Boca Raton is always in the pink—it’s the city’s signature color—but colors of every hue abound in the intriguing array of sights you’ll find in this chic seaside destination.
Cultural Heart of the City
In addition to its permanent collection, the Boca Raton Museum of Art hosts an impressive and eclectic schedule of exhibits throughout the year. The highlight of this year’s exhibition schedule is undoubtedly Glasstress Boca Raton 2021, which combines the vision of some of the world’s leading contemporary artists with the centuries-old glassmaking traditions of Venice. Artists such as Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson, Joyce J. Scott and Jimmie Durham worked with master glassblowers on the island of Murano to create the stunning works featured in Glasstress.
For your safety, the museum is limiting capacity, and has created a robust cleaning and sanitizing schedule. Face masks are required, and social distancing guidelines are in place.
Academic, Athletic and Artistic Achievement
Florida Atlantic University may be best known as an outstanding research university with a dynamic football program (Go Owls!), but those in the know will tell you, the school’s Boca Raton campus offers engaging and entertaining experiences for visitors as well.
If you’re hoping to see the Owls in action on the field, you might want to plan a visit to the Avron B. Fogelman Sports Museum at FAU first. The museum, which is adjacent to the school’s stadium, is a treasure trove of sports memorabilia, ranging from the pinstripe uniform pants Babe Ruth wore on his first day as a New York Yankee in 1921 to the uniform Hank Aaron was wearing in 1974 when he broke the Babe’s career home run record. Alongside artifacts from some of the greatest moments in American athletics you will find vignettes documenting our nation’s growth that provide historical context for the story of our passion for sports.
In addition to academic and athletic achievement, FAU also celebrates artistic endeavors. The school’s performance venues and its resident professional theater company, Theatre Lab, are currently dark, but the visual arts continue to shine at the University Galleries, which has been an innovator on South Florida’s contemporary arts scene since opening in 1983, presenting exhibitions of local, national, and international art in new genres as well as traditional forms.
FAU requires that you wear a face mask at all times and maintain physical distancing. A limited number of visitors will be admitted to all venues and events at any given time, so it is best to plan your visit in advance.
A True Original
The Costume Museum at the Wick Theatre houses a one-of-a-kind collection of costumes from the Broadway stage, including iconic pieces such as the gold pantsuit Angela Lansbury wore in Mame and the kingly attire donned by Richard Burton in Camelot. Costumes from the museum have been featured on The Today Show as well as in People and Vogue Magazine. Every year, a new exhibition is mounted, featuring a collection of dazzling costumes from Broadway and Hollywood in addition to fascinating historical garments and artifacts. Currently, The Roaring Twenties is on display, featuring styles worn by suffragettes, stunning gowns and accessories from the Jazz Age, Art Deco styles and dazzling Broadway costumes from shows set in the 1920s, including The Boyfriend, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and The Drowsy Chaperone among others. Following a tour led by a knowledgeable and entertaining theatre professional, plan on enjoying lunch at the Wick Theatre’s Tavern Restaurant, a loving homage to the famed Tavern-on-the-Green® complete with the original Tavern’s grand foyer chandelier and original china.
Extensive safety protocols have been put in place at The Wick, including the installation of anti-viral UV lights and modifications to the air conditioning system. Tour sizes are limited. Face masks should be worn, and social distancing maintained.
The Boca Raton Historical Society was established in 1972 – less than 50 years after the town was incorporated in 1925. That kind of forward thinking is paying dividends as the historical society prepares to celebrate its’ 50th anniversary next year. Housed in the historic 1927 town hall, the society’s museum been closed while undergoing a dynamic $3.9 million reimagining designed to breathe new life into the city’s history. Following the re-opening celebration later this year, the museum will welcome visitors with a variety of immersive experiences that document Boca’s evolution from a small farming town to the sophisticated internationally known city it is today. Highlights will include a timeline that traces the city’s history back to the days of the earliest Pre-Columbian inhabitants as well as galleries devoted to Boca’s pioneer days, visionary architect Addison Mizner, and the city’s top-secret role in World War II. Also on display will be an impressive collection of vintage IBM PCs that recall the heady days when IBM developed the first personal computers at its Boca Raton headquarters.
Sea turtles, shady pathways, and saltwater aquariums are all part of the appeal of the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. An intimate enclave devoted to environmental research, conservation, and education, Gumbo Limbo sits on 20 acres of land between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean and provides a refuge to some of South Florida’s rare and endangered plants and animals. While research and conservation efforts are ongoing, the nature center is currently closed to the public. A phased re-opening is in the planning stages.
In the meantime, the Gumbo Limbo Boardwalk Trail is yours to explore. The trail winds through the kind of tropical hardwood hammock that once flourished throughout Florida. (No, not that kind of hammock. A hardwood hammock is an area where leafy trees crowd together, seeking the drier conditions associated with higher elevations, which in the case of South Florida might amount to only a matter of inches.) Of course, trees like the strangler fig and cabbage palm (Florida’s state tree) aren’t the only things that prefer to keep their feet dry, so keep your eyes out for grey foxes, five-lined skinks, red-bellied woodpeckers, and other creatures who call the hammock home.
North, South, East, West—all points lead to arts and culture when you plan your trip to The Palm Beaches, Florida’s Cultural Capital. Take a closer look at our destination and find out where you and your family will travel to next!
Christina Wood is a freelance writer and editor based in Delray Beach, who has a passion for the arts. The former editor of art&culture magazine, she is the recipient of numerous awards from the Florida Magazine Association, and has also been honored with Communicator, Golden Ink, Addy and Stevie Awards.