Boca Raton Then And Now: A Small Agricultural Community In The Early 1900s To A Dynamic City In 2021

When people think of Boca Raton, they tend to focus on Boca Raton’s beaches, upscale stores and restaurants, and strong business community. But Boca Raton is more than that, including its rich history. Let’s take a look at Boca Raton’s beginnings, followed by some of the top places and sites to visit in Boca Raton.

Boca Raton’s Beginnings

Native Americans were the first known inhabitants of Boca Raton until the 18th century. This group would relocate seasonally between shellfish sources. It was not until the construction of Florida’s East Coast Canal and the Florida East Coast Railway made the area accessible to pioneers. Over time, immigrants began to inhabit the area, and by the early 1900s Boca Raton was a small agricultural community.

In 1925, the Town of Boca Raton was incorporated at the peak of Florida’s land boom.

The name “Boca Raton” is from Spanish voyagers, and most people incorrectly believe it means “rat’s mouth.” But it does not! The Spanish word boca, or mouth, describes an inlet. Raton translates to “mouse.” However, the term Boca de Ratones, or Boca Ratones, was a navigational phrase referring to a rocky inlet. This is in reference to the original location of Boca Raton in Biscayne Bay near present-day Miami Beach.

Boca Raton grew steadily during the 1900s. The architecture in the area is heavily influenced by Addison Mizner, a prominent developer whose Spanish Colonial Revival architecture was known – and is still known today – for its beauty and simplicity.

Today, Boca Raton is home to roughly 100,000 residents and an additional 200,000 people within the Boca Raton postal address but outside the municipal boundaries (i.e. West Boca Raton). Both east and west Boca Raton continue to grow, flourish, and provide wonderful living opportunities and activities for families.

Please note the primary source for the above information is the Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum. If you live in Boca Raton or are visiting, I highly recommend you visit! It is a neat museum and a fun way to learn about Boca Raton.

Here are other neat places to visit in Boca Raton.

Fun Places to Visit in Boca Raton

If you’re considering Boca Raton for your next vacation, or if you live in South Florida and are looking for something to do, there’s plenty to do in Boca Raton! Many of the top landmarks and activities involve spending time outside with family and enjoying Florida wildlife. According to the U.S. News and World Report, here are 7 neat places to visit in Boca Raton:

  1. Mizner Park

Time Spent: 1 to 2 hours

Money Spent: Free

Mizner Park is named after architect Addison Mizner. Mizner Park has great restaurants, clothing shops, a Starbucks, an ice cream shop, an amphitheater, and other neat stores. Indeed, it is a fun place to just hang out with friends and family.

If you’d like to visit the Boca Raton Museum of Art, which is located in Mizner Park, it is free for children, students, and members (with valid ID). It is a $12 fee for seniors and a $10 fee for adults.

Learn more about Mizner Park here.

  1. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Time Spent: 2 hours to Half Day

Money Spent: Free

The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is located on A1A in Boca Raton. Speaking from experience, my two young daughters love the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center! At Gumbo Limbo, visitors can see turtles, fish and other neat marine wildlife. Additionally, Gumbo Limbo cares for injured sea turtles; in fact, you can see how Gumbo Limbo cares for sea turtles and brings them back to good health. Further, Gumbo Limbo has neat trails and walkways.

Read more about the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center here.

  1. Sugar Sand Park

Time Spent: 2 hours to Half Day

Money Spent: Free

Sugar Sand Park is a family-oriented park in Boca Raton. It has a free and interactive science center, which is a big hit for children. Outside, there is an enormous, multi-story wooden fort with maze-like walkways. Children can play on it for long stretches of time. Additionally, there are basketball courts, baseball fields, and other areas for sports and recreation.

While some of the attractions with Sugar Sand Park are free (e.g., the science center), other attractions, like the Willow Theatre, require tickets. Learn more before you go on the Sugar Sand Park website.

  1. Red Reef Park

Time Spent: Half Day to Full Day

Money Spent: Free

Red Reef Park is full of fun activities available for the entire family. These include swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and picnicking. Additionally, the reef is extremely close to shore, making it easy to see neat fish and other marine wildlife. Make sure to bring your goggles!

Additionally, there is a 9 hole public golf course right on the beach. In fact, there are a couple of holes right along the ocean! It only takes about an hour and thirty minutes to play, but it is both fun and challenging. You can either walk the golf course or get a golf cart.

Learn more about Red Reef Park before your visit.

  1. Spanish River Park

Time Spent: 2 hours to Half Day

Money Spent: Free

Spanish River Park happens to be my favorite park and, in my opinion, has the best beaches in Boca Raton. In addition to its great beaches, there are a number of grills, benches, and pavilions where you grill and spend time with family and friends.

If you want to learn more, visit here before you go.

  1. South Inlet Park

Time Spent: 1 to 2 hours

Money Spent: Free

South Inlet Park is another great beach and, like Spanish River Park, has a great (and large!) area for grilling and hanging out with friends.

Visit here to learn more before you go.

  1. Town Center at Boca Raton

Time Spent: 1 to 2 hours

Money Spent: Free

The Town Center at Boca Raton is a beautiful mall, with a number of high-end shops and restaurants. See all the shops and restaurants here.

We hope you enjoyed reading, “Boca Raton Then And Now: A Small Agricultural Community In The Early 1900s To A Dynamic City In 2021.” At Barthelette Law, we are proud to be a Boca Raton based law firm!