Roll Tournament – Wheelchair Rugby

Every year, PBC Parks welcomes wheelchair rugby players from all over the country and the world, for the annual Knock and Roll Tournament. Teams go head-to-head for the trophy in a three-day tournament at the Therapeutic Recreation Complex inside John Prince Park in Lake Worth.

Wheelchair Rugby, or Quad Rugby, is a game for individuals with disabilities; the players glide down the court, bumping and hitting each other’s chairs along the way, in what makes for an exciting and powerful sport meant to increase athletic participation among individuals with physical disabilities.

People of all ages and abilities can watch this exciting game every year at the Therapeutic Recreation Complex – and cheer on their favorite team!

6. Pioneer Farmstead, Living History Days & Battlefield Re-enactments

Riverbend Park and Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park often host historical family events like Pioneer Farmstead Day and Battlefield Re-enactments, which allow families to step back in time and learn about the historical battles that took place in the 19th century in these areas.

Visitors can experience “Old Florida” and learn about the history of the area through many points of view. Period army, Seminole camps, re-enactors, guest speakers and historical preservationists are often present at these historical events, all inside two of Palm Beach County’s beautiful and most popular parks.

Bibi Baksh is a public relations specialist for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

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