From Trails to Tales: Why Sugar Sand Park is a Top Spot for Families

July 8, 2021

Ranked the no. 2 thing to do in Boca Raton on TripAdvisor, Sugar Sand Park is arguably one of the best parks in the state.

With a massive, cutting-edge outdoor playground, science explorium, theater, nature trails, baseball and basketball courts, picnic pavilions and more, this park is the perfect place to coax kids off their digital devices and into the world of sunshine, exercise and fresh air.
 
Sugar Sand Park’s slogan of “spend the day and play,” is an apt description of this beautiful 132-acre park. It’s a favorite for area families, both because it’s FREE, and because it caters to children and adults alike. This Boca Raton park brings me back to my own childhood days – only better, because let’s face it, parks like this weren’t around in the days of bologna sandwiches and Tang. 

Smiling Faces
Photo by Renee Travis

Science Playground

Like a moth to a flame is my 7-year-old son to the Science Playground. The impressive three-story structure is the castle of childhood dreams come to life. Race through the sea creatures misting station, scamper up the climbing wall, hang off of gym rings, swing on the swings, slide down a dizzying number of slides, take a ride on the merry-go-round, and find your way through the maze and back down again. If this were the only attraction Sugar Sand Park had to offer, it would be enough.
 
A $2 million overhaul in 2017 has made the Science Playground accessible to people of all ability levels. A few impressive features for those with special needs include wheelchair-accessible swings and slides, sensory walls, a quiet nook, an accessible climbing structure, ramps wide enough for wheelchairs, and a sign language alphabet board.

Playground Fun
Photo by Renee Travis

Science Explorium

Located directly behind the Science Playground, the Children’s Science Explorium is a hands-on science center designed for children ages 5–12. It’s a small but mighty area where you can learn about everything from molecules to rockets. Our favorites were the gravity well and the pneumatic tubes, but there are an endless number of experiments to try. And during the hot summer months when it feels like you just might melt, a walk inside to the air-conditioned Science Explorium will be a welcome relief!
 
Just a few steps outside we found a beautiful butterfly garden and learning trail with discovery zones (animal footprints, gator hole, panther by-passes, a coral formation, vegetation and so much more).
 
The Science Explorium also features a variety of traveling exhibits each year, offering kid-friendly insights into rockets, molecules, the ocean and more.

Science Explorium
Photo by Renee Travis

Nature Trails
Included in Sugar Sand Park are two unique nature trails. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with nature (me), be sure to pick up a brochure from the front desk and follow the self-guided tours for extra fun.
 
The Slash Pine Nature Trail starts behind the Community Center and winds around to the bicycle loop at the basketball court. You can use the loop to return, but the walk through the woods is more pleasant, featuring wild coffee, saw palmettos and more. After 0.7 miles, the footpath deposits you near the back door of the Science Explorium.
 
The Sand Pine Nature Trail begins at the far end of the parking lot past the Science Playground and the carousel. A stroll through this 1.5-mile nature walk leads you through parts of the endangered Florida scrub.

Nature Trails
Photo by Renee Travis

Carousel
Adjacent to the Science Playground is a relic of times past, a true throwback to the good old days of county fairs: a carousel. At only $1 per ride (parents may accompany children for free), a timeless carousel ride is the perfect addition to an already fun day.
 
Athletics
Sugar Sand Park offers a truly impressive array of athletic facilities, encompassing baseball fields, batting cages, basketball courts, volleyball courts and a roller hockey rink. The parking lot is almost always full on the weekends because there is always a game in play! Each of the facilities can be privately rented at an hourly rate, depending on availability.
 
Residents of Boca Raton can also register for classes offered for both adults and children. From fencing to gymnastics to kidokinetics, the options are creative and fun, proving you’re never too young (or too old) to learn a new skill.

Fun Carousel
Photo by Renee Travis

Willow Theatre*
Nestled inside Sugar Sand Park is the quaint, 155-seat Willow Theatre. Bring the whole family to enjoy everything from plays and concerts to kid-oriented variety shows. Ticket prices range from $15 to $30 per person.
 
If you feel like being a star for a night, join the Community Cabaret, where performers ages 12 and up have a chance to show off their talent in singing, dancing, comedy, storytelling, music, and more. You must register four weeks in advance to participate (don’t forget to invite your mother).

*As of July 8, 2021, the Willow Theatre remains closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
 
Ice Cream Truck
To end your day with a cherry on top, visit the ice cream truck just outside the Science Playground on weekends and holidays. While it might not be the cheapest ice cream around, being your child’s favorite parent is priceless.

Monster Cone Ice Cream Truck
Photo by Renee Travis

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Renee Travis
Renee Travis
Renee is a Mama Warrior to one exceptional boy, Austin, and wife to her husband, Barry. At ten months old, her son was given an unprecedented, extremely early autism spectrum diagnosis. A diagnosis that was hard-won and a battle like no other, but one that would change the course of their lives forever. Because of their success and her son’s amazing transformation, Renee’s biggest passion lies with helping other parents like her. Parents at the beginning of this confusing journey who see signs, but find no help.