Why your kids should participate in the JOC summer camp!

By Sawyer Morrow

June 19, 2018

The Jupiter Outdoor Center Summer Camp is an adventure program for kids ages 6 – 14 years old designed to get kids out from behind the glow of television and computer screens and into the outdoors.

Adventure awaits!– Kids will learn to appreciate and explore our beautiful natural areas. JOC is located in the exquisite nature of Jupiter’s Inlet. Our perfectly clear and blue waterways is a great environment for your kids to become their own adventurers!

Learn about water safety– Safety is JOC main priority, that’s why we teach all our campers safety education and water precautions. Campers will learn about the tides, dehydration, the buddy system and so much more. It is of great importance to ensure campers are always having fun while also being safe. These teachings are significant to not only camp but in the children’s everyday lives and can be applied outside of the camp environment.

Participate in fun activities– Here at camp kids will be kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, snorkeling, surfing, and skimboarding! Our activities allow kids to try new things and embrace the fun that the outdoors can bestow.


Meet other campers– We receive new kids every week from all different ages. This allows campers to meet people and make new friends for life!

Interact with and learn from our counselors– Our CPR certified counselors are from all over the West Palm area and are great representatives of what camp is all about. They demonstrate patience, positivity, and problem-solving. JOC is so appreciative of our fantastic camp counselors and campers idolize and aspire to be just like them.


Discover water life– Campers get to travel and explore throughout all of the amazing waterways we are so lucky to have here in Jupiter. They get to discover a continuous list of sea life and sea creatures including pufferfish, manatees, sea turtles and so much more!

Have Fun!– Our camp schedule and program design are blended with curriculum and exercises developed by the American Canoe Association, the leading paddle sports training organization in the country. This is to make sure that all campers are learning and having fun! We have intro/safety day, River Center water education day, dragon boat day, sea creature day and the campers all-time favorite, a beach day! Throughout our daily activities, campers can escape from the hold of electronics and embrace the fun that the beautiful outdoors can provide.

Top 20 Reasons to go to Jupiter Outdoor Center

Jupiter Outdoor Center is by far the unadulterated epitome of Jupiter. Our serene yet busy spot boasts many amenities. Jupiter Outdoor Center is located directly in front of the iconic lighthouse, which is the essence of Jupiter for locals and visitors from afar. See the list below to learn just what makes Jupiter Outdoor Center so special.

1) The Location: As soon as you arrive you’re right on the water.
2) The View: You’ll have your breath taken away by the scenery as soon as you pull up.
3) Jupiter Outdoor Center has many ways to travel our beautiful inlets and waterways including kayaks, sups, paddleboards, and a water taxi.
4) Our beachfront: We have The INFAMOUS LOVE STREET HAMMOCK!
5) Our staff: Jupiter Outdoor Center’s staff is an eclectic blend of water loving, paddle loving people ready and willing to share their passion with everyone.
6) Jupiter Outdoor Center shares the love: We are always paddle friendly. Even if you don’t rent from us you can launch from our location.
7) The Food: Jupiter Outdoor Center is surrounded by local bars and eateries to satisfy any craving after your paddling adventure.
8) KNOWLEDGE of this area: We have been in business for 20 years and we know our stuff.
9) Passion: We passionate about the environment and community around us and we want to share our love with you.
10) Diversity: We have many ways for you to enjoy the local waterways rentals, tour, camps, parties, a water taxi, and beaches.
11) Community: Jupiter Outdoor Center has been involved in the community since its beginning and has given back by participating in activities such as beach clean ups and events with local charities.
12) Fun: We make fun our main focus for our staff and our guests!
13) Eco-Friendly: You won’t see any toxic motors here! We make sure we treat our environment with the respect and love it deserves.
14) Beauty: With our crystal blue water as the backdrop to your adventure you just can’t go wrong.
15) Marine Life: We’re surrounded by complex marine ecosystems featuring wildlife ranging from tiny crabs to manatees and turtles. You may even see a leatherback turtle one day!
16) Fitness: Paddling is a LIFE SPORT! People of all ages can benefit from paddling on a regular basis.
17) Outdoor Setting: Nature is the best way to de-stress and get away from the office and overwhelming amount of technology that can invade our lives.
18) Always Open: We are open 363 days a year! You can spend your holidays with us! Book a party!
19) Lifestyle: We help you keep your Florida lifestyle in check and make sure you’re taking advantage of the taste of paradise you moved down here for in the first place!
20) LOVE: We are on LOVE street. We LOVE what we do. We LOVE being there for you. We LOVE Jupiter.

Labor Day Weekend

With Labor Day Weekend around the corner, many may be looking for some fun activities to celebrate their hard work!! Here are some of the local ways you can spend your holiday weekend:

Friday, September 1st-

  • Parents Night Out at the South Florida Science Center: From 6 to 10 p.m., children ages 4 to 12 are invited to the center for a visit to the reptile lab where they will learn all about alligators and other reptiles, participate in a turtle shell craft, and explore the center and its popular current exhbit, “Eww! What’s Eating You?”. Cost is $30 per child, and each additional child is $15. For information, call 561-832-2026. The museum is at 4801 Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach.
  • Kids Free Labor Day Weekend at The Palm Beach Zoo: (Sep. 1st-4th, 2017) To celebrate all of South Florida’s hard-working parents, Palm Beach Zoo brings back the hugely popular Kids Free Labor Day Weekend!  Kids under 13 years of age get free admission with a paid, regular-price, adult admission. Under 3 admission is always free.
  • LightSUP Paddle Tour at Singer Island Outdoor Center: From 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., SIOC invites you to join us for an experience unlike any other.  Outfitted with special Nocqua light systems, you will spend this 60-90 minute guided tour paddling at the surface while peering into the illuminated, crystal clear water below. Cost is $40 per person. For more information, call 561-460-3048. The center is located at 900 E Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, FL 33404
  • Friends of the Loxahatchee River Lecture Series:  Join the River Center Friday at 12:00 p.m in welcoming Dr. Angela Tringali from the Archbold Biological Station for her presentation. Her topic will cover a discussion of Scrub Jay personality and their unique social behaviors. Prior to the lecture a light lunch will be served. For more information or to RSVP, call (561) 743-7123.

Saturday, September 2nd-

  • Super Hero Night: Come join us dressed in your favorite Super Hero attire and spend some time with your favorite Hero while the Palm Beach Cardinals play the St. Lucie Mets. Game Time: 5:30pm. The first 500 kids will recieve a FREE super hero cape!
  • Live Music: Jahzilla at Das Biergarten: at 8:00 p.m., Jahzilla will be performing at the Das Biergarten in Abacoa at 203 Town Center Dr, Ste 116, Jupiter, FL.
  • Riverbend Park Naturalist Walk: Join us for a guided trail walk to explore the park. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and learn about the plant and animal communities and the history of Riverbend. Bring your sun block and water. Good walking shoes recommended. Meet at the Parks and Recreation trailer at 8:00 AM.
  • Hike Through History at The Jupiter Lighthouse: The hike departs at 8:30 a.m from the flag pole at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum and ends around 10:30. Program is open to adults and children-minimum age 5, ages 13 & under must be accompanied by an adult that is at least 18 years old. Hiker’s footwear, active wear, a hat, and a full water bottle or canteen should be carried. Admission is free but space is limited-RSVP required.

Sunday, September 3rd-

  • Jupiter Carlin Park Seabreeze Amphitheater:  “UV” in Concert ( A “U2” Tribute band) what many critics are referring to as U2 fans choice band.  Authentic sound and look to one of the best bands on the planet.  Begins at 8:00 p.m. Bring a lawn chair and or blanket. Picnic baskets welcome.  Pets on leashes welcome.  FREE ADMISSION!  
  • Green & Artisan Market: Begining at 10:00 a.m. , stroll along the waterfront at Harborside Place on Sunday Sept. 3rd. Free Admission.
  • Best Boat Bar Tour: Hang out with the KVJ Show crew, Kevin and Virginia, as they will be leading the Best Boat Bar Tour of north county waterfront bars. The tour will start at Tommy Bahamas in Harbourside Place in Jupiter, Florida and head to Guanabana’s around 2:00 p.m. and then wraps up at Waterway Café in Palm Beach Gardens around 4:00 p.m. For more information about WMRF’s KVJ Boat Tour for Labor Day Weekend, visit www.WMRF.com.
  • Brunch with a Brush!: For just $30, you can join Uptown Art for painting and brunch catered by Too Jays! Brunch will begin being served at 11:30 am and we will begin painting at 12:00pm. This class will be held in our new studio at 1695 Indiantown Road Suite 12-14, Jupiter FL 33458.

Monday, September 4th LABOR DAY!!-

  • Uptown Art $10 Wine Glass Painting at Seasons 52: Once you are given initial instructions, the instructors will walk around to help you create your own glass. You are welcome to bring your own ideas, and we will help you create a beautiful glass! Don’t worry though, we will show you plenty of ideas. Each guest will receive one glass that can be baked at home and used. Please sign up for the number of glasses you would like to paint. You must register online at uptownart.com/west-palm-beach-fl http://www.seasons52.com/
  • Sea Turtles & Manatees Labor Day Eco Tour: Our daily, 90 minute, Sea Turtles & Manatees Eco Tour seeks out sea turtle and manatee sightings, and explores the local mangrove-lined waterways of the lower Loxahatchee River and Indian River Lagoon. Our guides will show you to the best places in town for viewing sea turtles and manatees in their natural habitat. To book, visit us at https://www.jupiteroutdoorcenter.com/tours-classes/our-tours/mangroves-and-manatees-tour/ or call 561-747-0063.
  • Turtle Time: Choose between 3, 1 hour time slots and our staff will show you over to the popular Turtle Cove just seconds away from the Love st. Beach. This is a self guided tour but our staff will point you in the right direction. Turtle Times are at 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 a.m https://www.jupiteroutdoorcenter.com/turtle-time/
  • Twilight Yoga at the Light: Experience the serenity of Yoga with Mary Veal, Kula Yoga Shala, on the Lighthouse Deck at Sunset!  Bring a yoga mat and a flashlight. Meet at the Museum 10 minutes prior to start time, class is weather dependent-please check website for updates and future start times. Offered by donation. For more info, visit http://www.jupiterlighthouse.org/ 

From The Jetty To The Jungle

In the 8.5 mile stretch of the Loxahatchee River, the changes in the ecosystems along the way are enough to amaze anyone. In this relatively short distance; one can go from seeing jumping Dolphin and Tarpon, to sun bathing Alligators and Yellow-bellied Turtles. One moment you are riding along million dollar homes on crystal blue water and the next it almost feels like Jurrasic Park. The lush greenery causes the water to be darker due to the tanins in the fallen leaves, kind of like tea in hot water! The Loxahatchee River has supplied food, freshwater, and sanctuary to its nearby inhabitants for many years and continues to do so for its diverse species of animals. For this reason, it has become a popular attraction to travel up the river and back by small boat, kayak or canoe for a closer look at the plants and animals that live there. The other day was my first experience traveling up the river with our very own Captain John on the Jupiter Water Taxi Eco-tour. Although I was born here, and very much consider myself a Jupiter local, I never realized how truly spectacular this waterway was until I saw it for myself. The tour took us on a 4 hour ride focused mostly on the area and its history.  I learned more from Captain John in 3 hours than I did in 3 weeks of history class! During high tide, The Jupiter Water Taxi takes guests from the Jupiter Inlet, all the way back to the mouth of the Loxahatchee or vice versa. The intimate atmosphere and limited seats make JWT the best way to learn about the area and discover new things. Captain John was able to focus all of his attention on our small group and made the experience unique for each guest. Sharing some of the amazing facts and history I learned on my tour with JWT will hopefully inspire you to take one for yourself!

Although the area has not been occupied as long as other parts of the country, Jupiter has an interesting history that largely revolves around the existence of the Loxahatchee River and Jupiter Inlet. It is said that when the Spanish first arrived, they named the area “Jobe” (Ho-Bay) after encountering the native tribe of the Jeagas, who called the area Hobe. This would later inspire the name for Hobe Sound. When the British arrived from the colonies, they translated the word to “Jove”, which in Latin refers to the Greek god Jupiter. Jupiter’s wife was called “Juno”, which led to the naming of Jupiter and its southern city, Juno beach. The name for Tequesta comes from a local Native American tribe called the “Tekesta’s”, whose name was translated when the Spanish arrived. They were a peaceful tribe that first settled near Biscayne Bay and built many other villages along the coastal islands. Some of the earliest documentation of Floridian Indian encounters comes from the journals of Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker from Port Royal, Jamaica on his way to Pennsylvania. In 1696, Jonathan Dickinson and his family, along with crew members and slaves, were captured by Jeaga Natives after their ship wrecked off the coast of Florida. The Jeaga Indians inhabited much of what we know today as the Jupiter Inlet and were known to be one of the most violent tribes during the period. Surprisingly, the natives spared the lives of the Dickinson family and chose to free them. After giving most of what they had left to the tribe, they were let go where they walked and traveled by boat up the coast to St. Augustine. They would then find passage to their original destination where Dickinson would become Mayor of Philadelphia and write journals documenting his encounters with one of the first Floridian Native tribes.

Although these native tribes are important to the early history of the area, the most significant of all; then and today, are the Seminole Indians. The Seminoles inhabited many parts of Florida and can be traced back at least 12,000 years. Some evidence of this fact lies right on the edge of what is now Jupiter Farms. Riverbend Park is the site of two of the most relentless wars in Seminole history and still leaves traces of its presence today. More than 163 years ago, on May 17th, 1838, red and black Seminole Indians fought at Riverbend against U.S soldiers in an effort to maintain ownership of their lands and avoid being removed. In the end, 1500 American soldiers had died as well as large numbers of Seminoles and still, there would be no formal treaty signed between the groups. The wars left the Seminoles impoverished and forced them to find safe refuge in remote swampy areas. After the wars in 1838, American troops would construct the famous Fort Jupiter on Pennock Point to allow easier transport of goods and supplies for soldiers. After the third Seminole war in the 1850’s, Fort Jupiter would remain closed for good. It was located on what is now Old Fort Jupiter Rd.

Many decades later, the area would become more populated after the passing of the National Prohibition Act. This led many people to the still rural, “uninhabitable” areas of the South Florida. The Jupiter Inlet in particular was the perfect place to transport illegal boo’s, as the Bahamian Islands are a short 55 miles away. According to Betsy Dubois, “Rum Runners” would bring gunny sacks of liquor from the Bahamas through the Jupiter Inlet when the light was off or being maintained. Runners would sneak through the inlets darkened passageway and head north towards Jupiter Narrows to stash the alcohol where it would be transported at a later date. Others moved to Florida to escape the suffering society and return a state of nature. Vince “Trapper” Nelson was a polish immigrant from NJ that settled in Jupiter, FL in the 1930’s. Vince was a trapper, hunter, and zoo founder that would take residence on the shore of the Loxahatchee and make his living off the wild selling skins and meat. It is said that he could be seen wearing only a loin cloth, standing at over 6ft tall. Nelson became somewhat of an icon in the area and was called the “Wildman of the Loxahatchee”. Even women from Palm Beach would come to the island to gawk at him. In 1968, Trapper Nelson was found dead at his residence with a shotgun wound to the stomach. While his death was deemed a suicide, it is rumored that he may have been murdered, as he had acquired some enemies through his business. His compound is still open to visitors and provides a more in depth history about his life and experiences on the Loxahatchee. You can take a ride upriver with Captain John on a Cruise+, where he will drop you off to embark on a kayak adventure to the homestead of Trapper Nelson or pick you up there after your paddle downriver from Riverbend Park and bring you back to the Inlet Village.

The headwaters of the Loxahatchee River begin at the Loxahatchee slough, meandering through freshwater creeks, down into a brackish estuary, and finally emptying through the Jupiter Inlet and into the Atlantic Ocean. The river is a hub for history and a sanctuary for so many creatures, as it was left untouched for so many years. That is why in 1985, the river was named wild and scenic and is one of two, federally protected rivers in Florida. It is home to many rare and endangered species, such as the Sandhill Crane, Peregrine Falcon, Florida Manatee and the Woodstork. Common animals to see on the Jupiter Water Taxi Tour are Blue Heron, Egret, Osprey, Alligators, Yellow-bellied Turtles, and Manatees. With Captain Johns incredible eye, we were able to spot a Baby Alligator and Family of 3 Manatees as well as a Little Blue Heron. On our way back into the river, we saw an Osprey nest tucked safely in between signs and untouched mangrove islands that act as a nursery for young fish and other creatures. He also explained the harmful effects of erosion on the river and how many of the surrounding plants have had to adapt to the eroding shorelines over the years. The mangroves and mangrove islands help to keep the land from eroding as quickly, but it has become inevitable. He also informed us that you must have special permits to trim or cut mangroves as they are protected under the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. Along the way you can also spot some of the famous celebrity properties in the area including Rickie Fowlers new home on Pennock Point and Michael Jordan’s upcoming restaurant on U.S. 1, North of Burt Reynolds Park.  Captain John makes it his priority to teach everyone about the area and its history as well as the value of nature and respecting the environment. His degree in marine biology and his love for the area makes his tours informative and fun! He will take you back in time and show you an entirely different world on the Loxahatchee River. Thanks Captain John, It was an experience I will never forget!

For more information about Captain John and the Jupiter Water Taxi, Visit http://www.jupiterwatertaxi.com/