Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
Cristian Costea
During our great nation's early history, as Europeans fought with the native people for control of precious land, the Seminole Indians of Florida established an alliance with escaped African slaves. They had a common enemy: angry ol' Mr. Whitey. But this alliance was by no means the strangest in the Seminoles' history. You can behold the strangest yourself when you look west from Interstate 95 as you pass the Stirling Road exit. That monstrous tower on the horizon, built through a partnership between the Seminoles and London's Hard Rock Cafe, is about as bizarre an alliance as you'll find. Still, the newly opened Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has quickly changed gambling in South Florida. A 130,000-square-foot facility open around the clock, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino features more than 2,000 money-thieving machines and 40 to 60 tables of poker offering such old standbys as Seven-Card Stud and Texas Hold 'Em. What's more, this casino's location between the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood downtown areas should make this gleaming new popsicle stand one that Gen. Custer would have saluted.

Park space comes in a couple of distinct varieties. First, there are those swatches of jungle speckling the map; the old-growth, thousand-acre preserves that muffle the sounds of motors, block the views of buildings, and launch your thoughts out of this stultifying alleged civilization for a few hours. These parks are mistresses. The other main sort of park, the wife parks, are those that nestle into the cityscape like oases, as if air and grass and peace and physical joy belong in your average day. Count the 13-acre park that horseshoes around Lauderhill's City Hall and library among the latter category. After civic meetings, residents cross the parking lot to play cricket on the lighted field. Kids clog the basketball courts just steps away from the Boys & Girls Club. A waterfall rolls out of the back of City Hall into a small lake. Tennis and racquetball courts, a playground, and picnic pavilions -- all surround the most staid of civic strongholds, a bit of country in the city, freeing us even inside the grid.
Twenty years ago, the only thing a park would need to keep the kids happy was a baseball field and a concession stand. Nowadays, parks need to offer traditional sports facilities, as well as something for youngsters into the Xtreme sports of skateboarding and rollerblading. Phipps Park caters to both crowds, offering a place where kids can slide into first base and slide down a handrail. The nearly 40-acre park features lighted baseball fields, a soccer field, a pavilion, a roller hockey rink, and the Sanctuary Skate Park. The skate park includes a miniramp, several quarter-pipes, and the usual assortment of street obstacles (fun box, manual box, pyramid). Sanctuary also has its own skate shop carrying all the latest products for skateboarders and in-line skaters. In addition to its existing facilities, Phipps Park plans to add a wet play area and plaza at the north end of the park. So, whether you're into fastballs or kickflips -- or just relaxing under a tree -- Phipps Park is a safe bet for some real fun in the sun.
Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park
Too often, urban parks are built on unwanted or undevelopable land. Not this one. This 13-acre hideaway just west of downtown Fort Lauderdale existed as a three-hole (!) golf course from the early '50s until the early '70s, when the land was dredged for bedrock. Named in honor of one of Fort Lauderdale's first African-American cops (shot and killed on April 18, 1977) and next door to the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, this modest park nestled in a sleepy crook of the New River is a little-known gem. A perfect spot for an outdoor lunch or early-morning bike ride on the path that circles the lake, the ideal time to visit is near sunset, when the new skyscrapers of downtown take on a deep orange glow and are reflected in the water.