WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Access to the palm Beach Zoo and South Florida Science Museum became easier today, when Mayor Lois Frankel cut the ribbon on a new access road into Dreher park off of Southern Boulevard.
Mayor Frankel was joined by City Commissioner Molly Douglas, Dr. Terry Maple, CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo, Mary Sellers, CEO of the South Florida Science Museum and board members and guest from both organizations to ceremoniously cut the ribbon on the new access road.
“People ask me what I like best about being Mayor,” Mayor Frankel started the event. “These little things make it very special. This new road will make it much easier to get to three of West Palm Beach’s jewels: Dreher Park, the Palm Beach Zoo, and the South Florida Science Museum.
The new road demonstrated a full public/private partnership involving the City of West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Zoo and the South Florida Science Museum. The Zoo received donations to purchase and install a new monument sign which will be installed this week. Hardrives Construction donated the full cost of the road to the South Florida Science Museum in order to make the project happen in time for the grand opening of the museum’s newest exhibit, the Max Plank Society’s Science Tunnel, which opens Friday.
Including permits, labor and materials, the entire project cost just under $200,000 with all partners sharing in the cost of materials and labor.
Dreher Park is the City of West Palm Beach’s largest park at 101 acres. Named for former Parks and Recreation Director Paul Dreher, Dreher Park embodies the combination of passive and active recreation activities that make this amazing park unique.
In 1951, the City of West Palm Beach purchased 76 acres of swampland from the State of Florida for $100. Paul Dreher, then Superintendent of Parks for the city, began creating what would become the city’s largest park. The state land was combined with a small park known as Bacon Park which was known as a “tourist park” because people could rent lots and pitch tents as far back as the late 1920s. With $18 of his own money, Paul Dreher bought two chickens, two ducks, a goose and a goat named Pepe and opened the first zoo in a small red barn. Dreher Park was the Spring Training home of the Philadelphia A’s from 1946 until 1954.
Today, Dreher Park combines the best in both passive and active recreation facilities. It’s lakes, designed to aid in stormwater draining in surrounding neighborhoods, are home to turtles, fish and birds of all kinds. they are surround by picnic pavilions, playgrounds, a multi purpose field, running paths and exercise stations. The city’s largest dog park, “Canine Corner” is in Dreher Park.