BOCA BY THE NUMBERS

Incorporated: May 25, 1925
Population: 194,964 (City: 74,764; Unincorporated: 120,200)
Total City Area: 27.14 Square Miles
Unincorporated Area: Approximately 70 square miles
Beach Frontage: 5 miles
Parks: 1,087 acres
Average Annual Temperature: 74.7 degrees
Average Household Income: $62,594
Median Age: 43
 

ISLANDS IN THE (GULF) STREAM
There’s a reason the fishing is so good in South Florida. And the weather. And the blue, blue water. The coastline from Boca Raton to Palm Beach actually is the closest the Atlantic Gulf Stream comes to land. The Florida Current runs from the Dry Tortugas in the Keys to the northern Bahamas, past Boca, delivering a narrow, deep stream of warm crystal blue water just offshore, says Dr. Ray McAllister of Florida Atlantic University’s ocean engineering department. The current brings in fish, especially dolphin, wahoo and marlin. “Nice, deep water, great for sport fishing, is just a few miles offshore,” says Shari Tellman, assistant manager and diving instructor at Force-E dive center in Boca. “Anywhere else you’d have to go out at least 60 to 100 miles to find deep water.” And because the water is so clear, light can penetrate to the ocean floor, allowing coral reefs to grow which, in turn, attract lots of tropical marine life. So get wet and dive in; the water’s fine and the fish are waiting.

HOW TO WATCH A SEA TURTLE
One of the most popular summer family outings here is the Turtle Walk, brought to you by the good people at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, as well as the turtles who choose to nest on Boca Raton beaches. Sign-ups for the $3 walks start at the beginning of May and typically sell out in a week. The walks are Monday through Thursday evenings, mid-May through mid-July. For more information, call the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center at 561/338-1473.

WHO PUT THE PINK IN BOCA?
You can’t travel too far without seeing a shade of the city’s signature color: Boca Pink. Mizner Park, downtown, homes throughout the city. Royal Palm Plaza, now painted in rusts and golds, still is affectionately called the Pink Plaza for its former hue.
“At one time there was even a belief that the city mandated a certain shade of pink,” says Jorge Camejo, Boca’s director of development services. Wrong, he says.
So what’s the story? It all goes back to the pinkest landmark around, The Boca Raton Resort & Club, originally the Cloister Inn when it opened to throngs of well-heeled guests in 1926.
“Clearly the hotel was the inspiration for everything else around here,” says Sue Gillis, an archivist at the Boca Raton Historical Society.
The only catch is that the resort has had multiple owners and no one seems to agree on who was responsible for the color decision—one that would lead to decades of pink, pink, pink in Boca.
Legend has it that architect Addison Mizner, while contemplating the grandest resort, was inspired by the pink hues of a Florida sunset; in fact, “Boca pink” is now a registered color owned by the resort.
But some say it isn’t Mizner who deserves the credit. According to the Sun-Sentinel, it was Clarence Geist, who bought the hotel in 1927 and reopened it as the private Boca Raton Club, who was taken aback by the beautiful sunset and gave the city its signature color.

ONCE AND FOR ALL
Contrary to popular myth, Boca Raton is not a literal translation of “mouth of the rat”. Over the centuries and through different maps, it’s likely the name was derived from an early name that can be translated “mouth of the rocks,” which probably referred to its rocky coastal inlet.

 NINE HOLE VIEW
 
When it comes to golf, Palm Beach County has more holes per capita than any other American county. But it’s not just the king of quantity: Of the courses named the 100 best nationwide by Golf magazine, nine are in the Sunshine State. And only in Boca would you find Red Reef Golf Course, a public golf course with water views on both sides. The course has views of the ocean and the Intracoastal and isn’t as easy as it looks. At 1111 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton, 561/391-5014.

  Source: Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, BOCA RATON ANNUAL 2003-2004

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