The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach will break ground this morning on a new 18-hole mini-golf course that was designed by Gary Nicklaus and Jim Fazio, sons of two local icons of the golf course industry.
The Conservation Course, which is set to open this spring, will be used for putting clinics and tournaments, and to teach kids the elementary principles of force, motion and angles.
Officials with the non-profit center said the course was designed with science in mind, adding that each hole “will be named and associated with a plant or animal species indigenous to the Everglades habitat.”
The science center is also expected to debut for a new eight-acre outdoor campus, which will the mini-golf course and science-themed trail. The “Florida Forever Trail” will connects 25 new hands-on science exhibits, an outdoor pavilion and run-through fountain.
The science center received a $250,000 grant from the The Batchelor Foundation to help pay for the outdoor project.
Lew Crampton, science center CEO, has helped lead an aggressive campaign the past four years to boost the center’s size, programs and ability to host blockbuster traveling exhibits A new $4.9 million east wing — with a 4,000-square-foot traveling exhibit space, an 8,000-gallon fresh and saltwater aquarium and more — opened in June 2013.
Last month, the science center said it plans to open a satellite location for youth camps, classes and other special events in Jupiter’s Downtown Abacoa.
Recent exhibits, including Dinosaurs Around the World, which is on display through April 16, have broken attendance records, Crampton said.
“We have done our homework and established that there is a need for more science and related programs in our community, so we are excited to share our continued plans for the future growth,” Crampton said.
The science center, which was created by the Junior League of the Palm Beaches in 1961, is set to celebrate its 55th birthday this year.
“Just like many 55-year-olds you hadn’t seen since they were tiny, our original residents would never recognize our Science Center today,” Crampton said. “And our future has never been brighter.”