Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Discover What Lives in Sandy Hook Bay

School is almost out, and if you're looking for something fun and educational to do with your children this summer, don't miss Summer Seining at beautiful Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth. This popular, free program is led by the Park System's Naturalist staff and offers an hour of discovery on the shores of Sandy Hook Bay. Summer Seining is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. from Monday, June 19 through Friday, August 25 (weather permitting).

Our Naturalists will venture out into water, pulling a long seine net along the edge of the Sandy Hook Bay. As they return to shore, a variety of fish, crabs and other sea creatures are scooped into the net for our awaiting visitors to get a peek of. The critters are gently placed in small tanks for observing, and then released back into the Bay. 

Please note the following:
  • Closed-toe shoes are required to participate.
  • The program will not run during inclement weather.
  • Parents or guardians are required to stay with and supervise their children at all times.
  • No swimming is allowed during the event.
  • This program is designed for individuals and families. If you have a group that is interested in take part in a seining program, please call 732-872-7369.
At the program's end, we hope you'll stick around and enjoy the gorgeous shores of Bayshore Waterfront Park. This is a perfect spot to enjoy the picturesque views of the New York City skyline as well. You may even want to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the beach or at one of our picnic tables. Please remember that this is not a guarded beach, so swimming is not recommended.

Check out a few more photos of the fun experienced during last year's Summer Seining sessions...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Are You Thinking About Spring?

The weather the last few weeks has been up and down, making some of us craving for spring to arrive (and stay!). When spring arrives, it blossoms in your Monmouth County parks, but not only with the picturesque scenery of flowers and trees. The hustle and bustle of springtime in the parks can't be beat with visitors heading outdoors and an array of special events and programs on the horizon.

So as we deal with the possibility of more snow on the horizon, let's take a moment to think spring and start planning for some fun. Here's some of what you can look forward to in your Monmouth County parks this spring:
  • Spring Craft Show on Saturday, April 22 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Tatum Park, Middletown. This is the perfect chance to get Mom something special for Mother's Day, find a unique gift for a friend, or a beautiful trinket for yourself. 
  • Great Spring Perennial Plant Swap at Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown. An awesome event for home gardeners! Bring plants in one-quart, one-gallon or two-gallon containers and take home the same size and number of plants. Herb and vegetable seedlings may be exchanged as well. All plants must be labeled and invasive plants will not be accepted. Plants can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. to allow for plant inspection; then the swap will run from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. for participants to choose their new plants.
  • Earth Day Celebration from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. Earth Day means all around the county! You can discover cool coastal animals at Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth; enjoy the gardens at Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown; meet snakes and reptiles at Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown; take a nature walk, meet live reptiles and amphibians or do a craft at the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell; or make a fun craft that celebrates environmental awareness and Mother Earth at the Thompson Park Visitor Center, Lincroft.
  • Wool Days on Saturday & Sunday, April 29 & 30, from 12-3 p.m. at Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel. This weekend our farm staff will be shearing the sheep. There will also be sheep herding demonstrations by Gene Sheninger, spinning and weaving activities, and wagon rides to the Monmouth County Historical Association's Holmes Hendrickson house.
  • Creative Arts & Music Festival on Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Thompson Park, Lincroft. Spend the day browsing local artwork and enjoying great music. Food vendors will be on hand to quench your appetite.
  • Walnford Day on Sunday, May 21 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold. If you've never taken a trip out to Walnford, this is the perfect day to do it! The whole family can take a step back in time to participate in hands-on historical activities, view woodworking and blacksmith demonstrations, see the working gristmill in action, explore the 1773 Waln House, play games and much more. 
These are just some of the fantastic events happening in your Monmouth County parks this spring. There are many more activities for you to enjoy; check out our Calendar of Events

Plus, don't miss out on the hundreds of programs we're offering. Brand new programs like A Painting a Day, Food Fusion: Mixing International Flavors, Gaelic Football, On the Trails Spring 2017, Roller Derby Fit and so many more! Don't miss out on all the affordable and fun programs currently available! Plus, you can even start planning your kids' summer fun! Our summer camps and swim lessons are available for registration too! Visit our Registration page for more information on spring and summer camp programs.

See you in the parks!

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

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
  • 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

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; 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