John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, named for John D. MacArthur who donated the land for its construction in the 1970s, is located between Riviera Beach, Florida and North Palm Beach, Florida. The park was first opened to the public in 1989. It covers 225 acres (0.9 km2) on land, with an additional 535 acres (2.2 km2) of submerged lands within its boundaries, including a lake crossed by a 1,600-foot (490 m) boardwalk, and Munyon Island (named after Dr. James Munyon), an offshore wilderness that was home to a lavish hotel, Hygeia Hotel, at the turn of the Twentieth century. The hotel burned to the ground in 1915. Hiking trails and pavilions are open for public use on the island. The island is accessible only by kayak or boat. The area was once unofficially a clothing-optional beach (Walt Disney skinny dipped there in the 1960s).
One section of the beach was called Air Force Beach from the early 1940s to 1956 because it was used by Palm Beach Air Force Base personnel.
MacArthur Beach is widely known as a nesting ground for rare sea turtles, including the endangered loggerhead, the endangered green sea turtle and, occasionally, the exceedingly rare leatherback. Many endangered species of birds also visit the park, namely the peregrine falcon, the wood stork, and the least tern. In addition to state funds and gate fees, the park receives various kinds of community support through a local organization known as "Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park".
The William T. Kirby Nature Center features exhibits about the park's natural history, and includes live animal exhibits.
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