Friday, June 20, 2014

Learn Something New!

If you've ever wanted to try something new, the Park System is the place to be. With a wide variety of programs and drop-ins, there's so much you and your family can try. But be careful, these fun activities and new hobbies may become addictive!

Drop-In Activities:


Grab a bow and try to hit the bull's-eye! Open Shoots are available for ages 8 and up (under 18 with adult) approximately once a month throughout the calendar year. Upcoming dates are June 21, July 19 and August 16 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft. Cost is $7 per person; cash or check only. Family instructional archery classes are also available (preregistration required).


Take a relaxing paddle on the calm waters of Thompson Park's Marlu Lake, Lincroft. Offered every summer, canoe rentals are available on select weekends and Wednesday evenings. Rentals are available from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the following weekends: June 28 & 29, July 12 & 13, July 26 & 27, August 9 & 10, August 23 & 24, September 13 & 14. Wednesday evening rentals are available from 6-9 p.m. on June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6 and August 20. Cost for canoe rentals is $15 per boat for 1-3 people for 2 hours; cash or check only. Canoe rentals are weather dependent. Other boat rentals are available throughout the Park System including rowboats and kayaks at the Manasquan Reservoir, Howell, as well as kayaks, canoes and paddleboats at Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold. Click here for more information.


Explore the great outdoors while on your own high-tech treasure hunt! Geocaching uses GPS devices to guide you toward hidden treasures (caches). Kits are available for you and your family to try this exciting activity at Thompson Park, Lincroft, on weekdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturdays & Sundays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Kits are free but participants are required to present a valid driver's license.

Parent/Child Morning Chores

Step back in time as a family and explore history as you help the Historic Longstreet Farm staff with their morning chores! Children (ages 4 and up) will gain a better understanding of what life was like in the 1890s as they lend a helping hand to collect eggs, milk the cows and feed the farm animals. Offered the first Saturday of every month (weather dependent) from 8-9 a.m., this is a terrific way to get your family interested in our area's history. Cost is $15 per parent/child pair, $5 each additional person; cash or check only.

Programs (require preregistration):


Whether you're interested in trying the sport for the first time or looking to refine your skills, the Park System offers a variety of programs to suit your needs.

My First Fish

Spend time together as you and your child (age 6-12) learn the basics of fishing with the guidance of our Park System Naturalists on Saturday, June 28 from 10-11:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity for your child to catch his or her first fish! All equipment is provided.

Southwest Style BBQ

Fire up the grill! Chef Peter DeCelie will be grilling up some amazingly tasty eats during this demonstration on Tuesday, July 1 from 6-9p.m. You'll go home with delicious recipes that include Grilled Clams with Veracruz-style sauce, Chorizo Bruschetta, Lime & Cilantro Shrimp and so much more!

Toddler Tumbling

Does your little one (age 3-5) enjoy fun exercise? Then they'll love learning forward and backward rolls, cartwheels, handstands, jumps and more as they explore the basics of tumbling on Mondays from July 7-28, 9:30-10:15 a.m. Tumbling is a great way to increase strength and flexibility!

Easy Morning Yoga

Develop strength, flexibility and balance during this morning program perfect for all body types, ages and fitness levels. Each Thursday morning (from July 10-August 28) you'll spend the morning enjoying the many benefits of yoga. 

These are just some of the ways you can learn something new in your Monmouth County parks. For more avenues of fun, visit our website.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Reel in Some Family Fun

There's nothing like spending special family time together in the parks. And we're always ready with fun events like the upcoming Freshwater Fishing Derby! Saturday & Sunday, June 14 & 15 is the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's annual No-License-Required fishing weekend, and we want to make sure everyone is taking advantage of it!

The Freshwater Fishing Derby offers the opportunity for both young and old to enjoy a day of fishing, no matter what your level of experience. Don't know how to fish? Our experienced staff members will be offering FREE hands-on clinics from 12:30-1:30 p.m. (both days) to show you how to cast and rig as well as answer any questions you may have. The derby will then run from 2-5 p.m. with prizes being awarded for the longest fish in three different categories. Fishing pole rentals are available at $5 each (cash or check only) and a container of worms is included with each registration.

You have two chances to get in on the fun, just in case one day works better than the other. So here are your Freshwater Fishing Derby details:

Saturday, June 14

Manasquan Reservoir Visitor Center, Windeler Road, Howell
Clinics from 12:30-1:30 p.m.; derby runs from 2-5 p.m.

Sunday, June 15 

Turkey Swamp Park, Georgia Road, Freehold
Clinics from 12:30-1:30 p.m.; derby runs from 2-5 p.m.

Cost for this event is $25 per family of 4 or $8 per person. Pre-registration is suggested and is available by visiting the registration page; derby rules are provided upon registration. Walk-ins are welcomed on the day of the event; cash and checks only on site.

Don't let this event get away! We can't wait to see you there! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Family Fun: Manasquan Reservoir Boat Tours

Boat Tours on the Manasquan Reservoir
Everyone can agree that there's something about the beauty of nature that is both thrilling and serene. Whether you're viewing an animal you had never seen before or a single moment of pure beauty as the sun caresses the rippling water, these glimpses into our natural world offer something special anyone can enjoy. And there's no better way to enjoy these experiences than with a Park System Boat Tour of the Manasquan Reservoir in Howell.

These 45-minute boat tours are narrated by our knowledgeable Park System Naturalists, offering information about the Reservoir as a habitat for a variety of beautiful creatures. Each tour provides the opportunity to view our local wildlife including turtles, egrets, herons, ospreys, and perhaps even one of our resident bald eagles! And let's not forget the picturesque views that are sure to amaze. Don't miss your chance to offer your entire family the excitement and joy of viewing and learning about the nature that surrounds us.

A variety of boat tours have been scheduled in order to meet the demands of our visitors' schedules:
Red bellied turtles
    May 3-October 13
    (Includes Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and Columbus Day)
    2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m.Bald eagle
    July 9-August 27
    2 p.m., 3 p.m. & 4 p.m. 
    May 2 at 6:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
    June 6 at 6:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
    July 4 at 6:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. 
    August 1 at 6:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
    September 5 at 5:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.
Cost for boat tours is $6 per adult and $3.75 per child 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center Bait Shop at any time on the day of the boat tour you intend to enjoy. Life jackets are provided and must be worn during the duration of the tour. Please Note: Boat tours are both weather and water level dependent.

If you have questions about the Manasquan Reservoir Boat Tours, please call 732-751-9453.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Two Amazing Events on May 18!

This weekend there's so much to do in the parks! But there are two very popular events happening on Sunday, May 18, that may make it very difficult to choose which one to add to your family's schedule! So we want to give you all the details on both to allow you to decide.

Outdoor Adventure Expo

Outdoor Adventure Expo Children's Fishing Derby
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Held at Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold, this is a terrific event for the outdoor enthusiast. Created to show residents the amazing outdoor adventure opportunities in our area, the Outdoor Adventure Expo allows visitors to:
  • Attend free lectures, demonstrations, mini-clinics and nature hikes. 
  • Explore fishing with your children during the free Children's Fishing Derby held from 12-2 p.m.
  • Meet vendors for activities that include canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, climbing, skiing and biking.
  • Discover local and regional outdoor adventure and sportsmen's clubs.
  • Test a variety of equipment including touring kayaks, white water kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, 25-foot climbing wall, and more!
No matter what adventure you're seeking outdoors, this yearly event will give you and your family something exciting to experience. Admission and parking are free; this event runs rain or shine.
Make a full weekend of it! Camping is available within Turkey Swamp Park; click here for full details.

Walnford Day

Walnford Day Wagon Rides
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Just one of the Monmouth County Park System's historic sites, Historic Walnford offers a look into the lives of the Waln family and the evolution of Walnford over the centuries - from an 18th century industrial village and family farm to an elegant country estate. The annual Walnford Day celebration - formerly held in the fall but now moved to spring - offers an amazing experience of the sights and sounds of the past. Check out all this fun-filled historic event has to offer:
  • Hands-on historical activities for all ages including writing with a quill pen or donning 18th century attire
  • A variety of historical and hysterical games
  • Blacksmithing, woodworking and spinning demonstrations
  • Self-guided tours of the beautiful main house from cellar to attic
  • Harpsichord and recorder duets in the front parlor from 1-5 p.m.
  • Horse drawn wagon rides from 1-4 p.m. (weather permitting)
This is a terrific event for the whole family offering a trip back in time that is both fun and educational. Make a day of it by bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy on the shady lawn or at provided picnic tables.

Can't choose between both events? Why not enjoy both? Turkey Swamp Park and Historic Walnford are less than a 30 minute drive from one another. There's nothing better than enjoying the parks in the spring!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Park Spotlight: Fort Monmouth Recreation Center

In August 2013, the Park System opened its first ever indoor recreation facility. Acquired by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), this 21,000 square foot recreation center was an exciting addition to the Park System's facilities. A long list of amenities that includes classrooms, a game room, and a gymnasium, have made the Rec Center a terrific new location for programs including arts & crafts, sports & fitness, and an array of special events. If you haven't taken a program or stopped in for a drop-in, you're missing out on a fantastic facility.

Check out some of what's upcoming at the Rec Center:

The following programs do not require pre-registration.

Craft Quest - Cultural Edition  
Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Discover the Craft Quest Box at the Recreation Center. Each month highlights a different country and features a related craft. Come by for the secret code to access the box to collect your craft kit and passport. For more information, contact Rachel Cohen at 732-542-1642, ext. 29. The cost is $10 per family; cash or check only please. Upcoming themes are:
        May - Mexico
        June - Africa
        July - United States
       August - Egypt

Drop-in Tuesdays at the Rec Center!   
Tuesdays from March 11-June 3 from 4-5:30 p.m.
(ages 6-10)
Join Rec Center staff after school for games and activities! Choose from gym games, foosball, air hockey, ping pong and bumper pool. Each week we’ll switch up an extra activity such as arts & crafts, science experiments or board games.
Cost: FREE!

Family Gym Time  
Mondays & Wednesdays from March 10-May 28 (closed May 26) from 12:30-2:30 p.m.  
(all ages, under 18 with adult)
Enjoy playtime with other families and make friends in a roomy, warm, indoor space for active play and socialization. We’ll have tunnels, gym mats, trampolines, scooters and other play equipment set up for your entertainment. This is an open play format with no instruction provided. Parent supervision is required and Rec Center staff will be present if you have questions or need assistance.
Cost: $10 per family per day; cash or check only.

Monday Night Open Teen Basketball   
Mondays, May 5 & May 12 from 7-8:30 p.m.
(ages 13-18)
Whether you’re on the team and looking for a place to practice or just love the game and want a place to play, drop-in and enjoy our courts.
Cost: $5 per person per night; cash or check only.

Book Swap    
Thursday, May 8 from 6-8 p.m.   (adults)
Sip, swap and connect. Enjoy reading? Looking for something different to read and to connect with people with similar interests? Stop by the park and bring an unwanted book(s) and swap it for something new. Don’t have a book to swap? That’s okay, there will be a stash for you to peruse. Light refreshments will be served. FREE!

Family Game Night   
Fridays,  May 9 & May 23 from 6-8:30 p.m.
(all ages, under 18 with adult)
Come with the family and play some games! Board games, table games, and gym games will be available for some good old family interaction. Play something familiar or learn something new, or do both! PLUS, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. you can try out our 25' rock climbing wall. The cost is $15 per family (2-4 people), $5 each additional person; cash or check only. 

Armed Forces “Thank You” Day   
Saturday, May 17 from  9 a.m.-3 p.m.    
Drop-in to create a thank you card for members of our armed forces. Make a patriotic sundae and join in a sing-along and other activities celebrating those who have served our country.
Cost: $5 per person; cash or check only. Veterans attend for free.

Armed Forces Week: Adult Open Gym Basketball     
Monday, May 19 from 7-8:30 p.m.; Tuesday, May 20 from 1-2:30 p.m.; Wednesday, May 21 from 8-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 24 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.   
Join us as we honor our heroes, both active and retired - drop-in to shoot some hoops on our full court gym.
Cost: $5 per person; cash or check only. Servicemen and women, past and present, attend for free with a valid military ID.

Armed Forces Week: Family Gym Time  
Sunday, May 18 from 11am-12:30 p.m.;
Thursday, May 22 from 1-2:30 p.m.; Friday, May 23 from 1-2:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 25 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  
(all ages, under 18 with adult)
Join us as we honor our heroes, both active and retired. Drop-in, enjoy playtime with other families and make friends in a roomy, indoor space for active play and socialization. We’ll have tunnels, gym mats, trampolines, scooters and other play equipment set up for your entertainment. This is an open play format with no instruction provided. Parent supervision is required and Rec Center staff is present if you have questions or need assistance. Cost is $5 per military family (with a valid military ID) & $10 per non-military family.

The following programs require pre-registration and a fee. Registration can be done online (24/7); by phone at 732-842-4000, ext. 1, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; or in person at Park System Headquarters, 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft.

Basketball with Me & Dad/Mom
(ages 5-6, with adult)
Learn the basics of basketball on our outdoor courts. Parent and child will have fun while practicing the skills of passing, shooting, and dribbling. Parent participation is required.

Beginner Sewing & Beyond
Learn the basic sewing skills you will need to make clothing, items to beautify your home, gifts, etc. We will start by making a skirt and move on to other items as time allows. We will cover understanding and using a pattern, assembling a garment including inserting a zipper, hemming, etc.

Fat Loss Boot Camp
The only thing that gets the boot is body fat! A mix of body-weight and band exercises will assist to increase your ability to burn fat, strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, mobility, conditioning and overall fitness levels.

Engineering for Kids
(ages 4-14)
Calling all future engineers! Apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics to real-life problems. Hands-on learning connects innovation, collaboration, imagination and fun. Change the way your child thinks about math and science.

Glitzy Girlz Glamore Party Hour
(ages 6-12)
Come hang out with some Glitzy Girlz and have a night of pampering fun! Dress in your favorite outfits. We will enjoy straightening and curling our hair, pedicures, manicures, and light make-up. Come with your singing voices as we will have our karaoke machine set up for open singing.  

Glow in the Park
(ages 8-11)
Using glow sticks, flashlights, solar lights and a few other things, we will have a scavenger hunt, play volley-balloon, conduct experiments, try something artistic and have edible sparklers!  

Toddler Tumbling
(ages 3-5)
Beginner tumbling for the little ones interested in learning stretching, coordination, balance and tumbling skills. From forward and backward rolls to cartwheels, handstands and jumps, this introduction to tumbling class will teach basic tumbling, as well as strength and flexibility! 

To view a complete list of the Rec Center's drop-ins and upcoming programs, pick up a copy of the Park System's Summer Program Directory or visit us online.