The South Florida Science Center this week will unveil a new playground and recently renovated classroom and lab space that will be used for workshops and other programs.
The non-profit plans to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony this week for the new Discovery Playground and redesigned Multipurpose Center. As many as 100,000 children a year are expected to use the new playground, the science center said.
The science center said the Multipurpose Center, a gift from the City of West Palm Beach, has been converted into a classroom environment suitable for workshops and creative spaces with 3D printers, robotics labs and computer programming spaces.
The playground and multipurpose space mark the science center’s latest expansion efforts.
The center recently unveiled its new mini golf course. The Conservation Course was designed by Gary Nicklaus and Jim Fazio, sons of two local icons of the golf course industry.
“We are honored to have West Palm Beach as the host city for Florida Encounter in December,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for Discover The Palm Beaches, the tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “The event will shine a spotlight on our thriving groups and meetings sector, and showcase why The Palm Beaches are building a strong reputation as ‘the best way to meet in Florida.’”
Airbnb said Wednesday that it saw a surge in bookings in 12 Florida cities with baseball complexes, including Jupiter and West Palm Beach, during this year’s spring training season.
In the area around Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium, which is the spring training home to the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, Airbnb said it saw a 68 percent spike in travelers between February 23 and March 31, when compared to the previous six-week period.
During the first three months of the year, the BestWestern Palm Beach Lakes Inn located across the street from the Palm Beach Outlets in West Palm Beach welcomed guests from across the world — some living as far away as New Zealand, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
Roughly 15 percent of the inn’s bookings between January and March were made by travelers living outside of the United States, according to the hotel.
Rick Netzel, the inn’s director of sales and marketing, said he started noticing an uptick in the number of international travelers staying at the hotel during the last quarter of 2016. He attributes the rise to the inn’s location across the street from the outlet mall, rising room rates in the county and Best Western’s name recognition across the world.
“The outlets, that was a game changer,” Netzel said.
Palm Beach Outlets opened in 2014, replacing the 45-year-old Palm Beach Mall, which had become a sign of blight along Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and Interstate 95. During its first six months of operation, the outdoor shopping mall drew roughly 4 million visitors, mall officials have said.
Shopping ranks among the top activities for tourists who come to Palm Beach County. A 2012 tourism study found 30 percent of tourists said shopping was one of the reasons for their visit.
According to Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing arm, 739,000 international tourists visited the county last year, down from 774,000 in 2015.
Job seekers will get a chance to meet with over 30 employers at a career fair planned April 4 at the Marriott in West Palm Beach.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marriott at 1001 Okeechobee Boulevard, located just east of Interstate 95. According to organizer jobnewsusa.com, more than 1,500 positions will be available.
According to the science center the exhibit features the entire lifecycle of the butterfly.
“Visitors will experience the challenges of being a caterpillar as it transforms into a beautiful butterfly, discovering how the caterpillars eat, move and live through a hands-on maze filled with activities the whole family will enjoy,” the science center said. “Guests of all ages can learn what it’s like to fly like a butterfly, walk like a caterpillar and avoid getting stuck in a spider web. After learning about the lifecycle of the butterfly, guests can explore the butterfly gardens throughout the Science Center’s new Conservation Course, an 18-hole miniature golf course, to get an up-close look at the beautiful insects.”
Tickets to “Amazing Butterflies” are included in the general admission, which is $15 for adults, $11 for children 3-12 and free to members and children under 3.
A top Related Cos. executive confirmed last week that the New York-based company is increasingly likely to build another hotel next to its new Hilton West Palm Beach at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
Ken Himmel said Related has been happily surprised by the success of the Hilton, which celebrated its first anniversary last month. The Hilton is at 600 Okeechobee Blvd.
The hotel logged room rates of $270 per night in January, higher than an expected rate of $230. “We made six months worth of profits in January. It’s unbelievable,” said Himmel, president of Related Urban, the mixed-use unit of Related Cos., which developed CityPlace and the Hilton hotel.
Hotel occupancy was 88 percent in January, Himmel added. The hotel “beat every one of our budgets, both occupancy and rates the first year,” Himmel said.
Visit Palm Beach, which operates the visitor information center in downtown West Palm Beach, will launch two new bicycle tours beginning on Valentine’s Day. The company has partnered with SkyBike, a bike sharing system in downtown West Palm Beach. The trips will tour the downtown area and Palm Beach.
Visit Palm Beach also offers kayak and paddle board rentals and cruises aboard its 50-foot catamaran Hakuna Matata from the West Palm Beach waterfront.
“We are excited to partner with SkyBike to bring back guided bike tours of the Palm Beaches,” Visit Palm Beach Founder Brian Marozzi said. “These bike tours are actually a fresh new twist on some of the tours that helped launch Visit Palm Beach’s excursions 21 years ago. Bicycle tours are the perfect way to showcase the Palm Beaches to our ever more sophisticated visitors to the area.”
One of the bicycle tours will explore downtown West Palm Beach, including the waterfront, South Cove natural area and nearby historic neighborhoods.
The second tour will explore Palm Beach, including the famed Lake Trail.
Each tour will last about 2 hours, and will begin and end on the downtown waterfront. They will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
“Our guided tours offer visitors a unique opportunity to discover the Art, Culture and History that Palm Beach harbors, and provides residents with a perspective that can only be experienced on two wheels,” said Chris Hall, Marketing Coordinator for SkyBike. “We are thrilled to launch this partnership with Visit Palm Beach, as it really strengthens our status as a community-driven bike share program and shows our commitment to bringing a bona fide bike culture to the area.”