With the new year comes new experiences. Here’s a few new things to do and experience around Palm Beach County in 2016.
When Florida Power and Light upgraded the Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center in 2014, the energy giant decided to take the clean energy mantra one-step further and help out one of Florida’s most recognizable residents, the manatee. On February 6, FPL will open Manatee Lagoon—an FPL Eco-Discovery Center at 6000 N. Flagler Drive.
Photo by Keith Ramos, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Key West-style building set in the shadow of the natural gas power station—a 1,250 megawatt facility—is located at one of the busiest winter haunts of manatees in the state. As one of just two warm-water discharge sites in South Florida, manatees have been flocking to the old Riviera Beach power plant in the Lake Worth Lagoon for decades during the winter, when the water temps begin to dip. In the winter of 2016, observers will now have a safe place to view these lumbering maritime mammals as they congregate for warmth, and a little fresh water. The two-story building will include viewing areas, exhibit space, interactive displays, a pavilion and picnic areas, gift shop, and classrooms. What’s more, it will be free to the public.
The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society has welcomed two new snowbirds to join the animal ambassadors this winter. Sitka and Juneau, two orphaned grizzly bear cubs have taken up residence at the zoo as their permanent home is being constructed at a zoo in South Dakota. Found in Yellowstone National Park malnourished and orphaned, the sisters have made South Florida their temporary home, and are on display to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily as they tear it up in the enclosure. Rambunctious and active, the bears are often found swimming to and fro in the pool, cooling off in our seasonably warm winter.
- Juneau and Sitka will be at the Palm Beach Zoo on a temporary basis, so see them while you can. For more information, visit palmbeachzoo.org.
The Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center will set the stage for the world premiere of first-time playwright Charles Gluck on January 28 when the family dramedy Unlikely Heroes comes to life. On stage through February 21, Avi Hoffman has been tapped to direct and star in the play alongside some South Florida’s most talented thespians. The play, written by a retired Gastroenterologist who performed stand-up on his free time, tackles some rather serious themes—the strength of familial bonds and illness—while still managing to bring the laughs.
- Unlikely Heroes will take the stage from January 28-February 21. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday, 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets cost $35. For more information, visit unlikelyheroesplay.com.
In late 2015, Jupiter got in on the crafty fun when Civil Society Brewing Company opened its doors. Owned an operated by former Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad, his cousin Karl, and childhood friend Evan Miller, the brewery located in Abacoa’s re-emerging Town Center has long been in the works—permits, licensing, and inspections to open a brewery are an absolute bear—and is finally pouring some pretty quaffable craft brews.
With a penchant for hop-forward beer, Civil Society is the place for the IPA friends in the group. The tap tree flows with in-house creations made in the 5,400-square-foot brewery/taproom, and is supplemented with a few guest brews as well, each designated by the hops used to create them. Southern Exposure (saison) and Blondes Make Me Hoppy (blonde ale) are on the lower end of IBU scale, though still offer some bite – the saison, using a combination of Columbus, Mosaic, Galaxy, and Citra hops is especially complex. For the bloke who yearns for some bitterness, two IPA’s fill out the Civil Society roster (currently): Fresh, made with Columbus, Amarillo, and Citra hops; and Emerald Showers, made with Topaz, Ella, and a trade secret.
The brewery is consistently filled with neighborhood beer friendlies, bellying up to the bar. But don’t worry, there is plenty of room (and seats) to accommodate the throngs of patrons, especially on Abacoa’s ever-popular Food Truck Invasion (second Friday of the month)—I recommended a spicy bahn mi from Spring In Roll Out paired with Blondes Make Me Hoppy.
The Norton Museum of Art hosts the world premiere of “Tiny: Streetwise Revisited – Photographs by Mary Ellen Mark.”
Tiny, Halloween, Seattle, 1983, Mary Ellen Mark
Palm Beach Dramaworks’ season ender puts Dramaworks in the spotlight of the greater theater community. A one-man play based on the life of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Satchmo at the Waldorf represents many firsts for playwright Terry Teachout, the well-known drama critic for The Wall Street Journal. Not only is Satchmo the first play he’s ever written, but this production also marks his directorial debut.
For more on Satchmo, click here >>
Last April, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum (JILM) hosted probably the most picturesque film festival in Palm Beach County. Located in the shadow of the lighthouse along the tranquil Jupiter Inlet, just as the sun began to set, the projectors began to roll for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival. The film festival was such a success that JILM is bringing it back for a second year on April 9.
Put on by the Loxahatchee River Historical Society, the operating body of the Jupiter Inlet Outstanding Natural Area—the Bureau of Land Management’s only east coast Outstanding Natural Area—the Wild and Scenic Film Festival fits perfectly with the Jupiter Inlet region. As part of the touring arm of North America’s largest environmental film festival, it was created by the South Yuba River Citizens League, a conservation group based in Nevada City, California, in 2003 to raise awareness, and as a call to action about the challenges facing our planet. The festival began going on tour in 2004. The tour gives organizations a chance to select from 70 international, national and regional films, allowing each “On Tour” stop to create its own, curated festival. Last year’s films, a collection of short documentaries about rivers and oceans, and people in them, either boasting conservation or adventures, as well as a really interesting short on fireflies, had the unique ability to entertain and educate, all while relaxing under the stars with sea breeze in your hair.
- This year the films are sure to be just as intriguing, with a whole new crop of shorts for JILM to choose from. The Wild and Scenic Film Festival will be held on April 9 at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum’s great lawn at 6:30 p.m. (screenings begin at 7:30 p.m.). Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets; refreshments will be available for purchase (sponsors Sierra Nevada Brewing, and Barefoot Wine and Bubbly will be on hand for the 21 and up guests). Tickets cost $10-$15. For more information, call 561-747-8380 ext. 101.