7 Adaptive Events & Activities in The Palm Beaches

December 30, 2019

In a true celebration of diversity, The Palm Beaches are creating waves of fun for people with disabilities – inviting people of all abilities to bask in the warm South Florida sunshine and enjoy exciting events and activities. Here are a few to put on your list:

Wheelchair Ruggers in Action

Cheer on local wheelchair rugby team the South Florida Rattlers as they take on teams from across the nation in a battle for the Knock & Roll Wheelchair Rugby Tournament title. This year’s event takes place January 10 - 12, 2020, at Lake Worth’s CMAA Therapeutic Recreation Complex Gym. Male and female teammates work together, displaying inspiring camaraderie in this highly spirited game of full-contact rugby.

Have a Ball!

Bocce ball was first played by the ancient Egyptians with pallid rocks, but an adaptive form of the sport called boccia is now taking the world by storm. Join in the fun or come out and support local and international athletes with disabilities as they throw down for the championship, competing in the Palm Beach Jack Jam Boccia Tournament February 7 - 9, 2020, at the CMAA Therapeutic Recreation Complex.

Experience the Biggest Beach Bash

The Boca Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities is the nation’s largest free event for kids, adults and Wounded Warriors with special needs. Guests can participate in dozens of activities, including boating, adaptive sports, yoga and dance classes, and interacting with service animals. Mobility mats cover the sand, allowing wheelchair users to roll right to the water’s edge, where physical therapists and aquatics team members help guests transfer to floating water wheelchairs or splash in the waves. This year’s event takes place Sunday, March 1, 2020, at Spanish River Park

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

If you think marathons are just for the elite few who spent their entire lives training, think again! In early December, scores of athletes of every ability level participate in the annual FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon. The weekend-long event consists of a marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay, 10K and 5K, with handcycles permitted at the 5K and half-marathon. The Bill Bone 5K GLOW RUN takes place along a glittering tree-lit course. And during the half-marathon, participants witness a glorious sunrise while racing 13.1 miles along the Intracoastal Waterway. Challenge yourself by doing a “Double” and racing in them both; you’ll receive a discount as well as medals and T-shirts for each race.

It's All About the Kids

One evening each May, the annual Especially for Kids lets children with special needs (and their caregivers) enjoy free, exclusive access to Boca Raton’s Sugar Sand Park Community Center after it closes to the public. Experience the hands-on exhibits in the Children’s Science Explorium. Enjoy free food, art activities, a petting zoo and chances to win prizes. To best accommodate guests, sound modifications are made at the Explorium and the carousel ride (which includes a wheelchair lift). In addition, a quiet room is available in the community center. This year’s event will be held Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Tennis, Anyone? 

During the USTA South Florida Open Winter Wheelchair Championship, skilled players hit rocketing forehands and backhands as they deftly maneuver their wheelchairs around the court. Since its beginnings in 1976, wheelchair tennis has grown from an exhibition event to an officially recognized Paralympic sport. You can enjoy watching the talented players at the tournament each winter, or grab your own racket and participate in free wheelchair tennis clinics every Tuesday evening at Patch Reef Park in Boca Raton.

Waterplay for Wounded Veterans

South Florida resident Jacqui Kapinowski is a two-time U.S. Paralympian and nine-time world champion in multiple sports. She serves as the regional director for the South Florida chapter of Achilles International, a nonprofit that allows people with disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics. Kapinowski also founded the Achilles Kayak Freedom Team, offering monthly kayaking clinics for wounded veterans at Bert Winters Park in Juno Beach.

For a full listing of adaptive events and programming offered by Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation, visit their website.

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