In past posts, I’ve shared with y'all my Top 10 Things to do for both my current town, Delray Beach, and for Boca Raton, where we visit often due to its close proximity. Today I want to share more about West Palm Beach and my “must do” recommendations for this city. West Palm Beach is where my job is located, so I am here almost every day. This is a larger city than Delray or Boca, for sure, and hold more “touristy” places than most else in the county.
If you are planning a visit to the area soon, West Palm Beach was probably recommended to you as the place to stay and explore. So, as a local, I want to share my tips and tricks with you to enjoy your trip here and take advantage of all that the area had to offer. Check out my Top 10 below!
1. Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society
Truthfully, I am often hesitant to support zoos or other animal habitats, as I am an animal lover and want what’s best for all animals, wild and domestic. But Palm Beach Zoo strongly focuses on sustainable business practices and educating the public to act on behalf of the animals. They advance their conservation mission through endangered species propagation, education and support of conservation initiatives in the field. They are a nonprofit organization located in Dreher Park, and they house more than 550 animals, many of them endangered, within 23-acres. Also, this zoo is truly beautiful!
2. Mounts Botanical Garden
This botanical garden is truly a gorgeous sight, with over 2,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants. Their mission is to inspire and educate through nature and they call the garden a “living museum” that acts as a connection between humans and nature. Mounts Botanical Garden provides many educational opportunities and exhibits throughout the year, and promotes environmental conservation and sustainability practices.
3. South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
This should be a staple visit for anyone coming to West Palm with kids, though they offer lots of engaging opportunities for adults as well. The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium wants to open every mind to science, and exists around the simple principle that science is fun, and they want to show everyone that. They recently renovated the facility with updates including a complete re-construction of the 5,000 square foot Hall of Discovery, containing 100 new or rehabilitated hands-on exhibits, upgraded planetarium, new early childhood education room; upgraded theater, a new science laboratory and upgraded amenities.
If you want to shop ‘til you drop, be sure to head downtown to CityPlace while you are visiting! This is an upscale lifestyle center with tons of shops, restaurants, and rentals. There are often events and live entertainment held at the center stage, as well as nearby stops to visit right outside of CityPlace. Come to shop, dine and explore culture & art downtown.
5. Norton Museum of Art
Founded in 1941, The Norton Museum of Art has grown and evolved to become one of Florida's major cultural institutions. The Museum is internationally known for its permanent collection featuring works by Brancusi, Gauguin, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Davis, Hassam, Hopper, Manship, O'Keeffe, Pollock and Sheeler. Norton also presents special exhibitions, lectures, tours and programs for adults and children throughout the year. Now, I am not an art expert by any means, but Norton offers a unique cultural experience as well as various events to get you engaged and inspired.
6. Manatee Lagoon
If you didn’t know, I love manatees! I am passionate about these endangered species and educating others on how to properly care for our surrounding wildlife. These gentle giants are often injured by boats and infected by trash, and are nicknamed “Sea Cows” due to their calm and curious nature. Manatee Lagoon exists as an educational center with seasonal wild manatee viewing, hands-on exhibits & a gift shop. This is a great center to make a quick stop at and possibly hang out with some manatees.
7. Rapids Water Park
If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, look no further than Rapids Water Park. This 30-acre water amusement park includes a wave pool, thirty-five water slides, including dual seven-story speed slides, and a quarter mile lazy river. They have rides for every age, and offer ticket and hotel packages for out-of-towners and season passes for locals who frequent the park.
8. Grassy Waters Everglades Preserve
Nature lovers - be sure to visit Grassy Waters Everglades Preserve to enjoy an expansive wetlands ecosystem featuring native wildlife, pristine landscapes, hiking & paddling. New programs and special events are always happening here, plus you can choose to go canoeing, kayaking, hiking or dipnetting with a tour led by one of the naturalists. Get up close and personal with South Florida’s native wildlife and learn about how we can make a difference for our environment.
9. Clematis Street Entertainment District
Clematis Street is located in downtown West Palm by the waterfront and features a variety of unique shops and places to eat (plus a fabulous nightlife). Walk or ride a free trolley through this historic street and enjoy the downtown Waterfront Commons as it comes alive with an interactive fountain, pavilion, picturesque Lake Worth Lagoon views, and docks for boat parking. There are many fun events including Clematis By Night (every Thursday), SunFest, Palm Beach International Boat Show, and 4th On Flagler just to name a few.
10. Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
I participated in several events at the Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches this year in conjunction with the animal shelter I work for, and if you enjoy baseball then this is not to be missed. I’m not even a baseball lover, but this stadium is beautiful. Enjoy watching the Washington Nationals or Houston Astros during their Spring Training games, as well as a variety of other events held throughout the year. This is great way to potentially get some autographs or pictures with your favorite player, or just enjoy a day out watching baseball surrounded by palm trees blowing in the breeze.
Whether you live locally and need some ideas for day trips with the kids this summer, or are planning a vacation to South Florida in the near future, be sure to check some of these out! If you have been to any listed before, please let me know about your experience. Also, if you have something to add, comment below!
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20