Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's Time for Spring!

This morning's icy start is a reminder of how badly we're ready for spring to arrive (and to stay a while). So let's think of warmer temperatures as we take a look at some of the fun you can have in the parks this spring!
  • Camping: Whether you’re looking for a night away from home or a memorable camping 'stay-cation' with family and friends, the campgrounds at Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold are the place to be. This family-friendly campground features 64 wooded campsites (52 which can be reserved) and a long list of amenities which include electrical and water service, modern restrooms with showers and laundry areas, picnic tables, playgrounds, and much more.
  • Golf: Tee off at one of our eight beautiful golf courses at six locations! With five championship courses, two 18-hole executive courses, and a nine-hole par three course, Park System golf courses accommodate golfers of all skill levels. New to the game? Be sure to take advantage of our golf programs.
  • Playgrounds: Don't spend your days indoors, get into the swing of spring on a playground! Playgrounds provide children a place to play outside and build strong bodies and minds. The Park System offers amazing playgrounds at several parks and recreation areas throughout the county including Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, Atlantic Highlands; Shark River Park, Wall; and Tatum Park, Middletown. And don't forget the Park System's two universally accessible playgrounds offering fun for children of all abilities: Tony's Place at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch and Challenger Place at Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck.
  • Fishing: Looking to drop your line and see what bites? The Park System offers a variety of serene locations for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Please Note: Freshwater anglers ages 16-69 must have a NJ State fishing license; saltwater anglers must register with the state's free saltwater fishing online registry.
  • Boating: Warm weather offers the perfect setting for time out on the water. The Manasquan Reservoir, Howell has kayaks, rowboats and electric powered rowboats available for rent. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboats can be rented at Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold. And don't miss canoe rentals on Marlu Lake in Thompson Park, Lincroft on various weekends throughout the spring/summer season. For full details and pricing information, visit our Canoe, Kayak & Boat Rental page.
  • Trails: Take in the beauty of the parks while enjoying some exercise as you walk, run or bike our trails. With over 120 miles of trails, the county parks have trails of all types, surfaces and lengths in many locations throughout the county.
  • Gardens: It's time to stop and smell the flowers! As spring chases away the colder temperatures, the flowers and trees begin to bloom once again. Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown, offers 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses that are planned as a living catalog of cultivated and native plant materials to be observed through the seasons. The beauty of the budding trees at the David C. Shaw Arboretum is a must see. Located within Holmdel Park, Holmdel, the arboretum's 22 acres contain hundreds of species, cultivars and varieties of ornamental trees and shrubs.
There's always something to do and see within your Monmouth County parks! Other ideas include strolling through our amazing historic sites (Historic Longstreet Farm and Historic Walnford); learning about nature during a Park System Naturalist led Boat Tour of the Manasquan Reservoir; dropping by Thompson Park to set out on your own geocaching adventure; or just relaxing with friends and family (or a good book) in the beauty of the outdoors.

Have questions about the parks or the activities mentioned above? Email us or check out our website for information.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Keep Your Resolutions

As we close out yet another beautiful year and head into 2014, many of us create resolutions. Big or small, these thoughts on how we'd like to change or improve our lives next year are often forgotten, pushed to the wayside by the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. But in 2014, don't forget that the Park System can assist you in reaching those goals.

One of the most popular resolutions is to improve your overall health and wellness. Let us help you reach your fitness goals with classes like Aerostep, NIA, and Zumba Fitness. Looking to improve on both your body and mind? Join one of our popular yoga classes, such as Easy Morning Yoga and Vinyasa Flow Yoga. All these sports & fitness classes are available in the coming weeks.

Or maybe your resolution is to spend more time outdoors. If you've never experienced one of our Outdoor Adventure programs, you don't know what you're missing! Offering programs in biking, hiking, skiing and much more, there's no better way to seek fun and excitement outdoors. Be sure to check out Evening Moon Hike, Music & S'mores, Outdoor Cross-Country Ski Clinics, "Split Pea" Cross-Country Ski Clinic, and Armchair Traveler.

Spending more time together as a family is always a terrific way to start the year off properly. The Park System offers great programs geared toward families. The 2014 Craft Quest will send you on a monthly mission to the Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls, to complete a craft that highlights a different country each month. Take the time to learn more about our natural world with programs like Snakes, Turtles and Toads! Oh My! where your family will discover the wonders of these creatures through a live animal show. Try your hands at something completely new by dropping in during Open Shoot Archery.

But this isn't all! The Park System has a wonderful selection of programs all year round to help you learn something new, develop a hobby, get outdoors, build family togetherness, or see more of the area with various trips. Winter programs are currently available in our Winter Program Directory and our Spring Program Directory will be released February 7.If you do not currently receive our Program Directory in the mail, be sure to call us at 732-842-4000, ext. 4312, to be added to our mailing list.

We'll see you in the parks!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Are You Ready for Winter?

Winter Program Directory
It may be early November, but we're getting excited about winter! With over 350 programs to choose from, the winter issue of the Park System's Program Directory has us all anticipating tons of fun throughout December, January and February. With programs in arts & crafts, culinary arts, horticulture, nature, outdoor adventures, sports & fitness, and so much more, the Park System offers a world of fun right in your own backyard.

And with the upcoming new year, we've added special themed programs that will give visitors a more worldly experience. When you "Explore the World through Recreation" with us you'll be choosing programs that celebrate cultural interpretations of recreation, arts and nature. Some of these include Bonsai - Art & Nature Combined, Ballroom Latin Dancing, Tabata Training, Global Games, and more. These culturally themed programs are easy to find; just look for the globe icon while browsing your copy of the Winter Program Directory.

Ready to try something new? You'll find over 75 brand new programs that are sure to peek your interest. Take a look at just a few...
  • Celtic Vision Bracelet - The Blingy Celtic Vision Bracelet is a beautiful piece of chain maille jewelry that marries the smoothness of metal jump rings with crystals! What better way to learn this fun and fashionable technique?
  • Allergy Cooking for Your Family - Do you or someone you love struggle with food allergies? Are you at a loss for what to feed your child who is allergic to dairy, eggs or nuts? Do you have a grandchild that you’re afraid to bake for because of their allergies? This class aims to meet your needs. Taught by a mom with ten years of cooking experience for a food-allergic child, you will learn how to prepare delicious desserts without cow’s milk, butter, eggs or nuts.
  • Keep Calm and Hike On - Combine the rigors of hiking with a relaxing method of creating beautiful abstract art. No drawing skills required! We will hike the scenic trails of the county parks, stopping along the way for simple step-by-step instructions to create without the limits of drawing a specific “thing” or being constrained by expectations. By alternating hiking and drawing we may enhance our creativity and build our sense of well-being. Spontaneous outbursts of creativity will be encouraged!
  • Bedtime Stories - Who says you can’t wear your pajamas to the park? Join us for an evening out in your pajamas. Enjoy a bedtime snack while listening to a bedtime story. You’ll even get to meet a live animal before heading home to get tucked in for bed.
  • Super Bowl 101 - The Super Bowl will be watched by over 100 million people. Not all of them will understand the game. What’s an offensive tackle? How many downs are there? Why are the refs throwing those yellow hankies? In preparation for the big game we will watch clips of NFL game footage and explain positions, basic rules, and what to watch for on Super Bowl Sunday. This year don’t feel like the only part of the Super Bowl you understand is the commercials.
  • Eco-Friendly Gifts for Friends - Create fun gifts from recycled materials for your friends and family this holiday season. Everyone will love these “green” gifts and you’ll get to save money and the environment. What could be better!
  • Santa's Helpers - The Fort Monmouth Recreation Center is minutes away from Monmouth Mall, so parents can go holiday shopping while our elves help your little ones with some Christmas preparations of their own. All participants will make and wrap a special gift for their parents, as well as have game time and a holiday snack.
  • Grow Lab - Grow a salad, design an acid rain experiment, discover plant mysteries and more. From seed to fruit and back again, we’ll observe life cycles, taste our efforts, and even grow some holiday gifts.
  • Golf Fundamentals for Kids - Come learn how to play golf, using SNAG™ (Starting New at Golf) equipment! Learn all the basic elements of golf in a modified form. Falling somewhere between regulation and miniature golf, participants will learn the basic skills necessary to eventually transition to a golf course. Full shots, chipping, pitching and putting will be covered.
And don't miss all the other information available in this issue of the Program Directory. If you enjoy outdoor fun in the winter, check out the inside front cover for important information on sledding, ice skating, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing in the parks. Learn about some things the Park System has to offer that you might not have known about in the Park System Spotlight article "Did You Know?" on pages 2-3. Mark your calendar for special events like the Creative Arts Center Show and Sale, Seashore Open House, or Deep Cut Gardens Photography Exhibit, listed on page 4. Interested in renting a room for an event? A special feature on room rentals in the Park System can be found in the winter issue on page 67.

There's no doubt about it, the Winter Program Directory offers the opportunity for three months of fun! If you're already on our mailing list, your copy will be arriving shortly. Copies can also be picked up in most of your Monmouth County Park System parks or you can view it online. Registration for winter programs begins Wednesday, November 13 at 8am.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer Isn't Over Yet!

Back to school shopping is underway and talk of autumn holidays has begun, but don't let the last few weeks of summer pass you by. There are still memories left to be made here in the parks! Here are just a few activities you can enjoy in the parks as summer comes to a close:
  • Rent a Boat - Enjoy a leisurely morning or afternoon out on the water. Rowboats and kayaks are available for rent through October 31 at the Manasquan Reservoir Visitor Center, Howell. At Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold, you'll find kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats available for rent every day now through Labor Day and on weekends from Labor Day through Columbus Day. There is also one more weekend of canoe rentals this year at Thompson Park, Lincroft on September 7 & 8 from 9am-3pm. Click here for full details and pricing for boat rentals in the parks.
  • Learn About Nature  - Head to Huber Woods Park Environmental Center, Middletown, to pick up a Safari Backpack and head out on a family adventure. Each backpack contains all you need to enjoy a self-guided nature walk. Visitors can choose from the following: Pre-K, Forest, Meadow or Pond. Use of Safari Backpacks is free, but a valid NJ drivers license must be left at the front desk with the docent.
  • Drop-In Geocaching - This popular high-tech treasure hunt uses GPS devices to guide you to hidden trinkets throughout Thompson Park, Lincroft. This is an excellent activity for families (ages 10 and up, under 18 with adult). We provide everything you need (GPS device, maps, and step-by-step instruction packet). Kits are available for rent on weekdays from 9am-2pm and weekends from 10am-2pm. Cost is $15 per group of up to four; cash (exact change) or check only.
  • Naturalist Guided Kayak Tours - There are only two more of these fun drop-in kayak tours of the Navesink River left this year. Join a Park System Naturalist at Hartshorne Woods Park, Middletown, for a leisurely paddle down the river. All equipment is provided; single and tandem kayaks are available. This is a first come, first served program and is limited to 14 participants. Cost is $20 per person; cash or check only. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Available dates are Monday, August 26 from 3-4:30pm and Tuesday, August 27 from 1-2:30pm. Meet at the Claypit Creek section.
  • Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir - These family-friendly boat tours are narrated by our Park System Naturalists and offer a fantastic opportunity to view local wildlife including turtles, egrets, herons, osprey, and maybe even a Bald Eagle. Tours depart from the Visitor Center during the following days and times: weekends and holidays through October 14 at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm; Wednesday, August 28 at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm; and Friday, September 6 at 6:30pm. Boat tours are first come, first served; tickets are available for purchase beginning at 7am on the day of the tour. Cost is $5.61 for adults and $3.50 for children 12 and under (tax not included). All boat tours are weather permitting.
The following programs have a few spots left too! Check out:
But that's not all you can enjoy in the parks while the warmth of the summer remains upon us!
  • Go for a swim and enjoy the sandy beaches of Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park
  • Bring the kids to one of the many playgrounds the Park System offers
  • Cool off at the Sprayground, the Park System's water-enhanced playground
  • Cast a line and see what might reel in
  • Tee off at one of the Park System's beautiful golf courses
  • Walk, hike or bike any one of our picturesque trails
  • Or just relax and enjoy a picnic at any of the parks

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You're Invited...

Check out something new this weekend in your Monmouth County Park System! We are pleased to announce the opening of the brand new Fort Monmouth Recreation Center in Tinton Falls!

This spacious, modern facility was acquired from the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) and will serve as the Park System's first ever indoor recreation facility. A wide variety of amenities like classrooms, gymnasium, and game room, make the Fort Monmouth Recreation Center the perfect location for an array of programs including arts & crafts, sports, exercise classes, and special events.

On Saturday, August 10 from 12-4pm, the Park System will host an Open House at Fort Monmouth Recreation Center to allow the public to familiarize themselves with the facility. Take a tour to view all the amenities the building has to offer from the full sized gymnasium to the kid friendly classrooms.There will also be plenty of family-fun available including kids crafts & games, live reptile shows, climbing wall, sample painting classes, sports fun, and more! Light refreshments will be available, provided by the Friends of the Parks.

Programs will be offered at the Recreation Center beginning in September. A full listing of programs is available in the fall issue of the Program Directory, but here is a sampling of those to be offered at the facility: