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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood to explore nature

Toddler boy shows curiosity about lizard in backyard.

In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:

1. How do we rediscover nature in our yard?
2. How do we learn more about animals and plants?
3. How do we invite wildlife to our backyard?

We’re lucky. Florida is full of natural beauty, and our climate makes it easy to enjoy it year-round. 

Close to home, Palm Beach County offers many affordable ways to explore the natural world and learn about everyday local wildlife. The only things you need for an adventure are a pair of walking shoes, your family and a healthy dose of curiosity!


Simply getting your children outside is the most important first step in backyard appreciation, says Amy Kight, executive director of the nonprofit Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. The nonprofit organization treats sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.

“Let them explore safely, yet uninhibited while having fun, getting dirty and seeing what aspects of your backyard the children naturally gravitate to, such as plants, birds, bugs, etc.,” she says.

The Audubon Society of the Everglades, a Florida chapter that covers Palm Beach County, can foster your child’s interest in birds. Click here to download its Palm Beach County checklist of birds and perhaps install the free Merlin Bird ID app by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which provides photos and songs of backyard birds based on your ZIP code.

Now, get ready for some birding fun!


Ideally, Kight suggests a trip to the nearest natural area or wildlife sanctuary to learn more about local creatures and observe them up close safely. If that’s not possible, visit Busch sanctuary’s Facebook page for exciting wildlife videos.

For plants, visit Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach or take a virtual tour by clicking here. Afterward, stroll your neighborhood to find some of the same plants, as well as animals. Just tread lightly and stay a safe distance from wildlife. And don’t feed critters!

If your neighborhood is urban and you need more room to stretch, visit Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center in West Palm Beach on a weekday. Its 3 miles of trails on 135 acres are perfect for savoring nature at your own pace. 


“Fostering a love for nature at home can be as simple as creating a butterfly garden with native plants so that a family can be up close and personal with nature while learning together as a family,” Kight says.

The Florida Native Plant Society offers an alphabetical list of Palm Beach County plants, as well as recommendations for backyard plants to attract butterflies and wildlife. 

The National Audubon Society’s native plants database features an interactive list that recommends plants to lure birds according to your ZIP code.

• Amy Kight, executive director, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary

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Related resources

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    Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department

    Manages 104 park properties spanning more than 8,500 acres, including 85 developed regional, district, community, beach and neighborhood parks

    561-966-6600 Website

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    17 locations offering entertainment, education and exploration through cultural events, computer classes, free online tutoring, musical performances and more

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    Discover The Palm Beaches

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