Best Park in Broward (2002)
If you combine West Lake Park with the Anne Kolb Nature Center next door, you have one of the biggest public spaces in all of South Florida: almost three square miles of water, mangrove, and room to roam -- all just a whistle away from the ocean. West Lake has a wonderful kids' playground, a big lake where Broward Community College offers sailing and windsurfing classes, and top-notch picnic facilities. On any given weekend, the park bustles with high-powered basketball games, trick in-line skaters, and birthday parties. The six-year-old nature center next door provides a view of Florida as it ought to be. There's a five-level observation tower and delightful canoe trails. Both places are cheap. West Lake admission costs $1; entry to Anne Kolb is free. They're open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the winter and 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in summer. So go east, young man (or woman or child). Leave the 'burbs behind.