Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Start 2017 Off in the Parks!

The start of a new year is often a time for making resolutions to better your life. This could mean getting in shape, taking up a new hobby, or spending more time together as a family. At the Monmouth County Park System, we've got you covered with all of these goals! Check out these ideas...

Getting in Shape

Whether you're looking to lose a few pounds, tone your body, or just get more active, the Park System offers a wide variety of programs to get you where you want to be.

  • Basic Belly Dance - Offered on Thursday nights from January 12-March 16, this fitness class teaches the fluid movements of Middle Eastern dance that are fun while improving flexibility, coordination and strength. Pre-registration and fee are required. 
  • Pilates Mat Workout - Offered on various dates starting this month, this class focuses on your abdominals, lower back, hips and thighs to help strengthen and lengthen muscles, improve posture and flexibility, and work on your deep abdominals. Both morning and evening sessions are available. Pre-registration and fee are required.
  • Zumba Toning - Join this dance fitness party that will torch those calories with strength-training dances that are exciting and fun. Offered on Tuesday mornings, January 10-February 28, this is the perfect class to get you moving for a total body workout. Pre-registration and fee required.
  • A wide variety of fitness classes are offered throughout the year in the parks. Click here for a full listing of what is currently available and keep an eye out for our spring volume of the Parks & Programs Guide, being released Friday, February 3, for even more added programs.

Start a New Hobby

The Park System offers so much to choose from when it comes to learning something new. From getting in touch with your artistic side, to learning how to cook new recipes, or discovering a culture in a different way, there's something for everyone!
  • Calligraphy - Offered on Wednesday afternoons from January 11-March 1, this step-by-step introduction the the beautiful art of calligraphy will give you the basics to get you started in creating your own invitations, greeting cards, posters and more. Pre-registration and fee required.
  • Looking to learn new recipes beyond your everyday repertoire? Our cooking classes will have you delving into a variety of new and fun foods. Upcoming programs include Cooking for One (or Two), Chocolate is for Lovers, and Super Bowl Appetizers. For a full list of upcoming culinary programs, click here.
  • Ceili Irish Dance for Adults - Get ready to kick your heels up as you delve into the culture of Irish step-dancing during this fun program that will teach you steps such as the reel and the jig. You'll also learn some basic Irish terms and a background into Ireland's Gaelic history during this program held on Friday nights from January 27-April 7.
  • For more upcoming classes that will introduce you to something new, check out our website

Spend More Time as a Family

There are plenty of things you can do together in the parks no matter what your age or budget. 
  • When the temperatures are more mild, heading out to the parks is free. You can have some fun on one of our playgrounds, take a walk or bike ride on any of our numerous trails, or take a walk back in time at Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel or Historic Walnford in Upper Freehold. 
  • A bit of a chill in the air? Stay warm and explore one of our environmental centers! At the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell, you'll learn about wetlands ecology and wildlife and habitat protection through interactive exhibits. At the Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown, you'll get a glimpse at local Native American history as well as reptiles and amphibians. Entry into our environmental centers is free.
  • Be sure to check our This Weekend in the Parks page each week to see what fun events or drop-in programs are available to keep you active and exploring.
  • There are a wide variety of parent & child programs available for registration through the Park System. From arts & crafts to culinary arts, nature to playgroups and much more, there's plenty to have you and your child enjoying fun times together. Check out the programs coming up by clicking here

These are just some of the things you can do to start your new year off right. For more ideas on what you can do in the parks this year, visit us online at www.MonmouthCountyParks.com

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Spend Winter Break in the Parks

Avoid the possibility of winter break boredom by planning to visit your Monmouth County parks next week. With over 30 park locations, it will be easy to plan activities everyone in the family can enjoy. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Take a walk or bike some of the Park System's over 130 miles of trails. Our most popular trail locations include the Henry Hudson Trail; Manasquan Reservoir, Howell; and Thompson Park, Lincroft. For a full listing of our trails as well as ratings and mileage, click here.
  • Step back in time with a visit to one of our historic sites. Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel offers a glimpse into the sights, sounds and smells of rural Monmouth County as it was in the 1890s. Interpreters in period dress show both daily and seasonal agricultural and domestic activities as they maintain the farm. Longstreet Farm is open to visitors from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Or head to western Monmouth County to the explore the serenity of Historic Walnford in Upper Freehold where you'll learn about the Waln family and the evolution of Walnford over two centuries, from an 18th century industrial viallage and family farm to an elegant country estate. Buildings at Historic Walnford are open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 
  • Explore the beauty of Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown. View the transformation of the gardens in the winter. Be sure to stop in the Horticultural Center and check out the library, and the greenhouse is not to be missed!
  • The indoor gymnasium at Fort Monmouth Recreation Area has a selection of Open Gym times available. We'll have play equipment available as well as table games in our lobby. Children age 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $5 per person, per day. For dates and times, visit http://bit.ly/1MPAdUr
  • Kids will love bundling up and heading outdoors to run, jump and climb at one of our playgrounds! Staying active is easy with a visit to one of our ten playgrounds at parks including Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck; Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, Atlantic Highlands; Shark River Park, Neptune; or Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold. For a full list of playground locations, click here
These are just some of the ways you can get outdoors and explore your Monmouth County parks during winter break. For more information on the parks, visit www.MonmouthCountyParks.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

Get Ready to Fill Winter with Fun!


Autumn weather may just be sinking in, but winter is right around the corner. Here at the Monmouth County Park System we're working hard to plan tons of fun for when the temperature drops and the winter chill arrives. We want to be sure you to have plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the parks this winter, so don't miss the upcoming volume of our Parks & Programs Guide!

Formerly titled the Park System's "Program Directory", the Parks & Programs Guide offers hundreds of programs for you and your family to enjoy as well as information about various parks throughout Monmouth County. Available in most county parks starting on Friday, October 28, the winter volume offers programs such as:

  • Basic Shaolin Kung Fu
  • Bundled-Up Hikes
  • Computer Coding for Kids
  • Dancing Bears Music
  • Full Moon Beach Walk
  • Gingerbread Houses
  • Holiday Topiary Workshop
  • Keyboard Beginnings Music
  • KidFit Passport to Fitness
  • Ladies Winter Hiking Club
  • Not Your Grandma's Crochet
  • Outdoor Cross-Country Ski Clinics
  • Seal Watch New Jersey
  • We Can Cook
  • Zumba Fitness
  • And So Much More!!!
In the winter issue of our Parks & Programs Guide you'll also find information about winter fun you and your family can enjoy in the parks; general park information about locations such as Clayton Park, Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Holmdel Park, and Thompson Park; and details about upcoming special events including WinterFest, the Creative Arts & Music Festival, and the E. Murray Todd Half Marathon.

Interested in signing up for our winter programs? Registration will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, November 2. You may register online at www.MonmouthCountyParks.com; by phone by calling 732-842-4000, ext. 1, Monday-Friday between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; by mail using the Registration Form at the back of the Guide; or in person by visiting Park System Headquarters within Thompson Park at 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft.

To join our mailing list to start receiving our program information by mail, call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312. For more information about the Monmouth County Park System and all we have to offer, visit us online at www.MonmouthCountyParks.com

Monday, October 3, 2016

Celebrate Autumn During Thompson Park Day


The season is changing, and with that the temperatures and falling and the leaves are slowly beginning to change color. Now that the kids are back in school, weekend activities are even more important to have fun as a family. Autumn is an amazing time of year to experience the outdoors and what your Monmouth County parks have to offer.

A Monmouth County Park System tradition, Thompson Park Day makes it easy enjoy the cooler autumn weather with fun and exciting activities planned within the beauty of Thompson Park, Lincroft. Held on Sunday, October 16 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., families will have the opportunity to find there way through our corn maze, try out square dancing, play FootGolf or disc golf, go on a wagon ride, paint a pumpkin, participate in a race, complete a craft, and so much more! *

The Strut Your Mutt Doggie Costume Contest, offered through Friends of the Parks, returns to this year's Thompson Park Day. Dress up  your four-legged friend as something fun, silly or scary. It's even more fun when the whole family dresses up for this fundraising contest. Prizes will be awarded for the funniest, scariest, pretties, most original and best canine/human combo. Cost to register is $10 and is available through October 7. Registration can also be done during the event and costs $15. For full details and an application, click here. Interested in sponsoring this fantastic event? Visit Friends of the Parks for details.

Another exciting contest will have the entire family getting creative. Our Scarecrow Contest asks families to use their imagination to create the best scarecrow. We provide the framework and stuffing, you provide the face, outer coverings (clothing, etc.), and imagination. Pre-registration guarantees a frame and is available until October 15 and costs $10. Day of registration will be available on a first come, first served basis and costs $12. For an application, click here.

Additional family fun includes:

  • Canoeing at Marlu Lake
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Zany Zombies
  • Dash for Cash
  • S.T.E.A.M. Fun
  • Pottery Demonstrations
  • Pie Eating Contests
  • Climbing Wall *
  • Archery *
  • Rolling Video Games *
Come out and enjoy all the fun autumn offers during Thompson Park Day. Admission and parking are free. For a full list of details on this year's event, visit us online. Questions? Call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.


Some activities require a fee

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Say Farewell to Summer with the Wind & Sea Festival


Summer may be coming to an end, but your Monmouth County Park System is ready to extend the fun with this year's annual Wind & Sea Festival. Held on Saturday, September 17 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth, the Wind & Sea Festival is a celebration of local shore-related fun.

Held along the calm and picturesque Sandy Hook Bay, the festival will offer plenty of family-friendly fun for all ages including:

  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
  • Seining
  • Sand Casting
  • Fishing and Crabbing
  • Sand Castle Building
  • Shelling
  • Kite Flying
  • Disc Golf
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Hula Dancing
  • And so much more!

Local organizations will be on hand to offer information about who they are and what they do for our community, as well as answer any questions you may have. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, Clean Ocean Action, NY/NJ Baykeeper, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and many others.

New to the festival this year, visitors will be able to take advantage of some local shopping too! A variety Made in Monmouth vendors will be on hand selling their locally made items. Showcasing businesses strictly located in our beautiful county, Made in Monmouth has become a favorite tent at the ever popular Monmouth County Fair as well. You won't want to miss checking out their wares. 

Don't miss that chance to make the Wind & Sea Festival part of your goodbye to summer. Parking will be available at the Belford Ferry Terminal at 10 Harbor Way in Belford. From there, the Park System will provide shuttle buses to and from the event. And don't worry about bringing lunch, food vendors will be on site for you to purchase a delicious lunch or just a snack. 

For more information about this year's Wind & Sea Festival, visit us at http://bit.ly/2bTas7h.